Whether you're looking for prep-ahead lunches to eat on the go or light dinners that are ready when you get home, these Mason Jar Salads are a perfect solution for busy schedules! Prepare a batch on Sunday and the fruits and veggies will stay fresh and crisp all week long!
Hey, friends! Do you get a great sense of satisfaction when you know that you have a refrigerator (or freezer) stocked with meals? It's the best way to start the week -- without worrying about whether or not I will have something healthy to eat in the coming days (and without wondering when I'll have time to make it)! In reality, when lunchtime rolls around, I'm usually rushed, starving, and just grabbing at the nearest leftovers I can get my hands on.
I know I'm not alone, because for years my mason jar salads have been some of the most popular recipes on my blog -- especially at this time of year when so many of us are craving lighter, healthier meals. Plus, you can't beat the efficiency! Layering ingredients in a jar is the most effective way to prepare a salad ahead of time and still keep everything fresh for days. This way you can spend just a few minutes on Sunday to make enough salads to get you through the entire week!
There are a few keys to enjoying a perfect mason jar salad, and once you get the hang of it the flavor options are endless! I'm sharing four new recipes with you today (one recipe for each week of the month), but you can also take the simple formula and create just about any concoction of your own! Here are my best tips:
- In order to prevent the lettuce and more delicate ingredients from getting soggy, be sure to place the dressing at the bottom of the jar. Then layer the meat or sturdy ingredients on top of the dressing, ending with the lettuce on top.
- Make sure that you pack the jar VERY tightly. Before closing the lid, you want to stuff it full of as much lettuce as you can possible squeeze into the top. And then...just when you think it can't hold any more...squeeze in just a little bit MORE lettuce. Trust me -- you will be surprised by how much you can fit in a jar, and the compact ingredients will prevent air from circulating (and will therefore keep your ingredients fresher for longer)!
- When it's time to eat the salad, grab a large plate or a giant bowl. You want to DUMP the ingredients out of the jar so that the lettuce comes out first and the dressing is on top. Then toss everything together and serve!
For this particular post, I created four different mason jar salads -- one for each week in the month. The idea is that you will prep a week's worth of salads on Sunday and then enjoy them for lunches (or easy dinners) throughout the rest of the week. Just when you're tired of eating the same thing, you can move on to the next week and an entirely different recipe!
Be sure to download the printable PDF recipe book for all 4 mason jar salads here:
Week 1: Southwestern Corn and Black Bean Salad
With a quick Salsa-Ranch dressing, this blend of corn, black beans, shredded cheddar cheese, sweet grape tomatoes, and crisp Romaine lettuce is a vegetarian entree that's tastes like your favorite restaurant lunch. For a heartier dinner, pair it with a quesadilla or some chips and salsa!
Week 2: Fruit and Nut Quinoa Salad
I love the combination of sweet and salty, and you just can't beat the variety of tastes and textures that you get from the juicy berries and crunchy almonds in this mason jar salad. The quinoa adds filling vegetarian protein for a light yet satisfying dish.
Remember! You can download your FREE recipe book with all 4 recipes here:
Week 3: Pesto Chicken Pasta Salad
Craving carbs? This flavor-packed pesto salad is a great way to enjoy pasta in a healthy and fresh way. You can use wholegrain pasta if you like, while the chicken offers even more protein for a satisfying mason jar salad!
Week 4: Asian Chicken and Rice Salad
This salad truly eats like a MEAL! Full of hearty ingredients like brown rice, chicken, and protein-packed edamame, this asian-inspired dish is filling and delicious. I also love the contrast between the sweet, juicy oranges and the crunchy, salted almonds. Plus, anything that's tossed in sesame ginger dressing is bound to be good!
Are you ready to make your lunchtime routine healthier, easier, and more affordable?! Be sure to download my FREE printable ebook to get all of the recipes for an entire month's worth of Mason Jar Salads!