I love mason jars for food or drink on the go. It’s a great way to pack granola, goldfish, fruit infused water, and salad. Yes. Salad.
Before bed on Sunday, I whip out my cutting board, knife, mason jars, and ingredients. I then spend the next 10 minutes executing the incredibly simple task of chopping veggies and stuffing them into jars.
This has been particularly helpful to me these past couple weeks due to my pregnancy. I have began having difficulty completing my daily to-do list that was once relatively easy to do. So having lunch already made in the fridge has been a great help to my schedule, as well as my diet.
In just a few minutes, I have all of my lunches made for the week! A salad in a jar is absolutely perfect on the go lunch for work or school lunch boxes, and it takes the stress out of lunch packing.
Or if you happen to have some unexpected or short notice guests stop by, you will have an instant elegant meal to serve to them without missing a beat.
One of the major pluses of packing salads ahead of time in jars is that you can customize them to your preferences. For example, I prefer a baby spring mix where as my husband won’t touch anything other than iceberg lettuce. I adore cherry tomatoes that have been marinating in italian dressing and he takes his salad plain Jane, and so on! Make something you know you are going to love every time.
Depending on which ingredients you use, your salad has the potential to be extremely beneficial to your health. Try to get a wide range of colors into your salad to get more vitamins out of the deal. No matter what you build your salad out of, you are very likely to get a healthy dose of fiber and necessary nutrients into your body.
With its fresh, crisp, yumminess, your body will thank you! Just remember to choose healthy looking vegetables, not wilted or browning ones. Remember, you only get out of it what you put in.
You may have packed a salad before and noticed that the greens got soggy. To avoid this (without packing the dressing separately, and using twice the amount of containers) you just have to arrange the ingredients a little bit differently.
Pour 2 to 4 tablespoons of your favorite salad dressing in the bottom of the jar. Adjust the amount of dressing depending on the size of the salad you are making and your personal preference.
Next add any vegetables that you think would be tasty if they marinated in the dressing. I like to use red wine vinegar and oil so I put tomatoes and olives in the bottom
Next, add any hard chopped vegetables you’re including in your salad, like carrots, cucumbers, red and green peppers, cooked beets, and fennel.
If you used a dressing that won’t easily soak into your vegetables like ranch or blue cheese dressing, then you can skip the step of adding soft vegetable to soak in the dressing. Just use the hard chopped vegetables as your first layer.
Next, add any beans, grains, or pasta, like chickpeas, black beans, cooked barley, cooked rice, and pasta corkscrews (or a mixture). This will help the salad keep you full longer, and depending on which route you choose, you could be adding a good bit of extra nutrients to your salad. I like using canned black beans (drained and rinsed) to also double as my protein.
If you’ll be eating the salad within the day, add a layer of your favorite cheese (diced or crumbled) and proteins like tuna, grilled chicken (diced), or hard-boiled eggs. If you’re making salads ahead to eat throughout the week, wait to add these ingredients until the day you’re planning to eat the salad and add them on top of the jar.
Next, add any soft vegetables or fruits, like avocados, tomatoes (if they weren’t added earlier), diced strawberries, or dried apricots. If you’re making salads ahead to eat throughout the week, wait to add these ingredients until the day you’re planning to eat the salad and add them to the top of the jar.
Next, add any nuts or seeds, like almonds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds. If you’re making a salad with lighter, more absorbent grains like quinoa or millet, add them in this layer instead of with the beans.
Finally, fill the rest of the jar with salad greens. Use your hands to tear them into bite-sized pieces. It’s fine to pack them into the jar fairly compactly.
Screw the lid on the jar and refrigerate for up to 5 days. If you’re including any cheese, proteins, or soft fruits and vegetables, add these to the top of the jar the morning you plan to eat your salad.
When ready to eat, unscrew the lid and shake the salad into the bowl. The action of shaking the salad into the bowl is usually enough to mix the salad with the dressing. If not, toss gently with a fork until coated.
How to Pack the Perfect Salad in a Jar
- 2-4 tablespoons salad dressing of choice
- Mix of raw and cooked vegetables, fresh and dried fruit, nuts, cheese, and other salad ingredients of choice
- Salad greens
Add your dressing to the bottom of a mason jar. (Optional: Add a few soft vegetables to marinate in the dressing.) Next, add any hard chopped vegetables (carrots, cucumbers, red and green peppers, cooked beets, and fennel). Next, add any beans, grains, and/or pasta (chickpeas, black beans, cooked barley, cooked rice, and pasta corkscrews). Next, add a layer of your favorite cheeses and proteins (tuna fish, diced (cooked) chicken, or hard-boiled eggs). Next, add any soft vegetables or fruits, (avocados, tomatoes, diced strawberries, or dried apricots). Next, add any nuts or seeds, (almonds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds). Lastly, fill the rest of the jar with salad greens, and fit with a lid. When ready to eat, unscrew the lid and shake the salad into a large eating bowl.
- Depending on the freshness of your ingredients, your salads can last up to five days in the fridge.
- It’s fine to pack them into the jar fairly compactly.
- Wide mouthed mason jars work the best for this.
Where will you take your salad in a jar?