An Ode to Salad-in-a-Jar

Back in February, Joey and I started making salad jars.  I bit the bullet and bought eight QUART-sized Mason Jars*, so every Sunday we’d make the salads and have a fridge stocked with lunch for (almost) the entire week.  It seems like a small thing, but oh my gosh, it revolutionized our lives.

*Just realized I originally wrote pint-sized Mason Jars and that is so wrong.  Do not use pint-sized jars, unless you are a child.  

Previously, we had been cooking bigger batches of dinner, then packing up the leftovers for lunch the next day.  But sometimes plans change, things pop up or you just straight up don’t feel like cooking.  There was so much pressure to cook every night because we’d be relying on dinner to feed us for lunch and I’d feel stressed and guilty when we didn’t.

Now, lunch is taken care of by Sunday and dinner is a stress free event every night and it makes me so happy.  I know I’m about as planner-y as it gets, but even I like the freedom of making spontaneous dinner decisions.  Feels good to be free!  And because we’ve kept this little routine up for four months now, I thought I’d share the recipes we’ve tried, a few tips we’ve learned and mostly just show you pictures of salad 🙂

Kale Salad Bowl // There’s roasted sweet potatoes, chickpeas, feta AND an insanely good tahini drizzle, so this salad is basically the best.



The Ultimate Winter Bliss Bowls // Winter or summer, whatever!  Warning: a majority of this salad is purple cabbage, so don’t be skimpy!  I always quick-pickle some jalapeños, then top the salad with them (plus some salted pistachios) right before I eat it.



Roasted Onion, Squash and Fig Salad with Maple Mustard Balsamic Dressing // This dressing is a real show stopper.  Last time I made this, I roasted the squash so badly (like it was still hard…) but it was amazing nevertheless.  Sprinkle the walnuts on right before you eat it!



Spicy Southwestern Salad with Avocado Dressing // We make this ALL THE TIME and it never disappoints.  Joey gets all freaked out about the avocado dressing but I’m here to tell you it totally lasts for four days.


Carrots, Watercress and Chickpeas with the Greenest Tahini Sauce // I’ve made this salad approximately one billion times, so it’s an obvious favorite.  Don’t add too many greens to the dressing or it gets thick and gluey!  I know from experience.



*My Favorite Lunch Salad // Well it’s not MY favorite lunch salad, but it’s definitely up there.  Mostly because it’s heavy on non-greens and has lots of avocado in it, so it’s basically perfect for right now when avocado is the creamiest it’s ever been.  Also, radishes are better than cucumber if you ask me.

Update: I really really want to endorse this salad, but I can never get the dressing just right and when the most important part — the avocado! — can be questionable at certain times of the year (unless you’re one of those lucky California dwellers), you end up eating something disappointing half of the time.  Make at your own peril.  I just can’t.


Thai Kale Salad // I know peanut butter dressings are high cal or something but whatever with that because I want A LOT of this dressing on my salad.  Be generous with that stuff if you want to live your best lunch salad life.  Also, massaging the kale beforehand is a must!  Don’t worry, kale holds up really well and won’t get soggy, even by Day 5.



Obviously I drizzled way more dressing on after taking this picture.

Rainbow Chicken Salad with Almond Honey Dressing // We made these a couple of weeks ago and they are insanely good!  Just the right ratio of greens to other stuff and the almond butter dressing totally makes the salad.


Packable Power Salad // Which brings me to the salads we made this week.  SO GOOD!  Probably because there’s a bunch of fun components (chickpeas, quinoa, blueberries, tomatoes, goat cheese, sunflower seeds, avocado!), so it’s basically a dream salad.  I’ve been looking forward to it every day this week!



Quick Tips:

Let your salad come to room temp before you shake it up/eat it.  I pull ours out of the fridge an hour before we eat lunch, so the dressing can loosen up, otherwise it is really hard to get it all mixed up.

Leave the nuts out and top the salad with them right before eating.  I’ve seen recipes written specifically for salad jars that promise the nuts will stay crunchy but I’ve never found that to be true.  I just bring them separate.

The more layers, the better.  This is crucial.  Some of the salads we’ve made have been short on “other stuff,” which means you have to fill the rest of the jar with something and that something just ends up being way too many greens.  These salads always end up being unsatisfying and frankly, not very filling.

Really shake it!  You’ll get a killer arm workout (only kind of kidding) and everything gets nice and coated in the dressing.  You can probably eat it right out of the jar, but we stash two salad bowls at the office and use them to pour the salads into every day.

That’s it!  Do you ever make a salad-in-a-jar?  Have any good tips or recipes to share?  I totally wanna hear!