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Salads in a Jar – Healthy, money saving, make ahead lunches for at home or on the go.

Updated on June 9, 2013
layered, health and money saving salad in a jar.
layered, health and money saving salad in a jar. | Source

Salads in a jar are a great way to have healthy ready to eat lunches with very little effort. The salads are made ahead and will keep for 4-5 days in the fridge. A weeks’ worth could easily be prepared at the weekend saving time and work during the week without you having to resort to buying expensive and often unhealthy options while at work, school or college.

These salads can be made in any jar so even the containers can be free if you save jars from bought products such as sauces and jams. Just wash well and reuse. Another option is to buy canning jars which can be reused over and over. With the correct equipment this type of jar can also be vacuum sealed meaning the food inside will stay fresh longer.

Salads can be made from a huge range of ingredients and easily varied to suit any tastes or special dietary requirements such as vegetarianism, veganism, religious or restricted diets due to allergies and intolerances. As well as typical salad ingredients other items such as potato, rice, pasta, quinoa and dressing can be added. Any sauce or dressing should be added to the jar first and a solid, sturdy ingredient placed on top so that the dressing does not cause ingredients like lettuce to become soggy and unpleasant.

Making your jar salad lunches

Salads in a jar can be made ahead and kept in the fridge so that you do not have to worry about preparing lunches for yourself or your family every day. Decide what ingredients you will need and in what quantity and set aside some time in an evening or over the weekend. Wash your jars in hot soapy water and then rinse and dry them well. You can choose to make a batch of salads all the same or with slight variations or if you prefer make several different types. Even if you decided to fill all your jars the same other ingredients can be added at serving to create variety. For example bread rolls or wraps are easily transported along with your salad. Cold meats are another option. Dressing can also be varied to create different tastes and can be added to the jars or carried separately.

Chop all your ingredients and place in piles or bowls ready to be used. Chopping lettuce with a plastic knife will prevent it from going brown along the edges. Any ingredients such as pasta or rice that need to be cooked should be thoroughly cooled before adding to your jars.
When all your ingredients are ready, add them in layers to the jars. If you are using a dressing, this should be added to the bottom of the jar. Next add sturdy, hearty ingredients that won’t go soggy or be spoiled by sitting in the dressing. These include beans, cucumber or carrot slices, bell peppers, radish slices or chickpeas. On top of this separating layer, place all the other ingredients in layers. Reserving delicate items or those adversely affected by moisture from other foods to place on top. Small containers can be used to hold dressing or very small ingredients such as seeds and placed inside the jar if preferred. Now screw on the jar lids and store your salads upright in the fridge. If canning jars are used (the type with a two piece lid) these can also be vacuum sealed with a hand-held can sealer.

The salads can be eaten directly from the jars or emptied out into a bowl or plate. If you are eating at home you could jar a base salad and then add other ingredients each day depending on what you have at home or fancy eating. The salads could also be used as accompaniments to evening meals or as side dishes at BBQ or parties.

Combinations of fruit can also be used to create fruit salads in a jar. These make great, colourful and healthy snacks or desserts for adults and children alike.

Finished salad in a jar.
Finished salad in a jar. | Source
  • Peas
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Radishes
  • Green beans
  • Chillies
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Berries
  • Fresh herbs
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Cubes of cheeses
  • Lentils
  • Split peas
  • Croutons
  • Shrimps or prawns
  • Tuna
  • Crab
  • Noodles
  • New potato slices
  • Salmon
  • Courgette
  • Chicken
  • Cous cous

Ideas for salad in a jar ingredients

  • Raw broccoli
  • Raw carrot slices or batons
  • Cucumber
  • Onion
  • Sweetcorn
  • Lettuces
  • Spinach
  • Shredded cabbage
  • Beetroot
  • Spring onion
  • Cold meats
  • Tomato slices
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Chick peas
  • Cooked beans (kidney, broad, soya, cannelloni, black eyed haricot etc.)
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Quinoa
  • Raisins and other dried fruits
  • Kale

Salads in a jar can be eaten straight from the jar, making them ideal for work lunches and eating on the go. Alternatively they can be poured onto plates before serving.
Salads in a jar can be eaten straight from the jar, making them ideal for work lunches and eating on the go. Alternatively they can be poured onto plates before serving. | Source

Some simple salad dressing recipes

Simple vinaigrette

2 tsp mustard
Pinch of sugar
2 tbsp of red or white wine vinegar
6 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

Whisk all ingredients together until well combined.

Season to taste and stir.

Gradually drizzle in the oil while whisking to form a thick dressing.

Garlic and herb dressing

2 tbsp white wine vinegar
Pinch of sugar
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tbsp of chopped chives
2 tbsp of chopped parsley
6 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

Whisk together the vinegar, sugar, garlic and herbs until mixed.

Season to taste.

Gradually drizzle in the oil while whisking to form a thick dressing.

Quick home-made Thousand Island dressing

2 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp tomato sauce or ketchup
½ tsp Worcestershire sauce

Mix all ingredients together well and chill before serving. Can be thinned with milk if required.

Garlic and honey dressing

1 garlic clove, crushed
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp honey
Pinch of salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to a lidded container and seal.

Shake well to combine and chill before serving.

Honey mustard dressing

½ cup of mustard
¼ cup of honey
¼ olive oil
½ tbsp. lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a jar or similar lidded container.

Shake well to combine.

Chill before serving and shake again if needed.

© 2013 Claire


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    • juliecaroline profile image

      juliecaroline 4 years ago from Tacoma, Washington USA

      Thank you, Elderberry arts. I love this idea! I can't believe I've never thought of it. I think one of the reasons people don't eat healthy food is the time factor, and this is a great way to get all your chopping and combining done in one block of time. I eat mainly raw food and this idea will be a great timesaver for me.

    • Elderberry Arts profile image

      Claire 4 years ago from Surrey, Uk

      I agree and with something like salad it can feel time consuming to chop it all each time or you end up tempted to buy expensive ready prepared bags of salad. I make up 3 or 4 of these at a time reusing jars from other bought foods. Very handy for when you are short on time or don't feel like cooking.

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