It’s not easy to “brown bag” a salad: If you put dressing on your greens before work, you end up with soggy lettuce; if you keep the dressing on the side, you end up lugging lots of plastic containers back and forth, increasing the likelihood that you’ll lose one of them. Not to mention the fork conundrum – what happens if you forget it?
Luckily, it doesn’t have to be this way. When you use Mason jars to layer your salads, you can keep wet ingredients wet and dry ingredients dry, while still packing them in a single container. Choose the properly sized Mason jar, and you can even fit your fork inside. So go ahead and eat more vegetables with one of these five easy Mason jar salad recipes.
Portable Mason Jar Salads
1. Grilled Chicken Salad
If you have a little extra grilled chicken left over from the night before, put together a protein-packed salad to tote with you to lunch.
- 1 tablespoon dressing of your choice
- 6 to 10 cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup romaine lettuce, shredded
- 1/4 onion, sliced
- 1/2 avocado, diced
- 3 ounces grilled chicken, sliced
- In a 16-ounce Mason jar, layer ingredients in the order listed above so that the tomatoes are sitting in the dressing at the bottom, creating a barrier for the lettuce and onions.
- Prior to eating, shake the jar, dispersing the dressing and mixing ingredients.
2. Easy Taco Salad
When you’re craving a Mexican food experience, but want to go easy on calories and saturated fat, try this simple taco salad recipe.
- 1/4 cup black beans
- 1/4 cup kernel corn
- 6 to 8 cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 cup fresh spinach or romaine, shredded
- 6 to 8 tortilla chips, crushed
- 1 ounce sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh spinach or romaine, shredded
- 1 or 2 tablespoons salsa
- Layer the ingredients into a Mason jar as listed above. Because the salsa is thick and less likely to run or cause sogginess, it can sit on top.
- Shake the jar prior to eating to mix the ingredients.
3. Mediterranean Couscous Salad
Transport yourself to the Mediterranean coast by whipping up this Mason jar salad recipe. Couscous only takes about 10 minutes to make, so prepare a batch on Sunday and enjoy it throughout the week.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Juice from 1/2 lemon
- Dash of dried parsley, basil and oregano
- Dash of sea salt
- 6 to 10 cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup fresh spinach, shredded
- 1 cup cooked and cooled couscous (use whole grain, when possible)
- 4 to 5 olive oil-marinated artichoke hearts, sliced
- 2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
- Layer the ingredients in the order listed above in a 16-ounce Mason jar.
- Shake well before serving to disperse the dressing.
4. Tropical Fruit Salad
Salads don’t have to be green to be good for you. Whip up this Mason jar fruit salad in minutes and enjoy it as a sweet mid-afternoon pick-me-up or a healthy breakfast when you’re on the run.
Ingredients for Mason Jar:
- 3 tablespoons fruit syrup (such as blueberry) or honey
- 1/2 cup plain or vanilla fat-free Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup pineapple, cubed (fresh is better)
- 1/2 cup strawberries, sliced
- 2 ounces nuts (optional)
Ingredients for Homemade Blueberry Syrup:
- 3 cups frozen blueberries
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup honey
- To make the homemade blueberry syrup, add ingredients to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, allowing them to cook for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and use a potato masher to mash the blueberries. Return to heat and boil for another 5 minutes. Allow the syrup to cool. Makes roughly 1 and 1/2 cups of syrup.
- Layer the ingredients as listed above so that the yogurt and syrup or honey can meld at the bottom of the jar, but the fruit maintains some separation.
- Shake well prior to eating to coat the fruit in the now-sweet yogurt dressing.
5. Couldn’t-Be-Easier Veggie Sticks
When you know you’ll be spending hours in the car, skip the processed snacks and opt for veggie sticks in a jar. By adding dressing to the bottom of a Mason jar, you’ll have an easy way to dip-and-go while enjoying a healthy snack.
Ingredients for Mason jar:
- 2 to 3 tablespoons of a dressing of your choice, such as homemade Greek yogurt dressing
- 10 to 12 tall slices of cucumber, carrots, and celery
Ingredients for Homemade Greek Yogurt Dressing:
- 3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
- Drizzle of garlic- and chili-infused olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
- 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
- Sea salt and cracked pepper, to taste
- If making homemade Greek yogurt dressing, mix all ingredients well, adjusting spices as necessary to achieve desired flavor.
- Place dressing of choice at the bottom of a Mason jar.
- Cut vegetables to fit the jar and place them inside.
There’s no reason you need to skip salads during the week or lay out more than $5 for a store-bought option. These easy salad recipes are filling, healthy, and affordable – plus, you can prep them on Sunday and store them in your fridge for the week. Eating healthy and enjoying your veggies has never been so easy.
Do you have any additional simple, transportable salad recipes?