I’m going to share my top tips and tricks for crafting the perfect Mason jar salad that got rave reviews on The Today Show.
I know how important it is to have fresh and crisp salads that are not only delicious but also a breeze to prepare in advance. With a little know-how, you can enjoy healthy lunches all week long, and I’m here to guide you through the process.
Why You’ll Absolutely Adore These Genius Salads:
- Time-Saving Marvel: Picture this – on a leisurely Sunday, in just 20 minutes, you’ve crafted a week’s worth of lunches. When mealtime rolls around, simply tip the jar onto your plate and devour the delightful display of goodness.
- Healthful Delights: These salads are a powerhouse of fibre, keeping hunger at bay and giving your gut a hearty high-five, thanks to all those vibrant veggies. With this instant dose of goodness, you’ll naturally gravitate toward healthier choices.
- Budget-Friendly Bliss: Say goodbye to those impromptu lunch outs and takeaways. Mason Jar Salads are easy on the purse and taste so much better than those limp salads you buy ready-made.
- Endless Variety: Boredom is not on the menu here! You can effortlessly switch up your salads – change the veggies, play with protein options, mix up grains, and explore new dressings. The possibilities are endless!
Now let’s get started
Step 1: Choose the Right Jar
First things first, you’ll need a Mason jar with a tight screw top to prevent any leaks. I prefer jars with a wide rim because they make it easier and less messy to assemble your salad.
You can find some great options in home stores, or even recycled coconut jars work well. I typically use a wide mouth quart jar (32-ounce) for my Mason jar salad recipes. This size allows you to prepare a substantial salad, perfect for a week of lunches.
Regardless of the size you choose, always opt for wide-mouth Mason jars as they make filling and emptying the jar a breeze. Remember, using glass instead of plastic keeps your salad fresh for longer and adds a touch of elegance to your meal prep.
Step 2: It’s All About The Layering:
Layer 1: The Salad Dressing
Start by adding your dressing at the bottom of the jar. You can use any dressing you like, but I highly recommend my simple and healthy salad vinaigrette, which consists of olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon, vinegar, garlic, mustard and maple syrup with some seasoning.
The Today Show hosts loved my simple vinaigrette dressing.
Homemade dressings are not only packed with nutrients but also taste far superior to store-bought alternatives.
Aim for 2-4 tablespoons of dressing in the jar. If your dressing is on the thicker side, just give the jar a good shake and use a fork to scrape it out when it’s time to enjoy your salad.
Layer 2: Hearty Crunchy Vegetables
This layer is crucial as it acts as a shield for the dressing, keeping your lettuce and other delicate ingredients fresh and crisp. Choose vegetables that can hold up to the dressing for a week. Here are some examples:
- Cabbage (red or white)
- Capsicums (Peppers)
- Red onions
- Sugar snap peas
Feel free to mix and match, but make sure these hearty vegetables come right after the dressing.
Layer 3: Beans, Legumes & Softer or Cooked Veggies
In this layer, add beans and less hearty vegetables. You can also use leftover cooked veggies like roasted pumpkin and sweet potato. This layer provides an extra barrier between the dressing and the lettuce. Here are some options:
- Cannellini beans
- Kidney beans
- Green beans
- Roasted pumpkin and sweet potato
Layer 4: Gluten-Free Grains (Optional)
If you like, you can add pasta, quinoa, or other grains at this stage. Layers two and three should have kept the dressing away from this layer, but don’t worry if a little dressing makes its way here. Feel free to get creative with your choice of grains:
- Gluten-free pasta
Layer 5: Protein (Optional)
For this layer, include proteins like chicken breasts, steak, bacon, boiled eggs, or seafood. Keep these ingredients away from the dressing to maintain their freshness:
- Leftover cooked chicken
- Leftover BBQ’d steaks and sausages
- Boiled eggs
- Seafood (prawns, shrimps, mussels, cooked fish)
Layer 6: Lettuce, Salad Leaves, Nuts, and Seeds
In the final layer, place ingredients that may become soggy if exposed to the dressing too soon. This includes your choice of lettuce or greens. Some nuts can also lose their crunch, so I like to add them here as well. My favourite greens include:
- Rocket and other salad leaves
- Baby spinach
- Chopped romaine lettuce
Remember, you can always add variety by choosing different colours of vegetables, and it’s great for your gut health too!
I tend to avoid avocado in my Mason jar salads to prevent browning. However, if you decide to use it, a squirt of lime or lemon juice before layering should help keep it fresh. Alternatively, you can cut the avocado fresh when you’re ready to eat or consider freezing chopped avocados for future use.
Keep cooked veggies to a minimum as they can brown more quickly and become softer. Especially by day 5. If you’re adding cheese, place it in layer 5. To keep your lettuce crisp, just remember to layer the ingredients correctly and keep the dressing at the bottom, away from the lettuce.
With these tips and a little creativity, you’ll be crafting delicious and healthy Mason jar salads in no time. By having salads to readily available you’ll naturally eat more of them. And soon enough you’ll really be feeling the benefits.
Enjoy your fresh, vibrant lunches all week long!
Recipe: Mason Jar Rainbow Salad with Zesty Lemon Vinaigrette
Elevate your lunch with my vibrant and nutritious Mason Jar Rainbow Salad! Packed with a colourful array of fresh ingredients, this salad not only tantalizes your taste buds but also nourishes your body from the inside out.
It’s a celebration of flavours and a wholesome meal you can prep in advance for a week of delicious lunches that will boost gut health.
My Homemade Zesty Lemon Vinaigrette adds the perfect tangy kick to tie it all together. This salad is all about the layers, ensuring your veggies stay crisp and your flavours remain vibrant until you’re ready to dig in.
Follow this simple recipe and you’ll have five Mason Jar Rainbow Salads ready to grab and go every day of the week.
For more Mason Jar Salad recipes and access to hundreds of recipes, meal plans, and practitioner support check out the Allergy Free Club.