Quick, grab your mason jars and salad ingredients and let’s make some make ahead salads together, shall we? Oh how I love salads. I’m committed to eating a big salad a day, usually at lunch and often a small one at dinner. Wouldn’t you eat a salad a day if you had one like this waiting in your fridge?
They are quite easy with the right equipment, tools and prepping. You can make them as expensive as you like or quite frugal using what you have on hand or purchasing in season.
Here are the Do’s and Don’ts too help you make a week’s worth of salads for school, work or at home:
- Search for recycled jars from Goodwill, thrift stores, garage sales, Craiglists or freecycle if you don’t have enough on hand (Wal-mart carries a one pience plastic screw on lid) if you don’t own rings and lids.
- Spread out all your ingredients in piles like a buffet setting in the correct order for assembly (see below) .
- Begin with 3-4 tablespoons healthy (homemade-checkout my recipes in the condiment section) dressing on the bottom
- Pack tightly, less air equals longer freshness
- Add salad ingredients that won’t absorb dressing. Think heavier stuff toward the bottom: black, lima, kidney, edamame, garbonzo beans, green peas, corns, snap peas, grape tomatoes, black or green olives, sliced beets
- Add chopped peppers, sliced radishes or chopped cucumbers, sliced zucchini or squash, sliced mushrooms, broccoli florets, chopped celery, shredded carrots, sliced berries, grapes, sliced kiwi, mandarin oranges
- Add couscous or quinoa, al dente whole wheat pasta for heartier salads next.
- Greens are next: Spinach, kale, red or green leaf lettuce, sprouts, purple cabbage, arugula, romaine
- Top off the salad with protein: chopped egg (try my World’s Easiest Boiled Eggs), grilled convenience chicken or boiled convenience chicken, cottage, feta, blue or shredded cheese, crumbled bacon, chopped turkey pepperoni
- Finish off with fun toppings, such as sliced almonds, chopped walnuts, sunflower seeds or dried fruit. Go easy on this since it’s extra calories and fat.
- Wiggle your salad out with a fork into a bowl or plate and toss with dressing when you are ready to eat.
- Use convenience prewashed, prechopped ingredients if you are trying to save money. It only adds extra cost, but it does save time if you’re in a hurry.
- Include avocado until you serve your salad. Add it when you are ready to eat.
- Put nuts in the middle or they will be soggy. Consider packing separately if you like them crunchy.
- Eat the same salad every week. Go for a variety to keep it interesting and delicious.
- Spend full price on ingredients; buy ingredients in season
- Make just 1 or 2 salads; make 7 to 10 salads or more if two people are eating salads every day. They will last 7 to 10 days.
- Skimp on protein in the salad or you will be hungry.
Now you’re ready to grab a salad and head out the door quickly! Have you made mason jar salads? What are your experiences, tips or tricks?
What are your favorite salad ingredients?
This is linked to Thrifty Thursday