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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
If I want to add grilled chicken to this in what layer would I add it?pril
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!