Easy mid-week lunches – salad jars

Salad jars have to be one of my favourite mid-week lunches, because they are so easy to prepare ahead of time and they keep everything crisp and fresh. For those who like to get organised for the week ahead, you can make a batch of 3-5 salads on a Sunday and just grab one on your way out the door each morning – talk about fuss-free! 

When it comes to salad combinations, just about anything goes with salad jars.There are no rules (aside from layering, which we’ll get to) you just need to get creative!

For my salads, I often re-use old cultured veggie jars with a wide mouth (see here) or you can buy mason jars like this which would work well too. I’ve found my salads keep fresh for 5-7 days.

How to make salad jars

Start by planning out what you’re having in your jars for the week ahead. Think about what vegetables you have in the fridge? What protein and carbs you will add? What dressing you’ll make?

I often keep my salad jars pretty simple – and my prep looks something like this….

First I’ll cook up some chicken breast in the oven (usually about 500g for the week), seasoning the chicken with salt, pepper, lemon and chilli flakes and then cooked in coconut oil. Next I’ll roast some vegetables in coconut oil – usually whatever is left in the fridge and about to turn…chopped carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato and zucchini. While the chicken and roasted veggies are cooking, I’ll drain and soak some chickpeas or cook up some quinoa or rice and chop the raw ingredients like tomato, cucumber, goats cheese/fetta etc…

With dressing, again keep things simple! I love lemon juice and olive oil  or apple cider vinegar with olive oil but you could always try something like a tahini and lemon juice, or seeded mustard with olive oil, lemon juice and a dash of honey!

Once everything is cooked, lay out all your ingredients across the bench like a production line including your jars, lids, chopped protein, cooked grains/carbohydrates, veggies and dressing.

Next it’s on to the layering…

assembling your salad jar

The trick to keeping your salad jars fresh is all in the layering technique! Stick to this as closely as you can and you’re guaranteed to have delicious, fresh salads!

Layer 1 (base of the jar)– salad dressing 
Layer 2 – Hard vegetables – things like carrot, celery, capsicum, red onion, cucumber
Layer 3 – A slow releasing carbohydrate like quinoa, chickpeas or brown rice
Layer 4 – Soft vegetables – things like avocado, tomato
Layer 5 – Protein layer – cooked chicken, boiled egg or cheese
Layer 6 (final layer) – Leafy greens – rocket, baby spinach or lettuce

Starting at the base with layer 1, fill each  of your jars and then move on to the next layer. Once you’ve filled your jars, seal the lids tightly and pop then into the fridge.

When you’re ready to eat, simply tip the contents of your salad jar into a big bowl! 

As I said earlier, get as creative as you like with your combinations. Don’t like chicken, substitute it for tuna. Hate eggs, leave them out! Paleo, no problems! roast up some sweet potato. My point is, salad jars are the perfect fuss-free mid-week lunch because they are SO versatile.

To get you started….here are three AMAZING salad jar recipes for you to try!

shrimp-feta-cobb-salad

Shrimp and Feta Cobb Salad via Savoring The Thyme

antipasto-mason-jar-salad

Antipasto Mason Jar Salad via Organize Yourself Skinny

greek-zucchini-salad

Greek Zucchini Salad in a Mason Jar via The Beachbody

Do you love salad jars too? I’d love to know your fav combos in the comments below!

As a health and wellbeing coach Penny works with busy time-poor working women who are struggling to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Through her work, Penny helps women make simple choices around healthy food, providing ‘fuss-free’ recipes, wellness tips and simple everyday practices; to increase their energy, lower their stress levels and fall in love with real food so they lead healthier, happier lives.

If you’re ready to start living a healthier and happier life, contact Penny through the contact page for your free 30-minute consultation.

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