Salad jars have become an increasingly popular way to pack portable, healthy lunches. These tidy individual jars contain healthy salad ingredients and dressing stacked vertically for easy assembly when it’s time to eat. Creating your salad jar is an enjoyable method to guarantee that you have a healthy lunch prepared and ready to take with you whether its, for work, school or when you’re out running errands.
In this beginner’s guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to start enjoying the salad jar trend. You’ll learn tips on choosing jars and ingredients, essential assembly steps, storage instructions, easy dressing ideas, and creative upgrades to basic salad jars. After reading this, you’ll be ready to assembleInstagram-worthy salad jars to take for lunches on-the-go!
Choosing Jars for Salad Jars
The first step in making salad jars is choosing what type of jar to use. Here are some factors to consider when selecting jars:
- Size – Pick a jar size that will comfortably hold all your salad ingredients and leave a little room at the top. A wide-mouth 16-24 oz mason jar usually works well.
- Shape – Cylindrical jars are great for keeping ingredients neatly separated. Avoid narrow jars.
- Lid – Look for an airtight lid to keep dressing and moisture contained.
- Leakproof – Ensure the jar and lid form a leakproof seal, so dressing doesn’t spill during transport.
- Durability – Pick durable glass jars over plastic containers to avoid cracks or stains over time.
Mason jars are a popular choice, but any wide-mouth glass food jar with a tight-fitting lid will work!
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Picking Salad Jar Ingredients
After choosing your jar, it’s time to select salad ingredients. Follow these tips for assembling flavorful, nutritious salad jars:
- Leafy Greens – Spinach, kale, arugula, and lettuce make healthy bases. Include 2 cups loosely packed.
- Protein – Chicken, tuna, beans, nuts, tofu, eggs, or cheese provide staying power. Add 1/2 cup.
- Veggies – Tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. Aim for 1-2 cups total.
- Healthy Fats – Nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil, vinaigrette etc. Help absorb nutrients.Include 1-2 Tbsp.
- Crunchy Toppings – Seeds, nuts, oyster crackers, tortilla strips, croutons add texture. Sprinkle a few Tbsp on top.
- Dressing – Vinaigrettes, oil & vinegar, yogurt-based, tahini, etc. Add 2-4 Tbsp, or keep separate.
Mix and match from these categories to create varied, balanced salads-in-a-jar!
Assembling Salad Jars
Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, it’s time for the fun part – assembling your salad jar! Follow these steps:
- Add your dressing to the bottom of the jar (about 2-4 Tbsp depending on jar size). This prevents soggy greens.
- Layer in leafy greens, pressing down gently to fit. Leave 1-2 inches at the top.
- Next add chopped veggies, spreading them evenly over greens.
- Top with protein, such as beans, cheese, nuts, tuna, or cooked chicken.
- Finish with any crunchier toppings like sunflower seeds, croutons, or tortilla strips.
- Seal jar tightly with lid and store upright in the fridge until ready to eat.
Following this order keeps salad jar ingredients neatly separated until lunchtime!
Storing and Transporting Salad Jars
Salad jars can be made 1-3 days in advance and stored properly in the fridge until you’re ready to grab and go! Here are some storage tips:
- Keep salad jars upright and don’t lay them sideways or ingredients may leak.
- Store in a refrigerator, not at room temperature. Properly chilled below 40°F to prevent bacterial growth.
- Avoid packing warm ingredients into jars – let cooked proteins cool before adding.
- Transport in an insulated lunch bag or box with freezer pack to maintain optimal temperature.
- Give jar a shake at lunchtime once you’re ready to eat! This mixes and distributes ingredients evenly.
Following these guidelines will keep salad jars fresh and crunchy until lunchtime.
Easy Dressing Ideas
Dressing is key for adding flavor to salad jars. Whip up basic vinaigrettes or get creative with oil-free dressings like these:
Creamy Poppyseed Dressing. Combine lemon juice, honey, poppy seeds, Greek yogurt, a pinch of salt and a dash of pepper, in a bowl.
Green Goddess Dressing. Mix Greek yogurt, mashed avocado, minced garlic, chopped tarragon and parsley leaves sliced onions. Freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Thai Peanut Sauce. Whisk together peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce or tamari sauce for option) honey or agave syrup as a sweetener) grated ginger root or ground ginger powder) and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.
Apple Cider Vinaigrette. Blend olive oil with apple cider vinegar Dijon mustard for tanginess) maple syrup for sweetness) a pinch of salt and pepper.
Balsamic Vinaigrette. Combine olive oil with vinegar for richness) Dijon mustard for flavor depth) minced garlic cloves, for added aroma) salt and pepper to taste) and dried basil leaves.
Having dressing ready makes it easy to assemble salad jars on busy mornings!
Creative Salad Jar Upgrades
Once you master the basics, try these fun ways to upgrade your salad jars:
- Use fun shaped pasta or quinoa as the base instead of greens.
- Add roasted veggies like broccoli, sweet potatoes, or brussels sprouts.
- Include seasonal fruits like blueberries, diced apples, strawberries, or mandarin oranges.
- Sprinkle in trail mix or crushed crackers for crunch.
- Top with sliced avocado or hardboiled egg for extra protein.
- Mix up dressings – try hummus, salsa, lemon-yogurt, or pesto based.
- Garnish with seeds, shredded cheese, croutons, or nut butters.
Endless options exist for customizing salad jars to your tastes and making them visually appealing. Get creative with healthful ingredients you love!
Packing Salad Jars for Kids’ Lunches
Salad jars make excellent healthy lunches for kids headed back to school. Here are tips for packing appealing salad jars your kids will actually eat:
- Involve kids in selecting and assembling ingredients so they’re excited about what’s inside.
- Keep variety high by alternating veggies, proteins, and dressings daily.
- Add kid-friendly elements like diced ham, shredded cheese, dried cranberries, mandarin oranges, or their favorite dressing.
- Make the salad jar visually interesting by layering ingredients with contrasting colors.
- Consider packing dressing separately to keep things from getting soggy.
- Go over proper salad jar eating instructions so kids understand how to mix it up at lunchtime.
- Practice at home to get kids comfortable with the process before packing in their school lunch.
With a little creativity and patience, salad jars can become a fun, healthy lunchtime ritual kids feel good about eating.
Enjoying Salad Jars On-the-Go
One final perk of salad jars is how easy they are to take on-the-go! To eat your salad jar at work, school, or anywhere away from home:
- Give the jar a good shake first to distribute ingredients evenly.
- Pop off lid and dig in straight from the jar with a fork or spoon. No plate needed!
- If you packed dressing separately, pour it in and shake again before eating to coat everything.
- Use an external jar sleeve for insulation if eating right away, or pack in a lunchbox with an ice pack until lunchtime.
- Once finished, jars with leakproof lids can seal up leftovers or rinse out easily with water.
With a little practice, you’ll discover how handy salad jars are for taking flavorful, mess-free salads anywhere!
Salad jars offer an exciting new lunchtime option that’s healthy, simple to make, and perfect for grabbing and going. Here are the key tips covered:
- Choose wide-mouth jars and pick sturdy, leakproof options that seal tightly.
- Layer salad ingredients vertically, starting with dressing on bottom, then greens, veggies, protein, and crunchy toppings.
- Store upright in the fridge and transport chilled to keep salad jars fresh until lunchtime.
- Get creative with fun add-ins and dressings like hummus, salsa, lemon-yogurt, and pesto bases.
- Involve kids in assembly and include kid-friendly ingredients to get them excited for salad jars.
- Salad jars allow you to easily take fresh, healthy lunches anywhere!
Now that you’re armed with tips and inspiration, it’s time to start stacking your own salad jars! This trend is an easy way to eat more veggies and energize your midday meal.