From the Dietitian’s Kitchen: Mason Jar Salads

Happy New Year! Are you looking for a way to spice up your lunch? Or was your New Year’s resolution to pack your lunch during the week? If you answered yes to either, I have the perfect way to help you achieve these goals. You are probably familiar with mason jars and how people use them to can jams or jellies. What about using mason jars as a container to make, store, and carry a salad? Keep reading for tips on how to make a mason jar salads and a few of my favorite salads and dressings.

For a side salad, start with a pint-size mason jar with a wide lid. This size salad makes a great lunch when paired with a soup or sandwich. For an entrée size salad, use a quart-size mason jar. For party or family sized salads, use a 2-quart or larger jars. Now, follow theses steps to make the salad:

  1. Pour 1 to 3 tablespoons of your favorite salad dressing into the jar (amount depends on the size of the salad). 
  2. Add vegetables that are dense, such as carrots, celery, bell peppers, broccoli, green beans or cauliflower. These vegetables create a barrier between the dressing and other vegetables and lettuce. This step is key to a crisp salad!
  3. Add the “softer” vegetables or fruit such as cucumber, avocado, corn, onions, strawberries or apples.
  4. ​Add grains or legumes like  quinoa, couscous, orzo, edamame, black beans, lentils or chick peas.
  5. ​Add greens such as spinach, arugula, kale, mixed greens, or romaine lettuce. Make sure to pack tightly.
  6. ​Top with a source of protein such as chicken, tofu, hard boiled eggs, cheese or nuts. This can be done the night before or in the morning.

Pack the ingredients tightly, the less air in the jar, the longer the salad will last.
These salads will last in your refrigerator for 3-5 days.

Mediterranean Salad
Greek vinaigrette, chopped cucumbers, chopped bell peppers, pitted and halved Kalamata olives, diced tomatoes, sliced red onions, chopped mixed greens, crumbled feta cheese

Greek vinaigrette
½ cup red wine vinegar             1 clove garlic                     2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard                  1 tsp. dried oregano         ¼ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Crunchy Asian Salad
Asian salad dressing, shredded cabbage, chopped bell peppers, chopped broccoli florets, shredded carrots, shelled edamame, chopped peanuts, sliced green onions, chopped spinach

Asian salad dressing
1 clove garlic                        1 tbsp. soy sauce                 2 tsp. rice vinegar
½ cup olive oil                   ½ tsp. sesame oil               Salt and pepper to taste

Chopped Taco Salad
Salsa, chopped bell peppers, sliced red onions, halved grape tomatoes, diced avocado, cooked quinoa or brown rice, black beans, chopped cilantro, chopped romaine

​Feel free to mix up your salad ingredients and dressings. Do what works for you, these are just a few of my favorites. The key to eating healthy and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is making food tasty to YOU.

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