Salad in a Jar 101
I’m all about saving time and eating healthy so, salad in a jar was a game changer for me. I want you to get on board too, so here are my tips for making healthy mason jar salad recipes!
*The most important thing about making a salad in a jar is LAYERING*
.....learning how to layer a mason jar salad properly will keep your salad fresh. This is the KEY to successful salad meal prep. No more soggy greens. Just fresh, delicious ingredients.
To build a mason jar salad...
1. Start with the dressing. Add 1-4 tablespoons of dressing at the bottom (amount depending on how many ingredients you’re going to add and how much dressing you prefer in your salad.) This way, you’ll prevent the lettuce and veggies from getting mushy.
2. Add your harder veggies and beans; like carrots, radishes, onions, chickpeas & jicama.
3. Layer of grains, if you’re using any. eg. brown rice or quinoa.
4. Add protein. Some of my go tos are: grilled or ground chicken or turkey, sautéed tofu, canned tuna or diced boiled eggs.
5. Then layer your absorbent veggies; like zucchini, celery, bell pepper, mushrooms, bean sprouts, and cucumber. If you are adding fruit - this is the time!
6. Add salad greens eg. arugula, lettuce, spinach, mixed greens, kale. It's CRUCIAL that this is the last step so the greens don't get soggy. BONUS: the less air in the jar- the longer it will stay fresh! So pack it in tight.
Add your nuts & cheese last so they don’t get soggy (I usually like to bring my nuts in a separate bag because they can get a bit soft in the jar and I prefer them crunchy!)
If I’m adding onions, I like to add them first. Soaking them in the dressing helps dilute the strong onion taste ( prevents onion breath at work…)
Another option is to add items that will soak up the dressing as your second layer- Cooked grains, tofu, meats, mushrooms—anything that is spongy and will soak up the dressing as the jar sits in the fridge.
The salads can last up to 5 days in the fridge!
Really jam-pack the jars to help keep things from shifting and moving around. It should almost pop out in your face when you open that jar!
BONUS: the less air in the jar- the longer it will stay fresh!
If the salad isn’t enough- bring another pint size jar of soup
Try to keep the ratio of each jar about half-and-half—half toppings, dressing, grains, proteins and half greens.
If I am worried my salad will have too much dressing- I bring a little bag of extra greens with me to soak it up.
If you are adding fruit, add it just before the greens.
If you jar is packed super tight, you can remove some of the greens and place them on your plate before shaking so you can shake up the jar more easily.
Pesto Chicken Salad
2 TBSP pesto
1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
2 cups of spinach (more if you can fit it in the jar)
4 oz of shredded chicken
100 g cucumber
100 g cherry tomatoes
1/2 c quinoa
Follow the instructions at the top for layering.
A few things to note….
For this recipe, 2 TBSP is enough unless you prefer a lot of dressing. (the recipe will make a bit more than 2 TBSP)
If you keep your cherry tomatoes whole, add them right after the dressing. If you want them sliced add them on step 5.
I either make the shredded chicken in the instant pot or bake a bunch of breasts at once in the oven so I have enough for a few days. I simply seasoned the chicken with salt & pepper but you can add which ever seasonings you prefer.
I cook my quinoa in a rice cooker and stop it a bit before the timer goes off. You can also make it in a pot. The ratio for cooking is 1:2 quinoa to water and add some salt.
Like anything in life, with out a plan we don’t usually get the results we want!
Are you wanting to start eating healthier but don’t know where to start?
If you struggle with knowing what to make for dinner and find you often turn to pre- made meals, packaged foods or decide to make it even easier by just going out to eat - my meal plans may just be the thing for you! I have tons of easy recipe just like this pesto chicken salad to keep your meals exciting and delicious.
I LOVE using meal plans because its one less thing to think about and gives me more time & energy to devote to other things. I don’t think of them as a diet, but as a way to help me stay organized and save time.
It’s not new to ANY of us that there is never enough time in the day- so to help you get a little bit of that time back I make customizable meal plans to fit your needs and likes.
Let’s chat for a couple minutes to save you a couple of hours …you can email me at email@example.com :)