Jar salads are a fun and convenient meal prep strategy for busy people on-the-go. Storing your pre-made salads in jars can help keep the ingredients from getting soggy, plus they line up nicely in the fridge so you can easily see what you got for the week. Include all of your favorite leafy greens, salad dressing and other salad ingredients. Follow the tips below for the perfect jar salad.
What You Need
1 to 4 tablespoons salad dressing
Mix of raw, cooked and pickled vegetables, fresh and dried fruit, nuts, seeds, cheese, and other salad ingredients
Protein like beans, hard-boiled egg, tuna or chicken
Wide-mouth canning jars with tight-fitting lids:
pint jars for side salads, quart jars for individual meal-sized salads, 2-quart jars (or larger) for multiple servings
Large bowl, to serve
- Salad dressing: Pour 1 to 4 tablespoons of your favorite salad dressing in the bottom of the jar. Adjust the amount of dressing depending on the size of the salad you are making and your personal preference.
- Hard vegetables: Next, add any hard chopped vegetables you’re including in your salad, like carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, cooked beets, and fennel.
- Beans, grains, and pasta: Next, add any cooked beans, grains, and/or pasta, like chickpeas, black beans, cooked corn, cooked farro, and penne pasta. This would be a good point to add olives or marinated artichoke hearts.
- Cheese and proteins (optional): If you’ll be eating the salad within the day, add a layer of diced or crumbled cheese and proteins like tuna, diced cooked chicken, hard-boiled eggs, or cubed tofu. If you’re making salads ahead to eat throughout the week, wait to add these ingredients until the day you’re planning to eat the salad and add them on top of the jar.
- Softer vegetables and fruits (optional): Next, add any soft vegetables or fruits, like avocados, tomatoes, diced strawberries, or dried apricots. If you’re making salads ahead to eat throughout the week, wait to add these ingredients until the day you’re planning to eat the salad and add them to the top of the jar.
- Nuts, seeds, and lighter grains: Next, add any nuts or seeds, like almonds, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds. If you’re making a salad with lighter, more absorbent grains like quinoa or millet, add them in this layer instead of with the beans.
- Salad greens: Last but not least, fill the rest of the jar with salad greens. Use your hands to tear them into bite-sized pieces. It’s fine to pack them into the jar fairly compactly.
- Storing the salad: Screw the lid on the jar and refrigerate for up to 4-5 days. If you’re including any cheese, proteins, or soft fruits and vegetables, add these to the top of the jar the morning you plan to eat your salad.
- Tossing and eating the salad: When ready to eat, unscrew the lid and shake the salad into the bowl. The action of shaking the salad into the bowl is usually enough to mix the salad with the dressing. If not, toss gently with a fork until coated.