Easy Mason Jar Salads

Easy Mason Jar Salads

Category : Health

photo credit Mariana Medvedev @nibiteuntilphoto

Mason jars are trendy for everything from salads to smoothies, to puddings and parfaits. Everyone is toting their lunch in a jar these days. And let’s face it, they are attractive. The colors in your mason jar salad are highlighted in their rainbow colors. The staple mason jars which traditionally served for making jams and preserving foods have now become a popular way to carry our lunch and snacks.

These creatively presented salads, smoothies, and snacks are great for picnic lunches, office lunches and anytime a healthy snack is needed. I personally love to carry my smoothies in a jar to work.

What are the Advantages?

  • They are visually attractive which is a plus to whet the appetite.
  • They are eco-friendly
  • They are portable
  • They keep food fresh in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • They taste is better (compared to eating out of a plastic container).
  • They don’t expose us to the harmful effects of BPA.
  • They allow for portion control.
  • They are easy to eat – you can just pour out the salad into a bowl
  • The jars are inexpensive.
  • They can make great gifts (just remember to refrigerate).
  • They are trendy! That feels good!
  • They can be made ahead of time for the week.

How to Pack a Mason Jar Salad

Beginning with a clean, wide-mouth Mason Jar:

  1. Put salad dressing in first at the bottom.
  2. Add crunchy veggies (carrots, celery, cucumber). These can marinate in the dressing
  3. Add legumes ( beans, chickpeas, lentils)
  4. Add grains (rice, pasta, quinoa)
  5. Add proteins (tofu, seitan, meats)
  6. Add leafy greens (lettuce, spinach) and sprouts (alfalfa)
  7. Add toppings (olives, nuts, dried fruit, and croutons)

Following this order will keep your salad crisp and fresh, preventing it from going soggy.

As you can see from the picture of my first attempt to make a Mason salad jar, I did not follow this order. The legumes went in before the crunchy veggies. It tasted fine but maybe it might not have kept for as long. I put in dressing, then chickpeas, then cucumber, then tomatoes, then quinoa and finally romaine lettuce.

But I Don’t Have Time for That

I get it. We’re all busy and who has time to make attractive salads every day? Why not do the prep for the week all at the same time? Why not create a prep salad bar? We can just cut up veggies ahead of time and put them in jars to redistribute in our Mason jar salad. the bonus is that family members can get involved and create their personalized salad from the salad bar. These salads can be made for the week ahead of time since they keep well in the fridge, so we don’t have to make them every day.

Some Recipes to Start

Vegan Mason Jar Taco Salad

1/3 cup of dressing (see below)

  • 1 small avocado + juice from one lime + a small handful of cilantro blended together (I added a bit of water to be able to blend it)

1/2 cup of shredded carrots

1/2 cup of pinto or black beans (I prefer black beans)

1/2 cup of cooked rice

1/2 cup of chopped red peppers

1/2 cup Vegan taco meat

  • 1 cup of raw walnuts + 1 cup of sun-dried tomatoes blended together

1/2 crushed taco chips

a handful of romaine lettuce to top

Follow the order of packing above.

Chickpea Mason Jar Salad

2 teaspoons of lemon-mustard vinaigrette

  • juice from one large lemon + 1 teaspoon dijon mustard + 1/2 cup of olive oil + 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup of cooked chickpeas

1/2  cup of sun-dried tomatoes

1/2 cup of chopped red onion

1/4 cup of chopped green olives

1/2 cup of fresh baby spinach

Follow the order of packing above.

 

Conclusion

These days, our hectic lives keep us running forwards, backward and sideways. We want to eat healthily but it is hard to find the time to fix up healthy lunches and even harder to get our kids to eat them. Mason jar salads have risen to the occasion. They are attractive (and kids know what is in them), they keep well, they are easy to make and they can be made in advance. They are great for the home dinner table (everyone can build his own from the selection) and for an office lunch.

What I really like about them is that it is an all-in-one meal – no adding extra toppings or pouring messy salad dressing. You can eat them right from the jar or pour them into a bowl. Why not try one? You may get hooked on Mason jar salads!

 

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Diana Lynne’s passions are family, travel, self-improvement, living a debt-free/financially free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca

 

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