These Mason jar salads are all the rage nowadays, and I am happy to say, I made these before they were cool.
Nothing to it, really, just get all of your favorite salad fixings together, plus a few mason jars. I like to use the wide-mouth pint jars (Ball and other companies even have them in pretty colors), and if you can obtain a few reusable plastic lids (like these), that would be even better.
I generally like to keep it simple, so I make the same salad for every day. You can obviously change it up so you can have a different salad every day.
Once you have all of your supplies and ingredients, there are only two rules:
- Keep the dry stuff dry.
- Keep the wet stuff wet.
So, start with the dressing. Fill each jar with a tablespoon or two of your favorite or chosen dressing.
Next, add other wet salad ingredients: fresh tomatoes, legumes, fruits, beans or corn, pre-cooked (and pre-cooled) pasta, avocados, feta cheese, tofu, hardboiled eggs, etc.
Then try to put a “barrier” like chickpeas, quinoa, cucumbers or beets, but if you can’t create a barrier, just make sure the layers cover the whole jar.
Put your greens (lettuce, romaine, spinach, kale, etc.) at the top along with anything else that needs to stay dry, like tortilla crisps or crispy bacon bits.
Now you have premade, healthy meals that are ready to go all week.
Mason Jar Dressings
OK, so these aren’t popular (yet, anyway) but they should be. You know that jar of strawberry jam or raspberry preserves in your fridge that you never use? The one that has just enough that you can’t use it for anything else? What about that one jar of mustard that only has a few teaspoons left? Do you have a container of yogurt that you need to use before it goes bad?
Oh yeah. We’re using up your fridge leftovers with this one.
First, take that almost-empty jar out of the fridge. Shake it around a little. Make sure it isn’t filled with toast crumbs from the last time you used it. The contents of this jar will be your binder.
Next, determine what flavors go well with that binder. Raspberry or strawberry (or other berries) go well with balsamic or dark vinegars. Mustard – particularly spicy mustard – is best accented with white or white wine vinegar. Then add fresh or dried herbs.
Here are a few ideas to mix it up:
- Berry jam/jelly + Balsamic vinegar + fresh rosemary or basil = Balsamic Berry Dressing
- Greek yogurt + White wine vinegar + fresh dill and lemon = Creamy Dill Dressing
- Dijon mustard + White vinegar + fresh or dried oregano = Herby Mustard Dressing
- Pure Honey + Apple Cider vinegar + sriracha and lime = Spicy Honey Vinaigrette
- Greek yogurt + cilantro, lime, hot sauce + fresh, mashed avocado = Baja Goddess Dressing
- Creamy peanut butter + soy sauce, rice vinegar + cilantro, ginger = Peanut Ginger Dressing
- Fresh hummus + white vinegar + feta cheese and fresh basil/herbs = Greek Hummus Dressing
Once you have established the flavors and the binder, simply add a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and put the lid on the mason jar and shake vigorously until completely blended.