A mason jar salad sits on a teal-edged cutting board, surrounded by lettuce, olives, and cherry tomatoes.

There was a time in college where, every Friday for lunch, some of my very best girlfriends and I would head to a particular chain Italian restaurant and gorge ourselves on soup, salad, and breadsticks.

We’d sit there for hours talking about boys and our plans for the future. This Italian chopped salad reminds me of those wonderful lunches spent laughing with my friends! Just add some Tomato Basil Bisque and Garlic and Herb Breadsticks, and I’m suddenly transported back to 2004! 

What is a salad in a jar, and why should I make one?

Salads in a jar take all the hassle out of making salad, so you can pack in your veggies at lunchtime. Just layer all your salad components in a mason jar, screw on the lid, and stash in the fridge until you’re ready to eat! We have a comprehensive post with all the information you need to build a mason jar salad, if you want to know more.

Hold up, won’t my salad get all soggy and limp?

Not if you pack it in the right order! The key to keeping this Italian Chopped Salad in a Jar fresh and crisp is to keep the wet ingredients (the dressing, olives, and tomatoes!) separated from the greens. The cheese and pine nuts will form a sort of buffer to keep the greens dry. As long as you keep the jar upright until lunchtime, you should be good to go!

A hand holds a white-capped mason jar filled with an Italian chopped mason jar salad.

How do I make this Italian chopped salad when tomatoes aren’t in season?

Tomatoes can be pretty lackluster in the wintertime, but I have better luck buying cherry tomatoes in the off-season than I do with the big tomatoes. Something about those little beauties seems to keep them from succumbing to the winter mealiness that infects their bigger cousins. If you’re still struggling to find good off-season tomatoes, soft sundried tomatoes work beautifully in this salad as well!

Ingredients for Italian chopped salad arranged in individual bowls.

Where do I find the adorable little balls of fresh mozzarella?

Check the cheese section of your supermarket, and you’ll probably find pearl-sized fresh mozzarella. They make it easy to get a delicious piece of mozzarella in each bite! No luck tracking down the pearls? No worries. You can just cut regular fresh mozzarella into small bite-size pieces.

What’s the best salad dressing for this Italian chopped salad in a jar?

I like using my homemade Italian Dressing in this jar, but any store-bought Italian Dressing would also do the trick. For something a little different, using Balsamic Vinaigrette in this jar is also super delicious!

Glass bottle of homemade Italian salad dressing.

Can I leave the olives out of this salad?

Sure can! I think olives add a wonderful briney flavor to this salad, but if you’re olive-adverse, just leave them out. If you’re missing the salty flavor, chopped pepperoncini peppers might be a good substitution.

Components of an Italian chopped salad are layered in a glass mason jar.

How far in advance can I make this Italian chopped salad?

Because of the cheese, you’ll want to eat your Italian Chopped Salad in a Jar within 3-5 days. Leave the mozzarella out, and this salad will last up to a week in the fridge.

A mason jar salad sits on a teal-edged cutting board, surrounded by lettuce, olives, and cherry tomatoes.

Italian Chopped Salad in a Jar

Yield: 1 24-ounce jar
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

There is so much goodness in the bottom of this Italian Chopped Salad in a Jar—there isn't a whole bunch of room left for greens!


  • 1 wide-mouth pint and a half jar
  • 3 tablespoons Italian salad dressing
  • 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup pitted green olives
  • 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/3 cup pearl-size fresh mozzarella balls
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1-2 cups romaine lettuce


  1. Layer the salad ingredients in the order listed into the jar, packing in as many greens as you need to create a tight pack. Cover the jar, and place it in the fridge for up to 3-5 days (7 days if you leave out the mozzarella).
  2. To eat, dump the entire contents of the jar into a bowl, toss, and enjoy!


Depending on the age of your mozzarella, you might get more like 2-3 days out of a jar with cheese in it. To get a full week's worth of shelf-life, leave the cheese out of the jar and add it just before serving.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 24 ounces
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 626Total Fat: 53gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 36gCholesterol: 48mgSodium: 1501mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 9gSugar: 9gProtein: 22g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

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    1. Hi, April! We like to add chicken in right after the dressing so that it marinates in the dressing until lunch! But you can add it in with any of the veggies, as long as the cheese and pine nuts are the last ones in before the lettuce. That will keep your greens nice and crisp!