Total Time: 10 minutes
Salads in a jar are the perfect portable lunch to make at home. They're a great way to use up those little bits of food left over from dinner. They’re also an easy no fuss meal prep for the next day. With the right ingredients, you’ll have a complete meal. But, if you want your salad in a jar to look as elegant as when you first layered it the night before to last until lunchtime, you'll need a go-to layering technique. So grab your quart-sized mason jars from the cupboard and start laminating your hearty salads.
1 quart size wide mouth mason jar with lid
1/4 cup of your favorite salad dressing
1/3 cup of protein of choice
1/4 cup of cooked grains of choice
4-5 tablespoons of chopped vegetables or fruit of choice
Handful of leafy greens of choice
Layer 1: 1/4 cup of salad dressing. In a clean wide mouth quart size mason jar, fill the bottom with 1/4 of your favorite dressing. You can make your own dressing or vinaigrette and refrigerate it a few days in advance or buy your favorite brand. Dressings with a low viscosity tend to work better because it coats everything a lot better than a thick chunky dressing when you give your salad a good mix (careful not to get any dressing on the sides; this will prevent your leafy greens and vegetables from wilting).
Layer 2: 1/3 cup of your protein. Adding your protein on top of your dressing will help marinate it. You can use any animal or plant-based protein you’d like. Pan fry up some tofu or use a can of drained chickpeas for great plant-based proteins. Leftover steak or rotisserie chicken is perfect for this. Mix and match if you’d like.
Layer 3: 1/4 cup of cooked grains. This is the layer that will make your salad hearty and more filling. I love adding cooked quinoa to this or wild rice. Cooked pasta or farro are also good options. I’ve even seen cooked ramen noodles cut into bite-size pieces used for this layer.
Layer 4: 4-5 tablespoons of chopped vegetables. At this stage, you can add vibrant colors to your salad. You can be as creative as you want with this layer! Add a mix of red onions, radishes, and cucumbers for a healthy crunch. Chopped celery, apples, and dried cranberries add a nice sweetness to the salad. Try adding sliced cherry tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro for a kick of flavor.
Layer 5: Leafy greens. Fill your jar to the top with a handful of leafy greens. You can go the crisp lettuce route, the hearty greens route, or do both! Choose your favorite greens and mix and match whatever you’d like. Arugula will add a spicy peppery flavor to your salad. If you’re lacking in vitamins and minerals but want something tender and slightly sweet, add baby spinach. Careful not to pack down the greens, you don’t want to bruise them. You’ll also need a little room for everything to move around when you’re mixing your salad.
Screw on the lid and refrigerate. Now your portable salad is ready to go with you. When you’re ready to eat, just simply give it a good shake, take off the lid, and dig in.