Creativity in the kitchen is always welcome! Salad in a jar is a simple and ingenious invention that will forever solve the problem with lunch for the office. But what is this and why do you need a salad in a jar? This is the perfect light dinner, the right lunch or an unusual breakfast! Pour a dressing to the bottom of a regular glass jar, arrange your favorite ingredients in layers and close the lid tightly. A little imagination, and lunch is ready! We have selected some of the best recipes which will help you have healthy food every day and will tell you the secrets for the perfect salad!
How to prepare a delicious salad in a jar – basic rules for choosing the ingredients
Layered salads in jars are quick to prepare, easy to carry and last, but not least, very beautiful! How to prepare a salad in a jar, how to choose and combine the ingredients, how to arrange the salad so that it remains fresh during the day? We shall give you useful tips so that you can make your own combinations and enjoy fresh and healthy food. Obviously, you can take advantage of the “make ahead” principle and use the formula for preparing salads not only for the office, but for picnic, when you travel, you can even prepare the salad hours before your guests arrive. So, what is important to know and what are the main rules that you need to follow?
The secret of the perfect salad in a jar that can be stored in the fridge for a week is the order of the ingredients. The way in which components are laid in a jar helps them maintain their freshness for a very long time. You need to remember the most important rule – the dressing at the bottom, and the greens on top! It is important to keep, well, or at least try, the jar vertically until the time for eating your salad comes. Here are the rules for the layers:
Layer 1 – dressing goes at the bottom. You can choose any type of dressing, for example, French vinaigrette or Italian dressing, which is suitable for the combination of ingredients of your salad. It is important that the sauce does not mix with the rest of the ingredients before the moment when we want to eat the salad
Layer 2 – hard and crispy vegetables – pepper, celery, carrot, fennel, broccoli, raw beets, red onions, zucchini or cauliflower, etc. These vegetables will not absorb the dressing, especially, if you cut them in larger pieces.
Layer 3 – meat, fish, eggs, cheeses, legumes like beans, green beans, peas, etc.
Layer 4 – grains or pasta. This layer may include quinoa, rice, couscous, short pasta, lentils, etc.
Layer 5 – soft vegetables or fruits like tomatoes, olives, corn, avocado, mushrooms, apples, pears, grapes, cranberries, red currants
Layer 6- fresh herbs and greens. This layer includes fresh basil, parsley, cilantro, mint, lettuce leaves, spinach, rocket, iceberg, etc.
Layer 7- seeds and nuts. All kinds of nuts, flax or chia seeds, sunflower or pumpkin seeds are located at the very top, near the lid.
Of course, you do not have to arrange all the seven layers, you may combine three, four or five layers. Just keep the order to make sure that all your ingredients will keep their freshness. When you want to carry your salad in a jar to work, for example, or you plan to transport it, you have to pack them more tightly so that they do not begin to tumble.
Another key to success is choosing and combining the right ingredients. You may want to experiment with textures and flavors. Ideally, any salad should contain something protein, something salty and crispy and something savory or sweet. You can combine the ingredients to your liking or use a few ideas below.
Caesar salad in a jar
Ingredients, serves 4:
500 g boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
100 ml olive oil
1 Romaine lettuce
2 tbsp Parmesan shavings
2 tbsp croutons
6 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained
1 small garlic clove
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, plus more
¾ tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp olive oil
½ cup vegetable oil
3 tbsp finely grated Parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt, if needed
Chop and mash together anchovy fillets, garlic, and pinch of salt. Whisk in egg yolks, 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, and mustard. Gradually whisk in olive oil, then vegetable oil until the dressing is thick and glossy. Add in the Parmesan and season with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice. The dressing can be prepared a day ahead.
Slice each chicken fillet in approximately six pieces and place the meat in a bowl. Add honey, salt, black pepper and olive oil over the chicken and mix well. Fry over medium heat for about 3–5 minutes on each side.
Rinse and drain the lettuce. Get four glass jars and arrange the salad staring with the dressing, the chicken and lettuce. Finish with Parmesan shavings and croutons.
Healthy sweet chili chicken salad jars
Ingredients, serves 4:
3 chicken breasts
½ cup sweet chili sauce
1 cup cucumber, diced
1 cup red pepper, diced
1/41 cup chopped cilantro, diced
2 cups cooked vermicelli noodles
½ cup wonton crisps
1 red chili pepper
2 green onions, sliced
1 tbsp chopped peanuts
Preheat BBQ to medium-high. Season the chicken breasts with salt and grill for 20 min, flipping halfway through. Remove chicken from grill and let cool. Cut into cubes and toss in sweet chili sauce.
Meanwhile, cook vermicelli and prepare the vegetables.
Divide chicken evenly among in four jars.
Add layers of cucumber, red pepper, cilantro and top with vermicelli noodles, wonton crisps, chili pepper, green onions and peanuts
Quinoa tabouli and roast chicken recipe
400g can chickpeas, drained
1/3 cup plain unsweetened yogurt
2 tbsp tahini
1 tsp roughly diced garlic
200g Feta cheese
1 roast chicken, meat shredded
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sea salt flakes
1/2 cup quinoa, cooked according to packet instructions
6 tomatoes (ripe and firm), finely diced
1 cup chopped mint
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1 small cucumber, finely diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, crushed
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes
To make hummus, place chickpeas, yogurt, tahini, garlic and lemon juice in a small food processor, blend until smooth, taste and season with salt.
To make tabouli, place quinoa, tomatoes, mint, parsley, cucumber, tomato and red onion in a large mixing bowl.
In a small mixing bowl place cumin seeds, olive oil, lemon juice and salt, whisk until combined. Add to tabouli and toss well to combine.
Arrange in jars staring with the a layer of tabouli, top with crumbled feta cheese, a layer of chicken meat, a few tablespoons of hummus and repeat until container is full. Keep refrigerated.
Thai chicken salad jars
1 large carrot, shredded
1 cup broccoli, chopped
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 large mango, cut into cubes
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 cup shredded red cabbage
6 cups sliced romaine lettuce
½ cup cilantro leaves
¼ cup chopped roasted peanuts
1 lime, quartered
¼ cup peanut butter
Freshly squeezed juice from 1 lime
3 tbsp oil
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
Whisk together peanut butter, lime juice, oil, vinegar, soy sauce, honey, and red pepper flakes together in a bowl until smooth.
Divide the dressing between 4 jars.
Arrange carrots, broccoli, bell peppers, mango, chicken, and cabbage in layers. Top with romaine lettuce, cilantro, peanuts, and a lime quarter.
Chicken Cobb mason jar salad
For the chicken Cobb:
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
1 cucumber, peeled and diced
1 cup grape tomatoes
¼ cup garbanzo beans, drained
2 tbsp gorgonzola crumbles
3 cups mixed baby greens, slightly packed
1 avocado, optional
For the Ranch dressing:
½ cup plain full fat Greek yogurt
¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
¼ tsp dried dill weed
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
Season the chicken breast with salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, add the chicken and cook about 4-6 minutes per side.
Remove from the pan and cut into bite-size pieces.
To make the dressing, whisk together the yogurt, almond milk, apple cider vinegar, dill weed, remaining garlic powder, sugar, and 1/4 tsp. salt.
Spoon 2-4 tbsp of dressing and add layers of grape tomatoes, diced chicken, garbanzo beans, diced cucumber, crumbled gorgonzola cheese, and baby spring mix lettuce.
White bean and tomato salad in a jar
3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 medium cucumber, diced
15 oz (425 g) white beans
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 oz (28 g) basil
4 oz (110 g) feta cheese
6 tbs olive oil
3 tbs red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Combining olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper IN A BOWL and whisk together. Shake to emulsify the oil and vinegar.
Pour the dressing into the salad jars and divide the ingredients between four jars.
Tuna salad in Mason jar recipe
Ingredients, serves 2
2 cans of tuna fish
2-3 tbs of mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup marinated beets
1/4 cup kalamata olives
1 carrot, shredded
1/4 red onion, sliced thinly
1 cup sugar snap peas, chopped
1 small apple, chopped
Several handfuls of baby spinach
Mix together the tuna and mayonnaise. Divide the tuna evenly between the two mason jars.
Layer the beets and olives evenly on top of the tuna fish in both jars, add the sugar snap peas and carrots.
Add the apples and as many salad greens as you can fit into the jars.
Burrito salad in a jar
1 cup quinoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
juice and zest of one lime
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 large chicken breasts
2 teaspoons salt
2 pieces of thick cut bacon
1 large sweet potato, washed, both ends cut off
3 cups chopped lettuce
5 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
3/4 cup shredded cheese
Add the quinoa, 2 cups water, and salt to a medium-sized pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook for 20-25 minutes, or until the quinoa is soft and fluffy. Set aside to cool.
When quinoa is cooled, add the lime juice, lime zest, and cilantro, stir to evenly distribute the ingredients. Taste, and add more lime, if needed.
Season chicken breasts with salt.
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil.
Add the chicken breasts to the skillet, and cook for about 6-7 minutes on each side.
When the chicken breasts are cooked all the way through, remove them to a cutting board and let cool. Cut into small bite sized pieces.
Cut up the potato into small pieces.
Roast for 20 -25 minutes or until they can be easily pierced with a fork. Set aside to cool.
Assemble the salads:
Add 1 tablespoon of plain yogurt to the bottom of each mason jar.
Top with about 2 tablespoons of sweet potato cubes.
On top of the sweet potatoes, add 3-4 tablespoons of the quinoa.
Layer 1-2 tablespoons of cheese over the quinoa and add a layer of chicken.
Fill the remaining space with lettuce, and sprinkle some extra chopped cilantro.
Chicken, apple and walnuts salad in a jar
2 cups chopped kale leaves
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 Granny Smith apples, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup grapes
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup diced red onion
2 stalks celery, diced
2 tablespoons mayonnaise, optional
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more, to taste
Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper, to taste. Add to skillet and cook, flipping once, until cooked through, about 6 minutes per side. Let cool and cut dicing into bite-size pieces.
In a bowl, combine chicken, yogurt, red onion, celery, mayonnaise, almonds and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Divide chicken mixture, kale, cranberries, apples, pecans and grapes into four jars.