I always mean to pack my lunch. I really do. We all know it's the best way to stay on track with healthy, portion-controlled eating. But in the typical chaos of most mornings I'm lucky if I can get my daughter out the door on time with breakfast in her belly and her lunch in tow. As for me, well let's just say I'm lucky if my socks match. Let's face it, mornings are hard.
That's why I love simple strategies like this one that let me pack a whole week's worth of healthy salads on a Sunday night so they're ready to grab on my way out the door.
"Wait... salad?" you say skeptically thinking it would be a soggy mess by Tuesday. I know, I know I didn't believe it myself. But because my Pinterest newsfeed was so damn relentless with images of delicious looking mason jar salad recipes, I decided to give it a go.
The trick is to keep the dressing (and any other wet ingredients) away from the leafy greens. There are a couple of ways you can do this.
LAYER METHOD - You can carefully layer your ingredients starting with the dressing followed by a layer of hearty vegetables to serve as a barrier between the wet stuff and the delicate lettuce. This is how I started making mason jar salads and I have to tell you, the first time I made a week of salads I was AMAZED that by Friday the salad tasted just as fresh as it did on Monday. Obviously with this method it's important to keep the jar upright to ensure everything stays fresh.
BENTO METHOD - If you're still not sold, there is a second option. With the bento method, you can layer your ingredients in the jar and then top with an empty applesauce cup filled with your salad dressing or other wet ingredients. Dole or Motts brand work well with wide-mouth mason jars. With this method the layering sequence doesn't matter as much however it's still recommended to put your leafy greens in on top if you plan to make enough to take with you for the whole week.
Why does this work so well? To be honest, it still perplexes me a bit. I've packed salads without dressing in plastic containers before and I can tell you they didn't stay fresh nearly as long. I have to imagine that the glass has something to do with it. And it may also have something to do with how tightly mason jar lids seal. Either way, it delightfully defies logic.
In a future post I'll do a round-up of my all-time favorite mason jar salad recipes. But for now I'm including a favorite quick stand-by: Greek Salad. This time we made it with quinoa but you can choose whatever protein you prefer. Left-over grilled chicken is one of my favorites.
Do you have any favorite mason jar salad recipes we should give a try?
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