Salads in mason jars are all the rage right now. I’ve seen them on Pinterest for the past year or so and have been thinking about them on and off since then. I even started saving jars for possible future salads. But it wasn’t until I saw this post from Peppermint that I finally took some action and made some of my own.
I’ve been making salads in jars for two weeks now, and I’m totally hooked! Yes, they are initially time consuming, but they more than make up for it in convenience and health benefits. And now that I’ve started cleaning up my diet, they have gone a long way in helping me make healthier choices. You cant get much more convenient than popping open a jar and pouring a salad in a bowl.
I won’t rehash everything Peppermint wrote, check out her post for more tips. I will just add a few things that I’ve observed over the past couple of weeks.
First of all, you don’t need to go out and buy mason jars. Regular old spaghetti jars are just as magical. But if you’re not a jar hoarder like me, then go ahead and buy some mason jars. They’re pretty cheap.
Definitely use fresh produce. While jar salads do stay crispy and fresh, they only do so if your ingredients are that way to begin with. I’ve eaten one salad with super fresh ingredients that I made eight days before. But I did run into some sketchy mushrooms that I ended up tossing out from a five day old salad because they weren’t at the “peak of freshness” when I put them in.
People differ on whether or not to put dressing, meat, and cheese in jarred salads. I think if you’re using a vinaigrette dressing, then by all means put that on the bottom and layer veggies on top that can marinate in the dressing. That’s actually my very favorite part of these salads. I haven’t tried it with a creamy dressing, but other people have, and it seems to work. I don’t feel comfortable putting meat and cheese in my jars, but that’s a personal preference. This is partly because I use a lot of shrimp in mine and I don’t want them hanging out in jars in my fridge all week. So I usually just add my shrimp or chicken in at the last minute.
Here are a few of the salads I’ve made so far, and how I put them together.
For my first batch, I just used produce I already had on hand.
I layered them, from bottom to top- balsamic vinaigrette, cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, green onions, mushrooms, and lettuce.
This one was so good! The marinated cucumbers were delicious, and still had great crunch. Here is what the salad looked like out of the jar.(some people eat theirs right out of the jar, but mine were really tightly packed, so I would’ve made a mess trying to mix everything up in the jar.
The first week I made four salads, and ate them all (except the sketchy mushrooms on the last day).
The second week, I got more ambitious. I made two different salads in seven jars. They look like a little wedding party all lined up.
I had to use smaller jars for a couple of them, but those worked well for side salads or snacks.
Three of the jars contained my very favorite shrimp salad. I layered the ingredients like this- dressing, beans, green onions, mandarin oranges, then greens. I was a little worried that the moisture from the oranges would wilt the lettuce, but it was fine. You just have to make sure you drain the oranges really well.
Here it is with shrimp aded.
I got inspiration for the second salad from this Mexican chopped salad with honey-lime dressing. I made the dressing exactly, but changed up the salad a bit. It was fantastic and so fresh tasting. I think I want to tweak it a bit though. I layered it this way- dressing, peppers, beans, tomato, corn, then lettuce. Like my first salad, the veggies that got marinated in the dressing were my favorite part of this one.
It was great with leftover chicken.
Or with just the veggies, like here. Can you believe that this salad lasted eight days in my fridge? (well maybe you can, with my bad kitchen lighting. It tastes better than it looks, I promise!)
So there you have it, adventures in salad making. I’d call this one a rousing success!
This week I’m going to make my shrimp and southwest salads again. But I will definitely post up if I discover any other great jar salad combos. I’d love to hear if anyone out there has tried this before!