Preparing healthy meals ahead of time can seem like a daunting task. Staying organized and motivated throughout the week can be difficult, but fear not, jar salads have come to the rescue! They are portable, healthy, easy to make and with an endless variety of ingredients, you will never grow bored.
Creating a great tasting jar salad that will stay fresh and crispy for several days is a simple process. The key is layering the ingredients in a particular order so the salad won’t become soggy. Dressing and other wet items on the bottom, greens and dryer items on top. All ingredients stay separated until you toss the salad together in the bowl.
How To Pack A Jar Salad
What You Need:
Mix of raw and cooked vegetables, proteins, grains, nuts and other salad ingredients
Wide-mouth mason jars with tight-fitting lids:
Pint Jar = Side Salad
Quart Jar = Individual Meal Sized Salad
2-Quart Jar = Large salad for multiple servings
Layer 1- Salad Dressing: Pour 1 to 4 tablespoons of dressing in the bottom of the jar; adjust the amount based on your personal preference or size of salad.
Layer 2 – Hard Vegetables: Add chopped vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, celery, peppers, and any other hearty vegetables you like.
Layer 3 – Soft Vegetables: Next add less hearty vegetables like mushrooms, zucchini, sprouts, green beans, corn, peas, and avocado. This layer serves as a second defense between the dressing and the greens.
Layer 4 – Beans and grains: Next, add any beans or grains such as chickpeas, black beans, cooked barley, etc.
Layer 5 – Proteins: If you’ll be eating the salad within a day of making it, go ahead and add a layer of diced proteins like tuna fish, chicken, hard-boiled eggs, or cubed tofu. If you are making the salads to eat over the next week, wait to add these ingredients until the day you are going to eat the salad and then place them on the top of the jar above the greens.
Layer 6 – Nuts, seeds, and lighter grains: Next, add any nuts or seeds, like almonds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds. If you’re making a salad with lighter, more absorbent grains such as quinoa or millet, add them in this layer instead of with the beans.
Layer 7 – Salad greens: Last but not least, fill the rest of the jar with salad greens such arugula, baby spinach, romaine lettuce, field greens or whatever you prefer. Tear the greens into bite-sized pieces and then pack them into the jar, and remember to leave space if adding protein later.
Storing the salad: Screw the lid on the jar and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Remember, if you are planning to include any proteins, add them to the top of the jar the day you plan to eat your salad.
Tossing and eating the salad: When you are ready to eat the salad, unscrew the lid and shake the ingredients into a large bowl then gently toss with a fork.
Want to start preparing jar salads? Here are some helpful links: