I've been making "mason jar salads" nearly every week for the past several months. I prep them on Sundays and then I have healthy, grab and go lunches for every day of the work week! I get questions about them frequently, so I thought I'd go ahead and answer some of them today!
Do they REALLY stay fresh?
Yes! My Friday salad is just as fresh as my Monday salad. The ingredients towards the bottom do end up slightly more flavored, because they're sitting in the dressing, but the lettuce doesn't get the least bit soggy!
How do you eat them?
I pack a reusable plastic bowl in my lunch box. I just dump the salad out and stir!
Do they take a long time to assemble?
Nope! I line up my 5 jars, prep my ingredients, and make an assembly line. I use the baby greens in the plastic clamshell containers from the grocery store, so I'm not chopping and washing lettuce. I also use pre-shredded carrots.
Where do you get the jars?
I bought wide mouth Ball jars in the canning section of my grocery store. The problem is, they only sold them in packs of 12. But, I used some for Christmas gifts. Then I use a few for storage, and one I topped with a lid from the MackMade Etsy shop and I use it as my drinking glass at home! You could always buy a pack and split them with someone!
What do you put in them?
Any salad you like! I layered this Kale, Blood Orange, and Quinoa salad from Edible Perspective last week. This graphic shows you some general guidelines for assembly:
-roasted red pepper dressing, chickpeas, cukes, peppers, feta, grilled chicken, carrots, lettuce (in that order)
-raspberry vinaigrette dressing, cukes, peppers, goat cheese, Craisins, quinoa, carrots, spinach
-salsa, black beans, quinoa, avocado (chopped and tossed with lime juice), carrots, lettuce (this week's!)
-Caesar dressing, cukes, chicken, Parmesan cheese, romaine lettuce (add croutons when served)
-balsamic vinaigrette, black beans, cukes, peppers, hard boiled egg, cheese, carrots, lettuce
You can really do anything in the jar. Just put the dressing in first, then the "hearty bits" (beans, cukes, peppers), followed by more delicate stuff, meat, cheese, and then I layer the shredded carrots right before my lettuce to make sort of a barrier.
Try it yourself and let me know how it turns out!!!