Guest Post: Mason Jar Salads

I am so excited to have my friend, Dusti, share her knowledge of making these convienent, beautiful, and frugal salads! Dusti is always showing off her beautiful pictures of these salads and I’ve been intrigued by them. I shared one of her pictures on my Facebook page and everyone LOVED them. Lots of people had questions about them…how to store them, how to stack the salad, how long they last…so I asked Dusti if she could share her wisdom with us all!

Mason Jar Salads

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Thank you to my friend Jackie from “The Paleo Mama”  for allowing me to write a guest blog post for her! It’s my first ever guest post, so please ignore my lack of writing skills!

Like most families, we continue to battle the “convenience” monster that hits the house between 11-1pm for lunch and 5-6pm for dinner. Since we like to eat fresh, whole foods, we have to prepare our foods and not being prepared adds to frustration and poor eating choices of grabbing something…anything…too quickly.

Having a 4-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter can make prepping for meal times challenging. I work from home (i.e. working during naps when I could be prepping meals and after kids are in bed at night) with my photography business (Dusti Lynn Photography), my husband stays busy with full-time work as a firefighter for the City of Savannah,  a Crossfit coach, and he, also, started up a new business, as of six months ago, called  RetroFit Custom Design. We are very busy, but it’s so important to us to eat good, whole foods, so we try to find foods that we can prep all and at once, and foods that will last several days at a time.

One thing I continued to see over and over again on Pinterest was these meals in a jar – specifically “Mason Jar Salads“. We are always trying to increase our raw produce consumption and although we love salads, to stop and prep a salad each meal wasn’t working out too well.

So one week I decided to give it a go. I was skeptical of the freshness lasting beyond 1-2 days. I continued to read that they stay fresh for up to 5 days. I was very pleased to discover that on day 4 after making the salads, they were still very fresh!

It’s SUCH an easy way to add variety to your lunches while taking in a large quantity of raw produce.

The Basic “Rules” of Mason Jar Salads:

Rule One: Make sure your veggies are fresh – try to buy local, fresh from the ground produce to ensure your veggies aren’t a week old by the time you buy them at the grocery store

Rule Two: Dressing goes in first. Do not get it on the sides of the jar. Dressing does not need to touch the lettuce, spinach, greens, etc. It will wilt and make it yucky.

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Rule Three:  Try to put the veggies in the bottom on top of the dressing that would do well with marinating – onions, mushrooms, zucchini, squash, etc.
Rule Four:  Use the hearty veggies next to the greens to help buffer from the more moist veggies/fruits. Cherry tomatoes are excellent for this. Try not to use cut tomatoes unless they are at the bottom of the jar due to their higher water content!

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IMG_5723Rule Five:  For the dairy eaters – I do not choose to layer my cheese in the mason jars. Many recipes show that this is ok, but it’s a personal preference as I typically add stinky cheeses to mine and don’t want it in for a couple of days with the rest of my salad!

Rule Six: Store in the fridge until right before you are going to eat them.

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That’s it! Use your favorite salad recipe and layer accordingly! You can’t go wrong!

Here’s a typical prep day for me…

1. I clean my prep area and get my jars out and ready.
2. I rinse/drain any veggies/fruits to allow them plenty of drying/draining time while prepping the other produce.
3. I make my dressing(s). This usually happens every other week due to the fact I try to make enough at once to last through two-three prep days.

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4. I chop or grate all the produce and layer accordingly.

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5. Toast any nuts I plan to toss with my salad when it’s time to eat and store in a tightly sealed container.
6. Prep any animal protein we plan to eat with our salads in portion sized containers to make it easy when it comes time to enjoy.

I’ve compiled a few of my favorite recipes. But I’m serious – almost every single salad recipe you enjoy can be made this way. Just be sure to keep the dressing at the bottom along with any watery fruits/produce and the greens at the top. It’s seriously that simple. You can use store bought dressings or make your own. It really is amazing how versatile this can be.

Rosemary White Wine Vinaigrette 

CLICK HERE  for the Rosemary Dressing Recipe!

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Here is my absolute favorite mason jar salad recipe. With leftover grilled steak and a tiny bit of gorgonzola, it tastes more like a special treat than a super healthy-for-you meal!

– 2 tablespoons Rosemary White Wine dressing
– shredded carrot (I use around ½ cup)
– thinly sliced red onion – about ¼ cup
– well-drained mandarin oranges
– handful of blueberries
– arugula
– sometimes chia seeds are added on top of the mandarin oranges

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Here are some links to other salads I’ve loved…

Chunky Mediterranean Mason Jar Salad

Quinoa added Mason Jar Salads

Enjoy! And please make sure to ask any questions and share photos of your mason jar salads along with your favorite recipe to The Paleo Mama’s Facebook page!!

Please note: Products mentioned in this article have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products and information on this page are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This website is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a medical, psychological, or psychiatric problem, or a disability that requires medical attention, then you should consult your licensed medical doctor or appropriate health care provider. Always consult your medical doctor regarding your medical care. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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24 Responses to Guest Post: Mason Jar Salads

  1. Paul Mirek March 12, 2013 at 9:10 am #

    These look great! My family is going to start a garden this year (yay!), so this is a great idea for when those veggies are fresh from the garden. Thanks for sharing (Dusti & Jackie)!

    • Dusti March 13, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

      Thanks, Paul! Make sure to post a photo to The Paleo Mama’s FB page to share what you put together!!!

  2. Cari March 12, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    Great job Dusti!! Question……would you add avocado to the bottom or keep it separate till ready to eat? Also, do you eat the salad from the jar or dump it out to eat? Love this!!

    • The Paleo Mama March 12, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

      Dusti doesn’t put avocado in the jar when she preps the salads. She prefers to eat avocado fresh and cut the avocado at the time of eating. I’m sure you could probably add avocado but make sure you put lemon juice on it to keep it from turning brown. My guess would be to put the avocado near the bottom where the dressing is.

    • Dusti March 13, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

      Thank you, Jackie for answering about the avocado!
      I dump it out on a plate to eat – I shake it gently to get the dressing on the greens and then put it on a plate. Thanks!

  3. Liz March 12, 2013 at 11:13 am #

    I’ll be honest–I clicked on this because I thought, “Why would you put a salad in a mason jar?” But you sold me. I’m trying this out a.s.a.p. Thanks for sharing!

    • Dusti March 13, 2013 at 2:24 pm #

      Yay! Thanks! Be sure to share a photo or two of what salads you put together on The Paleo Mama’s Facebook page :)

  4. Mary March 12, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    Love this ! Great way to get my husband to eat better!

    • Dusti March 13, 2013 at 2:26 pm #

      Thanks! I’ve found that we all eat healthier if things are made for us to grab quickly and that are very appealing to the eye. These salads in a jar are definitely very pretty to look at when I open my fridge! Makes it easy to make a smart choice!

  5. Mary March 13, 2013 at 3:20 am #

    What size mason jars do you use?

  6. Bonnie March 25, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

    Do you “seal” the jars with a vaccuum sealer? Do you cut the lettuce with a knife or tear it? Thanks!!!

    • The Paleo Mama March 27, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

      No vacuum sealer is needed! Just cut the lettuce!

    • Dusti April 5, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

      I just tear the lettuce. I try to spin it in a salad spinner first to get as much water off as possible!

  7. Shauna March 28, 2013 at 11:42 pm #

    Love this idea! Dusti, your photographs are beautiful!

    • Dusti April 5, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

      Thank you, Shauna! Food photography is new to me – I’m used to chasing toddlers to photograph :)

  8. Eileen @ Phoenix Helix June 7, 2013 at 9:32 am #

    I love this idea! I shared it on Facebook.

  9. Jo July 1, 2013 at 11:41 am #

    This might seem like a silly question, but do you eat the salad out of the jar or do you have to put it into another container? I’m thinking abt doing this idea for a baby shower

    • The Paleo Mama July 2, 2013 at 8:31 am #

      When I take it on the go, I eat it right out of the jar. Just give it a shake and a stir!

  10. Kim November 18, 2013 at 10:07 am #

    Can you store of all the salad ingredients in the mason jar without any dressing? Would it stay fresh as long?

  11. Amy January 6, 2014 at 6:07 pm #

    This is SO brilliant. I love to have a salad every day for lunch, but it really is time-consuming to pull out all the veg and chop and chop and chop. But to do several days’ worth one evening and ta-daaa! Lunches ready for the week? Brilliant, I say, brilliant! Thank you!

  12. Esther June 28, 2014 at 9:19 pm #

    Thank you for the recipe, I used it on my Whole 30 blog! http://mekwhole30.blogspot.com/

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