Let’s face it, bringing a packed lunch to the office is boring, time consuming and, if filled with pre-packaged food, unhealthy. Instead of making all those yummy, yet time-consuming, recipes you are constantly pinning away, you usually end up with something that is thrown together at the last minute or worse grab a frozen nutrient-void frozen dinner.
Well not anymore. The mason jar salad is here to the rescue. It’s easy to prepare, healthy, portable, yet sustainable, and offers room for plenty of variety. You can mix and match your own ingredients or make one of the hundreds of recipes floating around the Internet. Bonus, these salads can last for days, allowing you to prepare a week’s worth of lunches ahead of time. Extra bonus, they are super cute, making great Instagram-able lunches.
How to pack the perfect salad in a jar:
Layer 1: Dressing
The basic idea when building a salad is to start with the heaviest ingredients on the bottom and work your way up through the lighter ingredients. So, the salad dressing is always the first layer of the mason jar salad. Add 2 to 4 tablespoons of your favorite salad dressing.
Layer 2: Vegetables
Layer two is a buffer layer, shielding the lettuce and other wimpy ingredients from the dressing. It is best to use vegetables that can hold up being drenched in the dressing for a couple of days or more.
Vegetables like carrots, celery, broccoli, cucumber and tomatoes are your best options.
Layer 3: Beans and other vegetables
In this layer, you can add in beans and other less hearty vegetables like corn, green beans, sprouts, zucchini or mushrooms. Ideally, this layer functions as a second layer of defense to keep the dressing from the lettuce.
Layer 4: Grain and pasta
If you are using pasta, grains, couscous or rice add them to this layer.
Layer 5: Protein and cheese
Protein time. If you are using cheese, eggs, meat, shrimps or other seafood, you should add those ingredients to this layer. It is best to keep these ingredients away from the dressing.
Layer 6: Lettuce, nuts and seeds
Finally, you can add lettuce,baby spinach, field greens or any ingredient that would become soggy if exposed to the dressing too soon. Nuts are also included in this layer as it may lose its crunch if added early.