I’m late to the party. But, now that I’m here, I’m lovin’ it! I’m talking about the mason jar craze. What a great make-ahead meal strategy. Just properly layer your favorite ingredients in jars, and you’ve got fresh, no-prep salads throughout the week. I’ve been chowing down on this taco salad in a jar for 3 days now. It’s so easy to just grab it out of the fridge and dump it out on a plate. It has some of my favorite ingredients and it’s low-cal too!
Read on for this salad and tips for packing your favorite salad ingredients in a mason jar.
Tips for Packing Taco Salad in a Jar (or any salad for that matter!)
It’s all in the packing. Yeah, just like a suitcase. If you do it right you are rewarded with a lovely, care-free travel (umm..I mean dining) experience.
I’ve used the ingredients for my taco salad in a jar to discuss the layering process and tips for assembling just about any salad:
- The dressing always goes in first. Combine two Tablespoons of your favorite salsa (mine is Newman’s Own Peach Salsa) with 1 Tablespoon of light sour cream or vegan substitute.
- Next add firm vegetables. Firm as in, they won’t go mushy by touching the dressing for a day or two. I added grape tomatoes and hearts of palm. A word of caution, diced tomatoes and soft fruits, like strawberries, do not work well. Add these at serving time. Some veges that would be great are carrots, celery, peppers, cauliflower and even grapes.
- Another option I’ve seen around the web is to add a grain, like bulgar wheat or lentils. Add that next.
- The next layer could be a little heavier, possibly a protein. I was multi-tasking and violated the order in the picture. The black beans really should have been below the shredded cheese. Of course, chicken would also be nice in this salad too.
- Lighter items go next, such as black olives. For other salads, this is where you would add nuts, seeds or dried fruit.
- Add the cheese or vegan shreds next.
- Now stuff in your lettuce. I use a combination of baby spinach and butter lettuce.
- Mix a little fresh cilantro in with the salad greens.
- The taco salad in a jar is capped off with a few tortilla chips, which I lift out first and then crumble on top of the salad once it’s on a plate.
- That’s it!
If you have everything out, it’s really just as easy to make 3 or 4 salads as it is to make one.
- For best results, make sure your ingredients are “dry” before you put them in the jar.
- I used a quart sized mason jars, a smaller size would work for a side salad.
- Placing a paper towel at the top of the jar will absorb excess moisture.
- Avoid ingredients with strong odors, such as onions. Add this on serving day, if desired.
- The salads should stay fresh for 4-5 days.
When you are ready, dump it out and arrange it on a plate. I think it’s very cool that the lettuce greens come out first and the toppings, well they end up on top. Stir and enjoy!
If you need more inspiration, check out the beautiful salads over at the Lunch Box Bunch.
And, if you have more tips for packing a salad in a jar, please share!