This post is sponsored by Praise
I have always taken the time to make delicious and healthy lunches for my kids to take to school and husband to work, but when it comes to lunchtime for myself I typically make something quick and easy. However, lately I am taking a closer look at my diet and making it a priority that my lunch is nutritious and healthy.
I can easily get lost all morning in writing blog posts and look at the clock and it’s well past lunch time, this would be where an easy lunch snack would occur. So I have started to plan ahead and make myself some salads to have ready to eat.
Mason jar salads
Mason jar salads are just that a salad in a mason jar. I’m not sure who came up with this concept, but I think it’s genius. Storing the salad in a glass (mason) jar keeps it fresh for 5-7 days. Prepping your meal ahead of time can’t be easier than this. There is a special technique to the salad assembly to keep all the contents fresh. The vegetables and protein need to be layered in a particular way:
Layer 1 – Dressing – 1-2 tablespoons.
Layer 2 – Hard vegetables – carrot, celery, capsicum, red onion, cucumber
Layer 3 – Pasta, rice or quinoa
Layer 4 – Soft vegetables – avocado, tomato
Layer 5 – Protein – chicken, egg and cheese
Layer 6 – Salad greens – lettuce or baby spinach
Making these salads are really easy. A few tasks to do before assembly:
- Poach chicken. You could use a BBQ chicken, however poaching chicken is a healthier option and will save you money too.
- Cook pasta, following packet directions
- Boil eggs
- Wash vegetables
- Chop vegetables (optional) – you can chop up all the vegetables before assembly as I have done in the pictures below, however I did this for the purpose of showing you what I add. Typically I chop as I add into the jars. ie. cube cucumber, add to jars, grate carrot, add to jars, slice tomato, add to jar etc.
Here I have used Praise Deli Style Dressings, their delicious gourmet blend makes a simple salad burst with flavour, tasting just like the salads from the cafe, but made yourself at home! I make a few salads at once with a variety of dressings, so then each day I can have a different flavoured salad. By doing this I also use different vegetables to suit the dressing. I like a creamy dressing like the Avocado & Roasted Garlic or Creamy Roasted Garlic to accompany a pasta salad and find the vinaigrettes such as ‘Honey & Dijon Mustard, French or Balsamic & Roasted Garlic dresses a typical vegetable salad nicely. All Praise Deli Style dressings contain no artificial flavours. These dressing truly make the salad so much more flavoursome.
You can use what ever vegetables your heart (or taste buds) desire, just remember to follow the layer rules above. I don’t use precise measurements for the vegetables as this is really just an amount I know the family will eat. As an example though I typically put in approximately 6-8 cucumber cubes, 3 whole cherry tomatoes, 1-2 tablespoons of each hard vegetable and cheeses, 1 boiled egg and then fill the jar with salad greens.
I have never had any vegetables go soggy or brown (including avocado).
I add 1 1/2 tablespoons of dressing (you can add more if you wish) into clean mason jars.
I use 1L Mason Jars, these can be easily washed in the dishwasher. You can purchase these from Big W or any cheap store. Make sure the jar you choose has a wide mouth. This size jar is perfect serving size for most, depending on your appetite you could share one jar between two. I use the 440ml jars for my salads as I like a smaller serving.
Then add in the hard vegetables.
Add in pasta, rice or quinoa (optional).
Followed by protein of your choice.
Add your salad greens, place on the lid and your finished!
I can’t tell you enough how easy this was to put together and how tasty it will be when eating. You will be pleasantly satisfied and so pleased with yourself that you spent the time to pre make your lunch.
When you are ready to eat you can vigorously shake the contents to distribute the dressing through out, or pour into a bowl. As the dressing is the first ingredient into the jar it’s the last ingredient out and dresses the top of your salad nicely.
Tip: If you’re transporting the salad to work make sure you keep the jar upright as you want the dressing to stay at the bottom to prevent any sogginess.
Mason Jar Salad Recipes
I make this Creamy Roasted Garlic Mason Jar Salad for my kids, they have karate training really late in the evening now, it’s too early for dinner so they usually have a salad before they go to class.
This is my favourite flavour combination, I love avocado and garlic, having this drizzled over the chicken, egg and rest of the salad is so satisfying.