Want to eat your greens all week long, but find it difficult to bring all your salad fixings to work or school? After all, a salad is just not as tantalizing without all the tiny accoutrements, like crumpled cheese, slivered nuts and dried berries. But who wants to bring all that to work? Hello mason jar salad recipes!
The mason jar salad offers an ingenious (and did I mention adorable?) alternative to the pack-it-and-lug-it method. By layering all the ingredients just-so in a mason jar, you can easily just screw on the cap, throw it on your bag and go. Nailed it!
Mason Jar Salad Recipes | Basics
The key to the perfect mason jar salad is order, order, order. Here are the four commandments of mason jar salad recipes:
The dressing goes in first. This is crucial. This guarantees that your salad ingredients don’t get mushy.
Next comes your grains, protein, or anything else big and chunky. This protects your more delicate ingredients from getting soggy.
Then the fixings. Small things like nuts, dried fruit, sliced egg and cheeses. These are the ingredients that you want to stay dry until right before you get your green grub on.
If you have any leafy greens, they go in last. That way when you turn the mason jar over and unload it all into a bowl, the greens will make the salad bed.
If your an improviser, check out this golden formula for #winning mason jar salads. Hint: the formula works for all salads.
Mason Jar Salad Recipes
We all know we should pack our lunches every day instead of racing to the nearest fast food joint (hello, McDonald’s!). Packing smart is a better choice for your health, your waistline — and your wallet.
Packing your lunch requires some prep, planning and effort, but mason jars actually make packing lunches fun again.
Salads should never bring stress. These three tips will make constructing mason jar salads a breeze:
- Always have leftovers handy. Rice, couscous, pasta, beans, lentils, and chicken are all great ingredients that add bulk and protein to mason jar salads. Double the portions that you make for tonight’s dinner so you have some leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.
- Layer correctly to avoid a soggy salad. See our four commandments for mason jar salad layering above.
- Assemble your jars in advance. It’s much easier to make our salad-in-a-jar the night before work, so you can just grab-and-go the next morning. If you leave it until the last minute, you’re more likely to forget or just say “screw it” because you’re (always) running late.
Check out these mason jar salad recipes — they cost less than the average restaurant lunch.
1. Deconstructed California Roll Recipe
Craving sushi, but don’t want to fork over a ton of cash for a few dainty rolls? Try this homemade alternative version. Layers of seaweed, rice, crab, cucumber and avocado make a magnificent salad that costs a fraction of what you would pay at a restaurant.
- 4 whole 12-ounce mason jars
- 2 cup white or brown rice (cooked)
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 whole avocados (skin and seed removed, diced)
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 whole cucumbers (peeled, seeds removed, cut into small matchstick-sized pieces)
- 4 whole nori sheets (cut into small pieces)
- 1 cup lump crab meat (picked over)
- First (bottom) layer: 1/2 cup rice
- Second layer: 1/2 cup cucumber (or 1/2 cucumber)
- Third layer: 1 nori sheet (cut into small pieces)
- Fourth layer: 1/4 cup crab
- Fifth layer: 1/2 avocado
Store in the refrigerator until ready to eat. When ready to serve, dump jar’s content into a bowl, toss and enjoy!
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2. Spinach and Bacon Mason Jar Salads
These bacon-liscious mason jar salad are easy to assemble in advance, are portable and are packed with a variety of salty, sweet, crunchy and creamy textures. Sound exciting? It is!
What you’ll need:
For the dressing
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the salad
- 4 cups baby spinach leaves
- 1 red onion, diced
- 8 slices Hormel bacon, cooked and coarsely chopped
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
- 2 cups sliced mushrooms
- 4 (quart-size) mason jars
1. Whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl or measuring cup until completely combined.
2. Place a few tablespoons of dressing at the bottom of each jar.
3. Divide remaining ingredients among the jars, layering in the following order: red onion, egg, mushroom, bacon, spinach. Twist on the top to seal your salads and refrigerate until ready to serve.
3. Cranberry Walnut Green Salad With Maple Vinaigrette
No chopping necessary!
What you’ll need:
- baby greens
- 1/2 c dried cranberries
- 1/2 c crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 c walnuts, toasted
- Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 1/4 c olive oil
- 1/4 c balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tb Dijon mustard
- 1 Tb pure maple syrup
1. Add all salad ingredients together.
2. Toss gently with salad tongs.
1. Add all dressing ingredients to a mason jar
2. Shake vigorously.
3. Drizzle over salad and serve.
4. Chickpea Quinoa Salad
What you’ll need:
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1 cucumber
- 1 sweet pepper
- 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas (or cook 1/4 cup dried with the quinoa)
- Homemade Salad Dressing Recipe:
- 2 cloves garlic
- 5-10 basil leaves, optional
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- Juice of half a lemon
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Add quinoa to 2 cups of boiling water, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit (with lid still on) for 5 minutes. Stir and fluff with a fork, and let cool.
2. Dice all vegetables, peeling and deseeding vegetables to your preference. Stir into the quinoa and chickpeas.
3. Combine all salad dressing ingredients in a mason jar, cover, and shake until well combined. Pour overtop of quinoa greek salad, and then season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Red, White and Blue Mason Jar salad (AKA Fruit and Feta Salad)
This mason jar salad recipe combines fruit, spinach and tasty poppy seed dressing. It’s also known to cause sudden bursts of patriotism.
What you’ll need:
- 2 cups spring mix lettuce
- 1 cup chopped strawberries
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1/2 cup feta cheese
- 4 tablespoons poppy seed dressing
- 2 mason jars
1. To assemble your mason jars, start by pouring in 2 tablespoons poppy seed dressing. Top with 1/2 cup strawberries, 1/4 cup feta, 1/4 cup blueberries, and finally 1 cup lettuce. Repeat with the second mason jar.
2. To eat, pour mason jar contents into a bowl and toss if necessary.
Remember, mix it up, keep things fresh, and experiment! Quick, healthy lunches–or even leisurely ones–can be easy and fun when you keep an open mind and prep ahead of time!
LOVE these mason jar salad recipes? Check out even more delicious mason jar salad recipes on Pioneer Settler.
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