My recent inspiration from Pinterest (or Pinspiration as I like to say!) is making mason jar salads. I saw this post many months ago and thought it seemed too good to be true. Not only did they promise that the whole process was easy, but that the salads would stay nice and fresh for five full days. That definitely got me excited. I feel like whenever I try to be proactive and make a salad in advance, it always seems to get a bit soggy. The whole premise behind mason jar salads is that you follow a few simple rules as you tightly stuff your jars full of yummy veggies and voilà! – the perfect salad all ready to go. There are a few tricks to it, but it’s pretty simple. We have been making these weekly now for several months and I don’t see us quitting anytime soon. You can make about five days’ worth at a time (though they have stayed good a day or two longer) and having them around makes it so much easier to have a hearty and healthy salad on a daily basis. Though we just eat these at home, I would imagine they would be really nice to take to work for lunch. So yes, I am really enjoying these salads and wanted to share with you all in case you feel like jumping on the mason jar salad bandwagon with me! Let’s get started.
- 5 quart sized wide-mouth mason jars
- 5 wide-mouth plastic lids
- Salad makings of your choice
When choosing mason jars you want to try to find the large quart-sized ones. If you can, the wide-mouth ones are best because it makes it easier to stuff them. Rather than use the typical metal lids that are used for canning, I opted for these screw on plastic ones which are nice and easy. If you only have the metal ones they’ll work too; they’re just not as snazzy. If you don’t already have mason jars and lids, you can get some at Fred Meyer, Walmart, Target, Amazon, or even at local thrift shops.
You can stuff the jars with whatever salad contents your heart desires. I personally like my salads to have lots of protein so that I feel full after eating them. I went with a bit of a chef/garden salad. Here’s what I use to make 5 salads worth:
- 1 bag of Romaine lettuce
- 1/2 a bag of Spinach
- 5 chicken breasts (that the hubby grilled, yum!)
- 5 hardboiled eggs
- 2 bell peppers
- 1 container of baby tomatoes
- 1/2 a red onion
- 1 cucumber
- 2 cans of assorted beans
- 1 bag of carrot shreds
*Side Note: I tend to double everything to make 5 salads for myself and 5 for my husband
*Double Side Note: if I wasn’t on a dairy-free/soy-free diet for Little Deer right now I would definitely add some cheese in. Cubed pepperjack, monterey, feta… any cheese would make it yummy!
So before you start throwing everything in the jar, here are a couple of tips to help keep everything yummy and fresh:
- Put the dressing in first – I don’t actually add dressing to mine since we eat these at home. But if you’re taking yours on-the-go, you just want to be sure to add it first so it sits on the bottom and doesn’t touch the lettuce and get it soggy.
- Add your most compact veggies next – I opted for having carrot shreds as my base, then all the cut up veggies, beans, and finally the turkey and eggs.
- Lettuce is last – This is the last step!
- Pack it in tightly – The first time I made these I got to the end and thought goodness, I hardly have any room for lettuce! But once you really start pushing it down you can fit quite a bit in there. Stuffing it in nice and tight is key so that there’s not room for air in the jar.
- Skip the croutons – They’ll just get soggy. And any veggies that tend to get slimy like avocados.
Making these salads really doesn’t take too much time. It varies depending on what you’re adding. When we hard boil eggs and grill chicken, it definitely adds some more time. Assuming that part is all done and you’ve got your supplies out and ready, it usually takes about 30 minutes total. Here’s our typical breakdown:
- Prep time (20 minutes): This includes washing and chopping veggies, cutting up the meat, draining and washing the beans, and slicing the hard boiled eggs. I’ll admit I bought pre-washed lettuce and spinach to make it easier.
- Stuffing (5 minutes): I just went one item at a time and evenly distributed everything between the 5 jars.
- Cleanup (5 minutes): Pretty simple since all you have to do is wash a knife and cutting board.
Look how pretty and colorful these turn out! And they’re so yummy and healthy. I was skeptical that these would actually stay good for five days but they truly do. Having these stocked in the fridge sure makes it easy to eat a salad every day. I personally love salads, but when I’m hungry the idea of all the prep that goes into making one always sounds like too much work in the moment. With these you just grab one out of the fridge, tip it out onto your plate, and you are ready to go!
Tip: As you make these, set extra ingredients on a side plate to have for lunch or dinner the same day. We found that’s always nice, that way you can enjoy a yummy salad and still have 5 days worth packed away in the fridge.
A quick shout out to my two helpers in the kitchen! And my husband for always grilling up all the chicken.
What do you all think, ready to make these with me? Have any other salad combinations that are yummy?