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Mason Jar Salads

By Catherine Newman 

Makes 1 serving
Total carbohydrates: 10-20 grams per serving
Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes

This is the most perfectly portable lunch ever, and it’s pinterest-pretty and exciting to boot! Plus, you can make 2 or 3 at one time and eat them a few days in a row. I wish I could say you can just eat it out of the jar, but the truth is that you should start keeping a large-ish bowl at work – then when you dump the jar into the bowl, the dressing and marinated beans at the bottom will end up covering the whole salad with deliciousness.

Just be sure to layer the ingredients from the sturdier ones to the more fragile so that the dressing marinates the ones that take best to being marinated.

Start with a 1-quart jar, then layer these ingredients in more or less this order:

  • Perfect Vinaigrette, below (2-3 tablespoons)

  • ¼ cup canned beans or chickpeas

  • 2 cups torn or chopped lettuce, fragile greens (arugula, spinach), and fresh herbs

  • 1 ½ cups total other ingredients:

    • Vegetables, with those that take well to dressing closest to the bottom: slivered cabbage or kale, sliced fennel, carrots, cucumbers, celery, radishes, bell peppers, corn kernels, broccoli or cauliflower florets, green beans, snap peas, cut-up asparagus.

    • Fruit: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, sliced apples or pears, orange segments

    • Marinated things: artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, olives, beets

    • Protein: canned tuna, cooked chicken or steak, tofu (skip or store separately if you’re going to keep the salad longer than a day or two)

    • Cheese: Shaved parmesan, crumbled feta or blue cheese, grated cheddar, goat cheese

    • Seeds or nuts: Toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds, or walnuts, pecans, or almonds

Tip: If you happen to have one, or live with your grandma, a canning funnel is really helpful for filling the jar.

Perfect Vinaigrette

Makes 1 cup

Total carbohydrates: 0 grams
Hands-on time: 5 minutes
Total time: 5 minutes

This is a dead-simple salad dressing, but, weirdly, people ask me for the recipe all the time. It makes a lot, which is handy because it is so good and it keeps well. Simply shake together in a jar: 1 clove garlic, minced or put through a garlic press, 1/3 cup white-wine vinegar2/3 cup olive oil2 teaspoons kosher salt (or half as much table salt) and a grinding of black pepper. Store leftovers in the refrigerator more or less indefinitely.

About Catherine

Catherine loves to write about food and feeding people. In addition to her recipe and parenting blog Ben & Birdy (which has about 15,000 weekly readers), she edits the ChopChop series of mission-driven cooking magazines. This kids’ cooking magazine won the James Beard Publication of the Year award in 2013 – the first non-profit ever to win it – and a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. Last year they started the WIC version of the magazine for families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and are currently developing Seasoned, their senior version, commissioned by the AARP. They distribute over a million magazines annually, through paid subscriptions, doctor’s offices, schools, and hospitals. Their mission started with obesity as its explicit focus – and has shifted, over the years, to a more holistic one, with health and happiness at its core. That’s the same vibe Catherine brings to the diaTribe column.

[Photo Credit: Catherine Newman]

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