How To Make A Mason Jar Salad

Learn how to make a mason jar salad that will stay fresh for five days. Plus recipes for watermelon feta salad, spring quinoa salad with lemon-mint dressing and peach and arugula salad! 

How to Make a Mason Jar Salad

I’m a sucker for cute food packaging. Maybe that’s subconsciously why I married a packaging engineer. Yes, that’s a real job. No, he is not responsible for those impossible plastic containers you need a chainsaw to hack into (a rigid plastic clamshell in case you were wondering).

He’s invented some pretty neat packages. But to me, I think they’re significantly lacking in the cute department. So I’m constantly sending him pictures and ideas, to which he reminds me that a food package should not only be adorable, but also functional. What fun is that?

Enter the mason jar. Now, I can’t claim that I invented it, but it is cute and it is also functional, especially when it comes to packing salads.

The mason jar’s tall, narrow build allows you to build an entire composed salad, dressing and all, without the dreaded wilt. By using a layer of sturdy vegetables to separate delicate greens and dressing, you can create a salad that will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 5 days. As long as you don’t accidentally tip it over, the greens will be fresh and crisp. Sunday food prep anyone?

Peach and Arugula Mason Jar Salad

It's not rocket science, but there are a few things to know. Here's how to compose the perfect mason jar salad, one that's filling, tasty and will last!

STEP 1 // Get your hands on a clean, wide mouthed mason jar. For a main dish salad, look for a quart jar. For a side salad, use a pint jar.

STEP 2 // Spoon 1-3 tablespoons of salad dressing in the bottom of the jar.

STEP 3 // Add any hard, chopped vegetables to the jar. This will act as a barrier for the dressing and greens or other soft, absorbable ingredients. Carrots, radishes, whole cherry tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, snap peas, celery, and cucumbers are all good choices. If I’m using an ingredient that tends to brown, like avocados or sliced apples, I also like to add this to the bottom with an acidic dressing, which prevents it from browning.

STEP 4 // Add any softer, more absorbable vegetables and fruit, like berries, peaches, chopped tomatoes or roasted vegetables. You could also add any salty ingredients, like pickled vegetables or olives here.

STEP 5 // To make a more substantial salad, be sure to include a high fiber, unprocessed carb. Cooked quinoa, whole grain pasta, peas, beans, roasted sweet potato cubes, and brown rice are all nice choices. Layered on top of the vegetables, this will complete the barrier.

STEP 6 // If using nuts or seeds, add them now.

STEP 7 // Top with greens, like chopped kale, arugula, spring greens or romaine. Make sure the greens are tightly packed, which helps keep it fresh by minimizing the circulating air and keeping everything secure.

STEP 8 // Add proteins like cheese, diced cooked chicken, hard boiled egg or cubed tofu/tempeh on top. I add these no more than a day or two in advance.

STEP 9 // Enjoy! To eat your salad, pour out the ingredients on to a plate or bowl. This generally mixes the ingredients pretty well. You could try to eat it out of the mason jar, but it’ll be tricky to get a bite with everything on it.

Watermelon Feta Mason Jar Salad

One other tip: If you’re not using any sturdy vegetables, like in my peach and arugula salad, just pack the dressing separately in a condiment cup or in a snack sized zip top bag on top of your salad.

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Spring Quinoa Mason Jar Salad

To get you started on mason jar salads, here are three of my favorite seasonal mason jar salads. The peach and arugula salad isn’t new - I shared it last year so head over to that post for the recipe. With our recent heat wave, all I've been craving are salads topped with chilled seasonal fruit! This peach salad is probably my favorite way to enjoy perfect South Carolina peaches!

Spring Quinoa Salad with Mint-Lemon Dressing
Author: Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE
Serves: Makes 4
Ingredients
  • [b]Dressing:[/b]
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves, loosely packed
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • [b]Salad: [/b]
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup peas, blanched from fresh or defrosted from frozen
  • 2 cups [url href="http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-cook-quinoa-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-63344"]cooked and cooled quinoa[/url], from 2/3 cup dry
  • Spring greens
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
Instructions
  1. To make the dressing, blend the ingredients together in a blender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Divide the dressing between four quart-sized mason jars. Add radishes, peas then quinoa, pressing down to pack lightly. Top with spring greens to the top of the jar. Sprinkle feta over the top and seal.
Watermelon and Feta Salad
Serves: 6
This mason jar salad is perfect as a snack!
Ingredients
  • [b]Dressing:[/b]
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • [b]Salad: [/b]
  • 1 seedless cucumber, chopped
  • Watermelon, cubed
  • Basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
Instructions
  1. Whisk the dressing ingredients together and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the dressing between six pint-sized mason jars. Top with cucumber, watermelon, basil leaves and feta. Seal and refrigerate until ready to eat.

 

These salads are perfect for packing in a mason jar: 

Tropical Salad with Spicy Mango Dressing

Kale Tortilla with Jalapeno-Lime Dressing

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Ambrosia Apples & Tempeh Bacon