Salad in a Jar – Quick and Easy Lunch Idea

Let me present to you the solution to all your problems…

Quick and Easy Lunch Idea - Salad in a Jar

Okay so maybe these guys aren’t going to save the world. However, when it comes to eating healthy, we all know that being prepared is the key to success, and these salads in a jar will save you plenty of time when it comes to prepping a nutritious lunch (or dinner).

Quick and Easy Lunch Idea - Salad in a Jar

Basically Ball jars are the perfect reusable salad container – they are easy to transport, a cinch to clean and work great for shaking up the salad before serving. And don’t worry – so long as the dressing is at the bottom of the jar, the veggies stay nice and fresh and your lettuce doesn’t get soggy!

Quick and Easy Lunch Idea - Salad in a Jar

I actually saw the idea on Healthy. Happy. Life over the weekend and decided right away I wanted to make some for the week ahead. I had already bought a case of quart (32 oz) sized Ball jars in case we needed them for the canning adventure on Saturday, so all I needed to do was get the salad ingredients ready. Easy peasy.

As Isaac and I were chopping veggies for a vegetable/tofu curry dish on Sunday evening, I chopped up extra veggies and whipped up a basil balsamic dressing for the salads. I wanted to make sure each salad had protein so for one I used leftover quinoa and chickpeas and for the other two I used 3 oz. of baked plain tempeh.

Balsamic Salad in a Jar

The one thing to remember about salad in a jar is that your dressing goes on the bottom and you should only use things that do well “marinating” in dressing (like hearty veggies, tofu, beans, etc.) for the next layer as it’s going to be touching the dressing. The rest is pretty easy, but here’s a quick guide on how I made my salads in a jar.

  1. Start by putting 2 Tablespoons of dressing into the bottom of the jar (I used the Basil Balsamic Dressing posted below)
  2. Add items that will respond well to marinating in the dressing.
    • cucumbers
    • squash
    • mushrooms
  3. Add your remaining veggies, legumes, and greens.
    • tomatoes
    • red bell pepper
    • broccoli
    • broccoli slaw
    • avocado sprinkled with lemon juice to prevent browning
    • chickpeas <– Salad 1 had this.
    • spring mix (lots of this – you can really pack it in)
  4. Add remaining ingredients.
    • quinoa <– Salad 1 had this.
    • baked tempeh <– Salad 2 and 3 had this.
    • pecans
    • a few dried cherries

Salad in a Jar with Basil Balsamic Dressing
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Makes 6 Tablespoons / 3 servings
Author:
Serves: 3
Ingredients
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey (or agave nectar)
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped basil
  • ½ teaspoon Braggs liquid aminos (or sea salt)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a blender and blend.
  2. Continue to blend at a low speed as you add olive oil until it is completely emulsified.

So far I’ve had two of the salads this week for lunch and they’ve been excellent. I absolutely love how the veggies that have marinating in the dressing taste – super flavorful and semi-pickled!

Quick and Easy Lunch Idea - Salad in a Jar

A couple tips:

  • The quart sized jars make one big, meal sized salad. You could probably spilt it between two people if it were being served as a side salad.
  • I recommend using wide-mouth Ball jars instead of ones with the regular size mouth. It’s just easier to get the ingredients in and out of the jars when using the wide-mouth.
  • My recipe is just a guideline. Use whatever dressing, veggies, protein and toppings you like. Have fun experimenting!
  • Leave a little room at the top of the jar so that you can shake it up right before serving. It helps make sure all parts of the salad have some dressing.
  • You can totally eat the salad out of the jar, but they are a little deep for forks so I like pouring the salad into a dish.

Quick and Easy Lunch Idea - Salad in a Jar

Yum!

I only made three salads because I didn’t have enough protein for five. Now it’s Wednesday, I’m down to one salad-in-a-jar and I’m kicking myself for not making five. I guess I better make more tonight!

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Comments

  1. I’ve seen something like this on pinterest but I’ve never tried it!! I’m using some Ball jars to take soup leftovers to work, haha. The salad idea is genius though! I can’t believe the lettuce doesn’t get soggy!

  2. these look so good and easy to make! I have to get my hands on some jars!

  3. Great idea!! I will need to try this for my work lunches. Thanks for the idea :)

  4. How cute!! I love this idea!

  5. These look super yummy and quite ingenius! No more boring lunches for me! :)

  6. What a great idea! I love prepping my salads ahead of time but never added the dressing to avoid soggy greens…putting the dressing at the bottom is such a totally obvious solution but somehow it never occured to me?

  7. Love this idea! I need to buy some jars to I can do this to take my lunches when the school year starts up again!

  8. love this idea! This would be so convenient for work!!

  9. This is a great idea! I’ve seen this in magazines before but you make it sound so easy and it would be perfect for work! I’m sick of carrying around these huge containers around. I’ll have to try this method out. And I kind of like the idea of the vegetables “marinating” in the dressing! Thanks so much for sharing. Have a great day!!

    (i just thought of how tasty a strawberry & spinach salad would be- perfect for the jar!)

    • Sharon Stetson says:

      I would love to have the recipe for the strawberry and spinach salad. Caould you share that with us?

      • Patricia Holladay says:

        I made the following salad from Allrecipes.com. It was delicious.
        Strawberry Feta Salad

        INGREDIENTS:
        1/2 cup slivered almonds
        1 clove garlic, minced
        1/2 teaspoon honey
        1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
        2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
        1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
        1 tablespoon brown sugar
        1/2 cup vegetable oil
        1/2 head romaine lettuce, torn
        1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
        1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
        DIRECTIONS:
        You have scaled this recipe’s ingredients to yield a new amount (5). The directions below still refer to the original recipe yield (10).
        1. In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook the almonds, stirring frequently, until lightly toasted. Remove from heat, and set aside.
        2. In a bowl, prepare the dressing by whisking together the garlic, honey, Dijon mustard, raspberry vinegar, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and vegetable oil.
        3. In a large bowl, toss together the toasted almonds, romaine lettuce, strawberries, and feta cheese. Cover with the dressing mixture, and toss to serve.

  10. I really love this idea. I struggle with what to pack for a day at the office. I often end up eating a bunch of snacks instead of full meals when I’m working all day. I am going to look into making something like this in the future. By the way, your pictures look great!

  11. I’ve been seeing these all over! Such a great idea! & that dressing sounds amazing!!

  12. YUM! I was waiting for this recipe, thanks!! :D

  13. I have been seeing these lately and wondering exactly how to do it. I hate when the lettuce is wilted. Thanks for sharing!!

  14. That is clever – Wilted lettuce is gross but this seems to solve that problem!

  15. Making.Immediately.

  16. What a cute idea – love these!

  17. This is the first time I have seen this, but you should have seen my facial expression when I first started reading! What a great idea, I can’t wait to try it…my tupperware salad containers are such a drag

  18. What a great idea … thanks for sharing, and I know what I’m doing for lunch tomorrow!

  19. What a fab idea and they look so tasty. Will look for jars this weekend. Just wondered how long salad will last in them as they are ideal for work lunches. Thank you for sharing.

  20. Brenda Perkins says:

    A great idea, my husband and I have a salad with lunch and a salad with supper and occassionally as supper. I will be making these tonight! Thanks for sharing!

  21. This is fantastic. I need to do this ASAP.

  22. Thanks for sharing a great idea! I can’t wait to try this when I start school this fall!

    By the way I made your overnight oats recipe (oats and almond milk) and I LOVED it! I prefer this one over the one with yogurt and chia. I also made your Berry Hot flax cereal yesterday morning…it was delicious!

    Hope you have a great day :)

  23. This was totally on my to-do list when I went through my salad craze last week but I forgot! Have no fear, there will be plenty more salads to try this out next week! ;)

  24. I am officially in love with your blog! This is such a great idea. I am always trying to find ways to jazz up my salads. Not only does this give me options, but it is also a great way to transport my lunch! Thanks for the suggestion. I am going to check out the rest of your blog now!

  25. Amazing idea. I only wish I had thought of it.

  26. terry givens says:

    Fabulous idea. Simple, easy, and looks delicious. I only wish I had thought of it.

  27. Such an awesome idea!!!! I’m gonna make these for lunch next week!

  28. If I made 5 will it last without welting for the week?

  29. I really like your idea that you put the salad onto jar . I am always looking for a different idea since I love eating salad but more on from the restaurant. I wanted to try salad on my own and when I saw your article, I was impressed and probably tomorrow, I will do this for my lunch and dinner.

    _________________________
    Cooking Recipes for One

  30. Yum!! I love those salads although I haven’t tried preparing them ahead of time. That’s awesome.

  31. joanne k says:

    Thank you so much for the inspiration! The middle shelf of our fridge now has salad in a jar at all times. So quick and easy and prepared a week in advance.

  32. christocc says:

    There’s no way to transport these without the dressing sogging up the salad. Instead, carry TWO jars, one with the salad, and a smaller one with the dressing!

  33. christina dendy says:

    do you vacuum seal the jars? if not, how long do they keep?

  34. We have tried this using all the same ingredients, putting the tom, cukes, etc on the bottom, then the lettuce but we don’t add any dressing. We did this for a sewing group and just brought different dressings for the people to add their favorite and then top with croutons. A great idea serve with a fresh roll, garlic bread, etc.
    We did not use vacuum jars, saved large jars that we had it and worked fine.

  35. I need to try this! Looks so good.

  36. Hi nice idea – would you get any different results if you prepared them the same way in advance in a Tupperware bowls?

    • Hey Matthew. It might work, but not as well because if you added the dressing to the bottom of a tupperware bowl, most of the lettuce would touch it and wilt. The reason mason jars work so well is they give the height to keep the dressing separate. Also, salad ingredients stay fresher in glass jars.

  37. Very good post! We will be linking to this great content on
    our website. Keep up the great writing.

  38. You don’t need to use a glass canning jar. I have done this many times using the Ziploc or rubbermaid containers. The dressing spreads on the bottom and the other vegetables keep the lettuce from touching the dressing. Easy to toss all ingredients and can eat from the same container.

  39. Assemble this salad in your mason jar for a quick gra and go lunch option. I love it

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