It’s a bold statement but it’s completely possible to make a week’s worth of lunches in an hour (or less) thanks to jars and careful layering. Ever since I started making jar salads it’s been a dream to have healthy lunch options ready to go for the work week – just grab one in the morning and you’re off.
So why glass jars? It’s not just the jar-madness that is everywhere. Glass doesn’t hold on to odors, if you were to put something like a turmeric-spiked italian dressing in it, there would be no stains or smell to contend with and because of the tight-fitting seal that most canning jars come with, the salads stay very fresh (without fridge taste) for the week. I break my jar salads down into about 5 layers. Below are tried and true guideline on how to build foolproof jar salads. The layers go from the first layer on the bottom of the jar and build up from there. First layer – Dressing: Go with any dressing you love! My favorite dressings are a basic honey balsamic, creamy avocado dressing, or a turmeric spiked dressing. The ratio depends on the size of your jar and your preference, but I use about 3 tablespoons of dressing per 1 quart jar.
Second layer – Hearty base: This will have the most contact with your dressing, it needs to be something that can stand up to it. I like using things like quinoa, pearled barley, kidney beans, lima beans, bulgar, roasted sweet potato and roasted pumpkin. Third Layer – Firm veggies or cooked meat: Add things like Cherry tomatoes, chopped bell peppers, snow peas, steamed string beans, steamed broccoli, roasted cauliflower, shredded cabbage, roast chicken, lamb or beef. Fourth layer – Nuts, cheese and dried fruit: This is the stuff that makes your salad pop! Think feta, goats cheese, cheddar, walnut, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, apricots, dried cranberries. I love the combination of dried apricots, walnuts and feta sprinkled through a salad. Fifth layer – Leafy greens: This layer sits above it all, and it the most untouched. That means come Friday, your greens will be as crisp and fresh as they were when you made this in the beginning of the week. I like to use greens like kale, arugula, watercress or spinach. Keep the salads stored in the fridge. When you’re ready to eat, flip the jar, give it a good shake and pour into a large salad bowl. Enjoy!