Salad-in-a-Jar: A Year Later

Breaking News: In addition to graduating college, my sister also recently got a new job and leased her first apartment!  Talk about some major life changes, huh?  My mom mentioned she was worried about not having money now that she has to pay rent and my mom told her “soon you’ll have to bring salad-in-a-jar to work for lunch!”  Um rude, Mom.  Because, here we are over a year later still rocking that salad-in-a-jar habit and I kinda LOVE it.

In case you, like my mom, think this is a sad times lunch that’s holding you back from what you really wanna do (ahem, eat tacos with guac at Chipotle every day), then I’m here to tell you that’s so not the case and if you’re into this salad-in-a-jar thing with me, here’s 5 more we’ve added to our arsenal since that post I wrote a year ago.  (But totally check out that original post for salad-in-a-jar tips!)

Superfood Salad // A very new addition but it’s a winner because it has what a salad needs to succeed… LOTS of stuff!  The more mix-ins, the better!  Make this in spring/summer when avocados are their creamiest selves… and also their cheapest selves.


Greek Farro and Chickpea Salad // Fact: I adore a Greek salad.  It’s probably a combo of all the different textures and the salty feta that ropes me in every time.  You can really use any grain for this one.  We usually do barley because of that one time I accidentally bought two bags of the stuff and we’ll be eating it for the rest of forever.  

California Caprese Bowl // I wait all winter for this one that just tastes so much better in the summer when tomatoes are actually in season.  I once made it with thick-cut bacon and honestly preferred the regular stuff.   


Spinach Salad with Roasted Vegetables and Apricot // The contrast of savory roasted veggies and sweet dried apricots is killer (in a good way!) plus this is one of my very favorite salad dressings.  

Fall Harvest Chopped Salad // I’ve mentioned this one before because the dressing is incredible but the roasted butternut (or sub something more in season), goat cheese, apple, dried cranberry combo is not to be overlooked.  


In other news: I went on my first pre-work outdoor run this morning and it made me INSANELY happy.  That, plus hammock napping, garden inspecting, iced coffee sipping, Memorial Day planning and actual summer time temps means I’m on track to becoming my happiest self.  Howboutyou?

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!