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Salads in a Jar

Salad in a Jar

I love these simple salads in a jar!

(This is a guest post by my college daughter.)

As a busy college student, I often find that I don’t have as much control over my meals as I would like.  Cafeteria food gets really old really fast, but most days I simply don’t have the time to prepare a meal myself, and going downstairs to use the dorm’s communal kitchen is a real pain.  Another option is fast food, but it gets pricey quickly – and even though fries every day seems like an awesome idea at the time, the freshman 15 would say otherwise.  So, what’s a girl to do?

Enter mason jar salads.

I’ve been trying to shift my diet towards healthier options recently, so although I’ve heard of this idea before, I really jumped on it this time it came around.  The idea is super simple: you just layer your salad in a jar and viola!  Ready-made salad for you to grab any time.  You can spend 30 minutes whenever you have free time and make your lunches for the entire week, and you don’t even need a kitchen!  I did everything in my dorm room. Then, when your busy schedule ramps up, you’ll just grab and go!  Here’s what you’ll need to do to get started.

Use quart sized wide-mouth mason jars, which will keep your salads fresh in your fridge.  I bought weirdly shaped short squatty ones because I thought they would fit in my mini-fridge better, but regular ones will work just as well. You’ll also want your preferred greens and an assortment of your favorite salad ad-ins and dressings.

Suggestions for salads in a Jar:

-feta cheese
-nuts
-bacon bits
-diced cooked chicken breast (I found a handy bag of pre-grilled & diced frozen Tyson chicken breasts, which is perfect!)
-tomatoes
-red onion
-strawberries, apples, and grapes
-black beans
-avocados

The possibilities are endless, so don’t be afraid to explore!  The best part about this is that you are in complete control of your salads.  Don’t like tomatoes?  Don’t add any!

When it comes time to layer your salads, you will want to add the toppings first, with the wettest ingredients at the bottom.  Make sure to squirt lemon juice on diced apples or avocados to keep them from turning brown.

After you have added all of your toppings, with the driest on top (such as nuts or cheese), fill the rest of the jar with your greens.  Keep an eye on how much space you’re leaving when you’re adding your toppings so that you have plenty of room.  Lastly, you can either add dressing now, or wait until you are ready to eat your salad.  I haven’t experimented with this yet, but I feel that saving the dressing until I’m ready to eat will probably help to keep the salad fresher, so that’s what I opt for.

And that’s it!  There are SO many different ways to change this up.  Here’s one I’ve tried so far:

Strawberry Avocado Chicken Salad in a Jar

1 avocado, diced
6-8 fresh strawberries, diced
1/4 red onion, diced
2 tablespoons pecans
1/2 cup cooked, diced chicken breast
Lemon juice
Fresh spinach
Poppyseed dressing

Add the diced avocado to your jar first and squirt a little lemon juice on top to keep it fresh.  Next, add strawberries, then onions, pecans, and finally the chicken.  Stuff the rest of the jar with spinach, screw the lid on tightly, and you’re good to go!  I had this one with poppyseed dressing and it was awesome.  I feel like a raspberry vinaigrette would also have been good.

See?  Super easy!  And if you want even more salad ideas, check out the post that inspired me!

I’m excited to be able to have healthy, easy lunches right at my fingertips this week.  How about you?  Will you try it, or have you already?  If you have a favorite salad-in-a-jar recipe, be sure to leave it in the comments!

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Comments

  1. Leeks are an awesome addition to salads too, especially with avocado! Their light onion flavor and crunch goes so nicely :) And I love your jars–so cute!

    You can also put the dressing in on the very bottom and add carrots, onions, or other veggies that won’t sog right on top of the dressing. Then add nuts/cheese, and then greens on top. Whatever works, though!

  2. My husband regularly takes this salad to work, I make up 3-4 at a time and keep them in the fridge. The quinoa helps keep him full without being heavy. http://www.yummymummyclub.ca/blogs/nicole-macpherson-meatless-mummy-con-carne/20140423/bruschetta-quinoa-salad-recipe
    I usually add feta and cucumbers for a nice big lunch.

  3. This is BRILLIANT! I love this idea– even for those not in a dorm!
    I’m trying to eat more salads at lunchtime so I am definitely going to give this a try. By thinking ahead, lunch will be an easy no-brainer that is still healthy.
    Thanks!

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