It can be really tricky to pack a lunch salad ahead of time. By the time lunch rolls around, it might not taste fresh anymore and vegetables can lose their crispness. Then there’s the issue of dressing. If you add the dressing too early, the lettuces can get soggy. But taking a container of dressing can be bulky. A mason jar salad is the perfect make-ahead solution to your lunchtime salad dilemma.
A mason jar salad is built in layers. Dressing on the bottom, vegetables in the middle followed by protein, then lettuce on top.
So now that you understand what it is, here are some tips to making your perfect mason jar salad.
- What size mason jar should I use?
The wide-mouth quart size (4 cup) mason jars work best for a large salad. If you wanted a smaller salad, the next size down would be a pint-size jar (2 cups). Whichever size you use, be sure to choose the wide-mouth type as they are much easier to fill up and dump out the ingredients.
- Where do I buy mason jars?
Mason jars have become more popular lately, so it is easier to find them at regular grocery stores. You may also find them online. Craft stores may even have them.
- Why do you use mason jars and not plastic containers?
Technically, both plastic or glass jars could be used, but several recipe sites prefer mason jars. They state that a glass mason jar keeps the salad fresher for much longer; it could be that you get a better seal with a mason jar than with a plastic container so that helps to keep food fresh longer.
- Doesn’t the lettuce get soggy?
The key to non-soggy lettuce is to layer ingredients correctly, keeping the dressing and lettuce away from each other. Each layer acts as a barricade between the dressing and lettuce. It is typical to use vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and onions near the dressing. Basically, these vegetables end up pickling in the dressing so any vegetable that you think would taste good pickled would be fine in the barricade layer.
- What is the best way to layer a salad?
- Start with the dressing.
- Next should be vegetables that hold up well to the dressing (e.g., tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, celery, carrots, peppers, etc.)
- Softer veggies or ones you might not want to marinate in the dressing come next (e.g., mushrooms, zucchini, sprouts, beans, corn, avocado, etc.)
- If used, the pasta or grains would be the next layer.
- The protein layer (e.g. meat, eggs, or cheese) usually comes next.
- The last layer should always be the lettuce, but you could add nuts or seeds in this layer too.
- How long do mason jar salads last?
Most people make these salads to eat during the week for work, so it is usually recommended to eat them within five days. However, depending on the ingredients, mason jar salads can last five to seven days in the refrigerator.
- How do I keep the avocado from turning brown?
Squirt either lime or lemon juice on the avocado before layering it into the mason jar. Mason jars do a good job of keeping air out, which also helps to keep the avocado fresh.
- How do you eat the mason jar salads? Do you eat them straight from the jar?
You can shake the salads then dump into another bowl. Most people find them too awkward to eat right from the jar.
– Beaumont Weight Control Center. Did you know that the center offers cooking classes to kids in the community? View a list of upcoming classes here.