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It's all the rage right now...mason jar salads. Many websites and books give information about how to build these convenient, nutritious salads. Mason jars come in different sizes, which means you can pack a large jar full of yummy nutrition. The prep time is the bummer, but the good news is you can pack four or five jars for the week and only prep once! If you are planning to eat the salads longer than two days, pack the dressing separately, otherwise you will add the dressing in the jar. If time is crunched, store bought dresssing will do, but it you have the time, making your own will save both money and calories. If watching calories, choose a vinegarette.
Mason jars are found in discount stores, hardware and some grocery stores. Choosing a plastic, reusable lid can also be purchased rather than using the lids and rings. This can further save you money in the long run. Once you have your jars and have decided how many salads you are packing for the week, it's time to get started.
It's all about the layers. Like I said, if the salads will be eaten within two days, start with the dressing in the bottom of the jar. Use about 2 tablespoons for a quart-sized jar and about 1 tablespoon for a pint sized jar.
The next layer should contain vegetables that are more resilient to being packed like onions, green peppers, carrots, cucumbers, snap peas, or consider fruites like grapes or apples (if using apples sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent browning).
Pack some protien in over top of the resilient veggies to get some staying power from your meal. Choose protein like hard boiled eggs, chicken breasts, canned tuna or salmon, black beans or chickpeas.
The greens come next. Try to pack the greens as tight as you can to keep the resilients and protein from moving around. Skp the iceberg lettuce and choose nutritious greens like kale, spinach, or chopped romaine.
Finish off the jar by adding your favorite toppings like bacon bits, nuts, seeds, dried or fresh berries, and sprouts. Croutons may absorb moisture, so you may want to pack those in a separate container.
Enjoy your salad by shaking it up and eating from the jar, or pour onto a plate. Remember to pack a fork!
health-bite: mason jars salads packed with nutrition
Here is a different twist on a summer salad that's not heavy in mayo and sugar. This recipe is from the Moosewood Restaurant, which is known to use fresh, local products in the town in which they reside, Ithaca, New York. The dressing in this particular salad is light with a nice mix of both sweet and tangy flavors. Colorful and fresh, it's sure to be a hit. This slaw is excellent beside a main dish that is rich and cheesy or paired with something spicy.
Confetti Kale Slaw
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 large firm apple, shredded (about 1-2 cups)
- 1 cup shredded green or red cabbage
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 cup minced celery
- 1/4 cup minced scallions
- 3 cups shredded kale, packed
- To make the dressing: whisk together the orange and lemon juice, vinegar, olive, oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
- Prepare the apple and vegetables and place them in the bowl as you go: peel or don't peel the apple but shred it with a large-holed hand grater. To prevent the apples from during brown, toss them well with the dressing. Thinly slice the cabbage and then cut across the slices about every inch. Peel the carrots and shred on the large-holed side of the hand grater. Mince the celery. Mince the scallions.
- To shred the kale: rinse the kale leaves and shake off excess water. Strip the leaves from the large stems and pile on a chopping board. Gather the kale into a compact mass and thinly slice it. Then cut down across the slices, chopping the kale into 1- to 2- inches. Add the shredded kale to the bowl and toss well.
- Delicious served right away, but the sweetness intensifies as it sits. This slaw will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Here is yet another quinoa recipe that can be served warm or cold. So if time is an issue, don't fret, no cooling time is required.
Quinoa and Garbanzo Bean Salad
- 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 cup water
- 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 3/4 cup broccoli, chopped
- 1 glove garlic, minced(may add more)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp dried tarragon
- 2 tsp prepared mustard
- 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Bring the quinoa and water to a boil, lower heat and simmer until liquid has evaporated, 15-20 minutes.
- While quinoa is cooking, chop broccoli and mince garlic. Place in a mixing bowl along with rinsed garbanzo beans. Add quinoa, lemon juice, tarragon, mustard, and olive oil. Stir until evenly mixed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
adapted from Allrecipes.com
This recipe has been a favorite in our house for a number of years. Quinoa is protein packed as well as a good source of fiber. As a vegetarian, this ancient grain is a staple in my pantry. Quinoa has a mild nutty flavor and can be easily added to soups for extra nutrition.
I usually will double the recipe so we have more to go around. It can be used to fill tortilla shells, as a meat substitute in a taco salad, or just eaten in a bowl!
Quinoa Black Bean Salad
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 1 1/2 cups water or vegetable broth
- 2 tsp olive oil
- juice of 4 limes
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp ground coriander
- 6-8 green onions
- 1 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
- 1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained (can use up to 3 cans)
- In a saucepan, bring the water or broth to a boil, add the quinoa, cover, and simmer on low heat, until all of the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 10 - 15 minutes. Allow to cool.
- In a large bowl, combine the oil, lime juice, cumin, and coriander. Stir in green onions, bell peppers, cilantro, corn, and black beans. Add the cooled quinoa, and combine thoroughly. Refrigerate until ready to use.