Assembling Mason Jar Salads: The most efficient way to make Mason jar salads is to assemble more than one at a time, maybe even enough to take to work each day of the following week. Try to make similar types of salads at the same time — it cuts down on costs, since you don’t need to buy many different ingredients. But make sure to have enough variety that you won’t get tired of eating the salads day after day.
- Begin by washing your salad ingredients and cutting the vegetables or fruits as needed. Choose a few vegetables that can be used in all of the salads you’re making. It’s good to have a few firm veggies to layer at the bottom of the jar.
- The secret to a Mason jar salad is layering. Start with the dressing on the bottom. I use about 3 to 4 tablespoons of salad dressing per quart jar, or 2 tablespoons per pint jar. (I’ve also found it helpful to place onions at the bottom, if I’m using them, because soaking them in the dressing helps dilute the strong onion taste and prevents onion breath at work.)
- Next add some salad ingredients that won’t soak up the dressing, such as carrots, cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas, or chickpeas.
- Continue to layer your salad with your chosen ingredients. Pack the layers as tightly as possible — the less air between layers, the longer your salad will stay fresh.
- Finally, layer on your salad greens. By ending with the greens at the top, you’ll create a moisture barrier that prevents the entire salad from becoming soggy. If you are including cheese and/or nuts, add them last.
- Twist on the tops to seal your salads, place the jars in your refrigerator, and you’re good to go! If you want to include a protein such as chicken, just place it on top of the salad greens in the morning on the day you’ll eat the salad.
- When you’re ready to eat the salad, just pour it into a bowl and toss to mix the dressing into the salad.
Cooking with Books: Why has the mason jar trend become so huge?
Julia Mirabella: Today everyone is busy; we’re balancing work and family and also trying to eat healthy. Mason jars help make it a little easier. It takes time to make salads every day – you have to wash, prepare, and chop vegetables – but with mason jars you can make the salads in advance and they will keep fresh in the fridge. Every little bit helps. Plus, mason jars are cheap, re-useable, and they look great in your fridge, what’s not to love about them?
CwB: What’s the craziest salad you’ve ever made in a mason jar?
JM: Haha, craziest? I’m not sure! Recently, I have enjoyed experimenting with mixing fruits and more savory vegetables in salads. A great example would be a corn and blueberry salad that I have in my book, which is paired with a lime dressing. It is sweet, sour, and tangy all at the same time. I love it!
CwB: What are some favorite spring salad ideas?
JM: One of my all time favorite spring salads uses strawberries, goat cheese, and walnuts. There will come a time in the spring where suddenly strawberries are at all the farm stands – that’s when you should make this salad. Another favorite salad of mine uses two fantastic spring vegetables – peas and radishes – alongside quinoa and spinach greens.
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Spinach, Radish, and Quinoa Salad
For the salad:
- ¼ cup uncooked quinoa
- ½ cup water
- 2 to 3 tablespoons Blueberry Vinaigrette below
- ⅓ cup cucumber chunks
- ⅓ cup diced vine-ripened tomatoes
- ⅓ cup fresh peas or substitute sugar snap peas
- ½ cup thinly sliced radishes
- 2 cups spinach leaves
- 1 quart-size Mason jar
For the vinaigrette:
- 3 tablespoons fresh blueberries
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon honey
- pinch of salt
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 4 to 5 tablespoons olive oil
- Rinse the quinoa thoroughly under running water. Place in a small saucepan with the water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 15 minutes, until the water has been absorbed. Let the quinoa cool before adding it to the salad.
- Layer the ingredients in the Mason jar, starting with the vinaigrette dressing and continuing with the cucumbers, tomatoes, peas, and radishes. Add the cooled quinoa and finish with the spinach greens. Seal and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Blueberry Vinaigrette: Place the blueberries, vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth. With the blender running, slowly add the olive oil until it is the right consistency.
Disclaimer: Ulysses Press sent me a receive copy of this book at no charge to me, but I was under no obligation to interview Julia or write a review post. My opinions are as always, 100% my own. Photos reprinted with permission of the publisher.