Like most people, my goal is to eat healthy meals of whole, clean foods while juggling a busy schedule. I pack my lunch every day for work and only have thirty minutes to eat so my meal needs to be something easy, quick, and nutritious that I can pull out of my lunchbox and immediately start eating. I usually do my food prep on Sundays and make a big batch of something I won’t get sick of eating for lunch the entire week. Enter… mason jar salads.
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I love eating salads for lunch (especially when it’s hot outside).They are refreshing, and if made the right way, also filling. I first struggled making a big salad on Sundays that I could eat for the rest of the week. When I mixed everything together in my salad spinner, the salad would get very soggy by half way through the week. It was also a challenge proportioning how much salad I should take from the salad spinner since I didn’t want to run out by Friday.
After some trial and error, I finally discovered the most amazing thing – mason jar salads! Prepping mason jar salads are life changing (in my opinion) because the ingredients are physically separated and don’t mix until you’re ready to eat. Say goodbye to soaked salads and say hello to a fresh meal all the way through Friday. The use of a mason jar allows you to pre-portion your salads so you know how much you’re eating and can just grab one and head straight out the door! If you don’t have disposable plates or dishes at work (like myself), I find a regular sized piece of Tupperware is perfect to dump the salad into when you’re ready to eat. You can get mason jars from Michaels, your local grocery store or even online. Depending on your appetite and lifestyle goals, you can select different sized mason jars and decide what sized portion fits your needs. I typically use a larger size mason jar and eat it as a meal or divide it in half to split as a side for dinner.
There are lots of different versions and ways you can make mason jar salad, but I’ve included the one below I make most often. I like this recipe because it’s easy to make, contains many different types vegetables, chickpeas for protein and nuts for healthy fats. I usually bring this for lunch, along with some crackers, and am full until dinnertime!
While there are many variations of this salad (different dressings, vegetables, beans, fruit, etc.), I would suggest following the rule of layering your ingredients from wet to dry. I always put my dressing in first and layer ingredients that won’t get soggy on top (e.g. whole cherry tomatoes, beans, etc.). I then continue to layer with dryer ingredients until I get to the lettuce. The lettuce should be completely dry when it goes in and should always be at the top. After washing my vegetables, I actually dry them with a paper towel before putting them in a mason jar. As a rule of thumb, the dryer the ingredients are when they go in the jar, the longer the jars will last. Without further ado, here is the recipe:
Mason Jar Salad
Ingredients (I try and get organic whenever possible):
5 mason jars
10 tablespoons of salad dressing (2 tablespoons per mason jar)
2 ½ cups of washed and drained chickpeas (1/2 cup per mason jar)
2 1/2 cups of cherry tomatoes (1/2 cup per mason jar)
1 1/4 cup chopped bell pepper (1/4 cup per mason jar)
2 1/2 cups chopped cucumber (1/4 cup per mason jar)
1 1/4 cup chopped purple cabbage (1/4 cup per mason jar)
2 1/2 cups chopped yellow squash (1/2 cup per mason jar)
1 1/4 cup chopped radishes (1/4 cup per mason jar)
1 1/4 cup chopped or julienned carrots (1/4 cup per mason jar)
10 cups of greens (2 cups per mason jar)
1 1/4 cup slivered almonds (1/4 cup per mason jar)
- Wash your mason jars and line them up next to each other
- Wash, chop and prepare all ingredients
- Starting with the dressing, evenly distribute the ingredients into the mason jar in this order
- Cherry tomatoes
- Bell Peppers
- Yellow Squash
- Purple Cabbage
- Screw lid on mason jar and store in fridge
- Salads should keep up to one week
What are your favorite salad ingredients? Leave a comment below!