Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Salads in a Jar

I have been wanting to try this for quite some time now! And, I am glad I did! Mason jars are just so cute. I think they take a lot of us back to our childhood when life was simpler, when what we ate came out of the garden and when mom or grandma would spend weeks in the fall in the kitchen canning their harvest. Mason jars just give us a sense of nostalgia and have really made a comeback in cool, unique ways. They are very popular to use for gift-giving right now. They are perfect for lunch on-the-go. Using a jar puts a cool twist on just simply packing a salad in a plastic container.  Being home with a four-year old everyday means little time to stop and make myself a healthy lunch, so this would be perfect for me to make the evening before and grab while my daughter is eating her pb&j sandwich and goldfish crackers!  And, the hubby can take these along for lunch at work.

Although there really is no set recipe for Mason jar salads, I have discovered a few rules to follow when assembling. 

First, place your dressing in the bottom of the jar. Then, you'll want an ingredient next that will be sort of a moisture blocker from the rest of the ingredients. You wouldn't want to put your cheese, for example, or your lettuce right on top of your dressing ... nothing that will get soggy or slimy. A few good options to put on top of your dressing are carrots, cucumber slices, radishes, cherry tomatoes or peppers. I've made a couple of these using pasta, so pasta is, also, a fine choice to put right above the dressing. 

Leave a little room at the top so that the salad can be shaken up a bit when it's ready to be eaten!

Fresh mozzarella balls (bocconcini) are a great addition to an Italian-style salad ... as are olives. Chopped sun-dried tomatoes would be great, too.

The ingredients for the salad below are:
  • Italian vinaigrette dressing
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Fresh mozzarella balls
  • Cooked, drained and cooled pasta
  • Fresh spinach
(The photo at the top of the post simply has the addition of black olives, a different shape of pasta and a smaller size of mozzarella.)

You would not want to use anything like croutons in the jars. If you desire, it would be really cute to tie a little baggie of croutons, nuts or cracker-style bread sticks to the jar with a little ribbon ... especially as a gift-giving option. 

A basic vegetable salad is a healthy, beautiful option for jar salads.

The ingredients for the jar above are:
  • Bleu cheese dressing
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Sliced green onions
  • Mozzarella balls
  • Sliced radishes
  • Spinach
  • Dried cherries

The ingredients for the jar above are:
  • Ranch dressing
  • Shredded carrots
  • Chunks of cucumber
  • Sliced radishes
  • Spinach
  • Dried cherries
Layering the ingredients is more appealing, but simply serving an already-mixed pasta salad in a mason jar is clever and adorable, too.

One could go the chef-salad route, as well ... adding cubed ham or turkey along with all of the veggies.

And, salads in a jar are perfect for taking along on a picnic. You could even fill a couple of jars with ice to put in the cooler to help keep everything cool (in place of ice packs).

The great thing about these, too, is that you can make each one to suit your individual family members or guests by building theirs with their favorite ingredients!
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  1. Do you find that these are hard to eat or messy through the small jar opening?

    1. We haven't had an issue. They have worked perfectly for us ... especially to take on the go! Thanks for visiting!