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Recipe: Salad in a Jar

salad in a jar with beans, cucumbers, lettuce
Summer approaches: more opportunities to take food on the go. What do you eat when you travel? Have you ever made salad in a jar?

Last week I drove to U. of Maryland and back to pick up my son. I made my salad in a jar the day before. The only “rules” are put the green leafy vegetables like lettuce on the top, and have the dressing on the bottom. Then, when you are ready to eat, tip over the jar so the dressing runs all through the ingredients. Make sure to bring a fork and plate. It is difficult to eat salad in a jar if you don’t have a desk or table handy. Next time I travel maybe I will try a plastic bowl for the salad (not for storing it, just for eating it).

First, I will list the ingredients in my salad in a jar. Then I will make a list of all sorts of ideas of what one can put in the jar. Feel free to add your own food ideas in the comments.

Ingredients for One Version of Salad in a Jar

  • romaine lettuce – torn into pieces
  • raw kale – torn into pieces
  • bits of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chopped nuts
  • bean salad – I had a leftover bean salad I had made for Shabbat. It already had a light, garlicky dressing and bits of red onion and fresh oregano.
  • cucumber – chopped into pieces
  • dressing – olive oil, raw apple cider vinegar (add a few spices and salt/pepper to taste)
  • glass jar with wide top
  • fork and plate or bowl for eating

Make the Salad

Find a jar with a wide top. Locate all your ingredients and assemble them. If you don’t have enough ingredients, go to the store, walk through the produce section, and pick out some vegetables! Fruit might work, too. In my case, I chopped up cucumbers and a few red onions. I washed romaine lettuce and kale. I had already made a bean salad the day before.

My first layer is the dressing. I used only cold pressed olive oil and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. But in retrospect, a few spices might have been nice (salt, pepper, garlic powder, turmeric are possibilities). Then I added the chopped cucumbers. It is best to add heavy vegetables such as cucumbers, steamed cauliflower, or steamed brussel sprouts – something substantial that the rest of the salad can “sit” upon.
cucumbers chopped salad red onion
Then I sprinkled my chopped red onion. The bean salad went on top of that, followed by the kale and on top the romaine lettuce. I sprinkled some sunflower seeds and nuts on the top. I did have a hard boiled egg that I took on the side.

When you get to your destination, it is best to have a table or desk upon which to eat the salad. Be sure to take a fork! Turn the jar upside down so the dressing runs all over the lettuce. Put the salad on the plate, and enjoy. You may find this more than you can eat – it would be nice to share with a friend.

Comparison to a sandwich: it is much easier to eat a sandwich on the go. However, I much prefer the taste of this salad in a jar. And my body prefers it as well.

Long List of Ideas for Salad in a Jar

  • Lettuces: romaine, red leafy, green leafy, all kinds of leafy!
  • Greens: kale, spinach, watercress – it would be interesting to try some lightly cooked greens in the middle (you may not want it to touch the lettuces until serving time).
  • Hard boiled eggs (I stored mine separately)./li>
  • Hard cheese
  • Seeds – sunflower, pumpkin, chia seeds
  • Nuts – you may want to be careful about nuts because of the chocking hazard. Even an adult can choke – don’t move around when you eat.
  • Cucumbers
  • Beets – cooked, uncooked and sliced, fermented – but be aware you may end up with pink salad.
  • Turnips, Parsnips, chopped, shredded carrots
  • Cauliflower, brussel sprouts, broccoli – I would want them lightly-steamed
  • Chopped citrus fruits – oranges, grapefruit, clementine, tangerine
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Chopped apple or pear
  • Sweet, chopped onion: red or vidalia
  • Herbs: chopped basil, oregano, thyme, parsley, cilantro
  • Fermented foods: sauerkraut, fermented garlic or beets
  • Cooked beans
  • Zucchini, cooked or uncooked
  • Pasta
  • Cooked grains: rice, millet, quinoa (probably easiest if you have leftovers already)
  • Croutons
  • Chicken, chopped (or other meats)
  • Tuna
  • Pickles? – maybe put it in between layers of hard vegetables
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes

Supposedly, a salad in a jar will last in the refrigerator for a week, so one could possibly make several in advance, and bring on to work each day.

Your Ideas, Please

If you were going to make a salad in a jar, what would you include?

Hannah says

I love the idea of carrying a salad in a jar. I will be traveling next week and might try this. I wonder whether this can stand warmish weather.

Leora says

I put mine in a cooler with an ice pack. So as long as you don't have to shlep it far, that should hold it.

Susan Cooper says

I LOVE this recipe. The flexibility is fantastic and the opportunities for creativity a great. I will be working on my own version for sure. :-)))) Thanks for sharing. :-)

Leora says

Susan, so happy to hear! I'm glad I discovered this. I am often trying to find creative ways to eat the foods I like (and that agree with my digestion).

Debra Yearwood says

What a brilliant idea. I will admit I was skeptical when I first looked at this. Salad in a jar, how could that work? Then the critical bits came... dressing on the bottom and tip it upside down into a bowl. Now I think it's brilliant and want to go on a pic-nic. I've already pinned it.

Leora says

Yes, there's a reason for this method. If you have eaten soggy salad on a trip, you will appreciate the freshness of the salad in a jar. It can really be personalized - one version just had layers of fruit.

Ramblingwoods says

My daughter is always looking for healthy things to take for lunch.. I am going to send this to her...... Great idea... Michelle

Leora says

Oh, for someone who works a lot like your daughter this is perfect. You can prepare several in advance.

Lorri M. says

I really like this idea, the compactness, the varied ingredients one can use, the jar and how compact it can be.

Leora says

It really does pack in a lot, so you either have to be really hungry or share with a friend.


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