Layered Mason Jar Salads

I might be a little late to the Mason Jar salad party (salad party…whaaat?) but I am happy that I finally tried it out this week. Isn’t this beautiful? (Well, not my photography skills. I have a lot to learn and need a lot of practice. )IMG_1693

I take a salad to work for about 80% of my lunches. This has meant cleaning and chopping veggies nearly every Sunday, and dividing those veggies into multiple separate containers. You see I don’t like to premix my salads. There is just something unappetizing to me to have all of the beautiful colored veggies and proteins at the bottom of a bowl of wilted lettuce. So I typically portion out a daily serving of protein in one container, and then all of the mixed veggies for the day in a separate container, and my greens in a third container. For 4 days of salad this meant 12 containers (Impressed with my math skills? Why, yes. I AM an engineer)hogging room in my fridge, not to mention the constant experiment of how to best bring salad dressing.

This week I did the same prep of cleaning and chopping but layered my ingredients nicely in a jar for my Monday-Thursday lunches. The lettuce was still crisp and the salads were very fresh. Here’s a quick how-to for Mason Jar Salads.IMG_1691

Mason Jar Salad Directions:
It is really important to make sure your jar and all ingredients are dry before layering so you don’t end up with a soggy salad. I used the wide mouth quart-sized jars. It might not look like a huge jar but it completely fills a restaurant size bowl. I also dump my jar into a bowl rather that eating directly from the jar. Seems easier to eat and I like having the layers mixed together.  After some research and planning this is what I have found to be the optimal layering method:
1. Bottom layer – dressing
2. Second layer – hearty vegetables (think cucumbers, peppers, beets, carrots, onions, etc.) These vegetables will marinate in the dressing so keep that in mind when picking your dressing and veggies.
3. Third layer – proteins (beans, eggs, or meat). You could also do a grain here if you wanted.
4. Last layer – greens.

For my first salad I used:
1. 2 Tbsp of a homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing
2. Cucumbers, peppers, red onion, grape tomatoes
3. Chickpeas
4. Chopped romaine lettuce

I didn’t think cheese would be great in the jar so cheese is one of your favorite ingredients I would recommend brining it separately. I love avocado on my salads but it is definitely an ingredient that I like fresh so I will bring it separate when I decide to incorporate it.

Very easy way to get lots of fresh vegetables in your week and a very easy lunch to grab from the fridge on your way to work. Matt likes salads too but rarely takes one to work. He said I could sign him up for a couple next week. I think this will become a regular lunch in our house, so again I would love suggestions. What are your favorite salad combinations?

5 thoughts on “Layered Mason Jar Salads

  1. Lisa

    Yumm! That is such a great idea! My favorite salad is one I get every time I’m at the Denver airport. It’s mixed greens topped with blue cheese crumbles, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, and vinaigrette. Also love the Rustic Beet salad from the Mixx. It’s roasted beets, hickory smoked almonds, roasted yams, goat cheese, spinach and arugula tossed with tarragon shallot vinaigrette. Also have been loving the pre-washed lettuce mix that’s called “herb mix” and it has dill, basil, and other fresh herbs that make it so awesome!

    1. Molly Post author

      Lisa – thanks for the great suggestions! I had forgotten about that salad at Mixx and love it. I miss seeing your food creations at lunch!

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