We have a gazillion empty jars with missing lids and sticky paper labels still half-attached.
Because of their odd sizes (and busted-looking appearance), they’re mostly used for vinaigrettes, leftovers and random bits and pieces.
I was never inspired to stuff them with pretty green leaves.
In fact, I was never a fan of salad in jars at all.
The trend reminds me of open shelving in a kitchen; it’s pretty to look at but does it function in real life?
For real people?
But these particular jars were just the right size.
With tight fitting lids.
And brand new.
And… if you looked at them at just the right angle they glistened in the overhead lighting at Target.
I bought 8 for $.50 each and decided to give it a go.
A Few Things
1.) Pick the right jar. Choose a squat, wide-mouth jar so you can eat without struggling. An 8-ounce mason jar is too small for an adult human’s lunch (I could eat 4 of them in one sitting) and on the flip side, if your mason jar is too large your fork won’t reach the bottom where all the good stuff is.
2.) You don’t need a recipe. Survey your pantry, freezer, fridge and use up whatever you have on hand first. You’d be surprised at what you come up with without a recipe. Common ingredients in our kitchen include: beans, marinated artichoke hearts, olives, feta and cherry tomatoes. Get creative.
3.) Size Matters. When assembling leafy green salads, layer the heavier ingredients at the bottom of the jar. Ignore this if you are making a mixed grain salad or leaf-less veggie salad.
4.) To dress? Or not to dress? I like to pour a little bit of vinaigrette at the bottom of the jar (where all the heavier stuff is), add fresh basil and marinate overnight for the flavors to infuse. Then, simply shake before eating. You could also dress right before serving, if you prefer.
5.) Don’t go crazy. Keep it simple. Only prep what your family will eat. Once you find your rhythm this technique will become effortless, not work.
Interestingly enough, my husband eats more salad now that they’re ready to go in the fridge.
And after implementing the tips above, the trend is quite functional after all.
They are great for quick lunches, easy to transport, and motivation to use up any leftovers- no waste.
As a bonus, they’re also budget friendly. Think about what you spend on lunch here and there during the week. It all adds up!
Did I mention they’re fun to eat too?!
So what do you think? Would you try salad in jars?
- cherry tomatoes, halved or left whole
- marinated artichoke hearts (if you can find grilled ones, get those!)
- assorted olives, pitted
- chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- a stack of fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons
- handful of baby kale and spinach, or other salad greens of your choice
- parmesan shavings or feta cheese
- drizzle of olive oil
- about 1 tsp of red wine vinegar, plus more to taste
- In a bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients. Drizzle very lightly with olive oil and add the vinegar. Toss well. Spoon this mixture into your salad jars.
- Top each jar with greens and sprinkle with cheese.
- Secure the lids and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Salads will last up to 2-3 days (**see note above).