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Salad-In-A-Jar 101: How to Make Mason Jar Salads + 4 Fool-Proof Salad in a Jar Recipes

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Fool-Proof Salad in a Jar RecipesSalad in a Jar 101

A few weeks ago, when I posted about my weekly food prep routine, I briefly mentioned that I like to make salads-in-a-jar each week. Apparently, you all are super interested in my jarred salads because I got so many comments and emails requesting more info!

Now, let me note, I am in no-shape-way-or-from the originator of this idea. I’ve seen it pinned from numerous sources in the holy land of Pinterest. I’m creative, but not nearly clever enough to come up with this one on my own. But I am smart enough to know a great idea when I see it and latch onto it! If any of you happen to know who the original genius behind these salad jars is, let me know, because I’d love to bow down to them give them the credit they deserve.

Woman in a teal shirt using a Sharpie to label a glass jar filled with salad in a jar.

I have four of my favorite combos to share with you guys today, but before I get to those recipes, I thought maybe I’d give you a quick primer on the things I’ve learned in my jar-making experience:

  • Most important rule: dressing at the bottom, greens at the top. Keep them as far away from one another as possible. If you do that, your greens will stay crispy and fresh, no problem.
  • Use the resting time to your advantage. Place items that’ll soak up and marinade in the dressing as the next layer for the best salad flavor. Cooked grains, tofu, meats, mushrooms—anything that is spongy and will suck up that yumminess as the jar sits in the fridge.
  • To make the salads a little more hearty and filling, try adding a protein like chicken, quinoa, beans or cubed tofu.
  • We’ve had these salads last as long as 10 days in the fridge without getting soggy, yucky or anything but delicious. We haven’t tried going longer than that because they are so yummy, they don’t last long in our house!
  • Really jam-pack the jars full. Not only does this give you the most veggies for your space, but it also helps keep things from shifting and moving around (which is particularly helpful if you are packing a jar in a lunch and it happens to tip over on its side). I shove so many greens in that I have to hold them down with one hand while I place the lid on with the other. It should be like a lettuce jack-in-the-box when you open that jar!Eight glass mason jars stacked, half with salads, and half with soups on a gray background
  • We use pint-sized canning jars and they end up making a nice-sized side salad—a pint mason jar full of soup and a pint mason jar full of salad would make for a perfect-sized, easy-to-pack workplace lunch (plus, you can just take the lid off the soup and microwave it right in the jar). If you want to go for a big, entree-sized salad, use quart-sized jars.
  • I try to keep the ratio of each jar about half-and-half—half toppings, dressing, grains, proteins and half greens.
  • There are two ways to eat these guys. You can either dump it all into a bowl—the dressing and toppings fall just beautifully over the greens when you dump—or, if you’re short a bowl, you can eat it directly out of the jar. Because they are so full, you might have to eat off a layer or two of greens, then replace the lid, shake the heck out of it to distribute the dressing, and then dig right in with a fork. It makes a super easy grab-and-go snack. I’ve been known to toss a salad jar in my purse when I go grocery shopping. What? Is that weird? Normal people don’t carry salads in their purses?

Here is a video that shows you all the tricks of the trade:

Four glass canning jars filled with salads stacked against gray background

Salad in a Jar Recipes

Below you’ll find four of my favorite combos, but it should be said that I’m much more apt to “freestyle” my salad jars each week. I mostly use whatever we have leftover in the fridge—it’s a great way to use up that 1/2 cup leftover quinoa from dinner three nights ago. They key is finding dressings that you really, really love, because that dressing will flavor everything in that jar. Experiment and figure out what works for you and your family.

Onto the combos…

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Strawberry-Lime Vinaigrette

strawberry spinach salad

This is one of my absolute favorite salads—in a jar or out. The sweet strawberries are a beautiful pairing with the creamy and tangy feta. I mixed up a super quick and easy strawberry-lime vinaigrette to flavor the whole thing. I used protein-packed quinoa and crunchy sunflower seeds, but you could easily sub in your favorite grain and seed.

salad jar ingredients

To make this salad, in the jar, put items in this order:

  • Strawberry-Lime Vinaigrette (see recipe below—I use about two tablespoons of dressing per pint-sized jar)
  • Cooked Quinoa
  • Sliced Strawberries
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Sliced Green Onions
  • Crumbled Feta
  • Baby Spinach

Depending on how juicy your strawberries are, you might want to put them down lower in the jar (before the quinoa) to keep them even further away from the spinach.

Strawberry-Lime Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons strawberry preserves
  • 1 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Close and shake until emulsified. Makes about four tablespoons of dressing (enough for two-pint-sized jars).

Mexican Chickpea Salad with Chile-Lime Dressing

mexican chickpea salad in a jar

Oh man, this one is so flavorful and delicious! The salsa really makes this salad shine, so make sure to use something you love. I really like the texture of chickpeas in this salad (and they hold up really well to the dressing) but you could easily sub in black beans, kidney beans or lentils and get the same kind of nutrition and flavor profile.

mexican chickpea salad jar ingredients

To make this salad, in the jar, put items in this order:

  • Chile-Lime Dressing (see recipe below—I use about two tablespoons of dressing per pint-sized jar)
  • Cooked Brown Rice
  • Cooked Chickpeas
  • Salsa
  • Red Onions
  • Halved Grape Tomatoes
  • Chopped Cilantro
  • Chopped Romaine

Because of the tomatoes and salsa, this salad is a bit “wetter” than others and care should be taken not to tip it or turn it to avoid the romaine getting soggy.

Chile-Lime Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried ground cumin
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Close and shake until emulsified. Makes about four tablespoons of dressing (enough for two-pint-sized jars).

Tofu Living Salad with Sesame-Lemon Dressing

living salad in a jar

You’ve seen the big version of this salad posted here before, but with a few tweaks and additions, it makes an awesome salad-in-a-jar. The flavors of this salad (and specifically, the dressing) are definite favorites in our house. Yum!

living salad ingredients

To make this salad, in the jar, put items in this order:

  • Sesame-Lemon Dressing  (see recipe below—I use about two tablespoons of dressing per pint-sized jar)
  • Drained, Pressed and Cubed Extra Firm Tofu
  • Sliced Red Bell Pepper
  • Chopped Cucumbers
  • Sprouted Lentils
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Chopped Parsley
  • Chopped Romaine

Small cubes of firm tofu act like little protein-packed sponges soaking up all the dressing goodness. Not into tofu? No problem. Shelled edamame would work great as a replacement.

Sesame-Lemon Dressing

  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Close and shake until emulsified. Makes about four tablespoons of dressing (enough for two-pint-sized jars).

Sunshine Salad with Orange Marmalade Vinaigrette

sunshine salad jar
The original Sunshine Salad recipe is one I made for my friends over at Anytime Fitness, and I loved it so much that I decided to turn it into a salad-in-a-jar for everyday eating.

sunshine salad jar ingredients

To make this salad, in the jar, put items in this order:

  • Orange Marmalade Vinaigrette (see recipe below—I use about two tablespoons of dressing per pint-sized jar)
  • Cooked Quinoa
  • Clementine Wedges
  • Sliced Red Onions
  • Sprouted Lentils
  • Pine Nuts
  • Chopped Romaine
  • Baby Spinach

I use fresh clementine wedges, because I always seem to have them kicking around, but you can just as easily use canned mandarin slices—just make sure to drain them well before adding to the jar.

Orange-Marmalade Vinaigrette

  • 2 teaspoons orange marmalade
  • 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Close and shake until emulsified. Makes about four tablespoons of dressing (enough for two-pint-sized jars).

Updated: Here are four more combos that I love:

Like I said, these are just some of millions of possibilities! Let your imagination run wild. Just as long as you keep the wet layers away from the greens, your creation should be incredible! This might even be a fun way to get kids excited about eating their veggies. You can use smaller-sized jars (like jelly jars), set up a salad jar bar, and then let them assemble their own delicious, nutrient-packed creations.

Happy jar-making!

Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wholefully. She's a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. She lives on a small hobby farm in Southern Indiana with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and 15 chickens.

Leave a Reply

201 Responses
  1. Leesa

    When I first saw your picture of a salad-in-a-jar I also thought, “Oh my gosh, that’s the best idea EVER!” And have been making them since. I get Food Network’s magazine, and last month’s tear-out 50-recipes-of-something was for dressings, so I’ve been trying a different one each week. But I think I’ll be trying a few of yours as well…

    Anyway, THANKS for posting about these. I’ve so far managed to avoid succumbing to Pinterest, so hadn’t seen it before.

  2. I don’t jar salads, but ever since reading about the concept I reinvented how I pack my salads to go for work. Keeping the moist ingredients at the bottom is definitely the way to go.

    I think I’m going to have to try that chickpea salad – yum!

    1. Laurie

      The idea is not to eat the salad out of the jar but use jars to store the greens/veggies and keep them longer. Try making and storing the salads in jars then mixing them in your to-go container for that day’s lunch.

  3. Carrie

    awesome, awesome post. i loved your food prep post and just got jars over the weekend and lettuce today so i’m ready to make my own yummy salads! i’ve got brown rice, white beans, feta, and red onions on hand so that’s what’s going in my jars along with some romaine and balsamic dressing this week.

  4. Carolanne

    What an amazing idea! I am definitely going to start doing this and thank you SO much for the salad suggestions, they all look delicious! Can’t wait to try them :))

  5. Shannan

    Thank you so much for these recipes. They all sound wonderful. Just found your website and I could hours. Plus love your photography. What type of camera do you use if you don’t mind me asking. Thanks.

  6. Love anything in a jar. I have been hoarding ones of all sizes for everything – salads, dressings, soups, overnight oats. For some reason things just taste better when in a jar. I have been trying to get my friends who are getting married to have jar related give-aways at their weddings. Mini pie in a jar, succulents in a jar, ingredients for cookies in a jar, cheesecake in a jar, the list goes on and on…..

  7. Adriana

    I once read a Salad-In-A-Jar tutorial that vacuumed out the air of the jar (or something like that. It’s been awhile). According to them, this was what kept the veggies fresh. Is this not necessary if you’re not using veggies/fruits that don’t oxidize? Like, if you used avocado or apple, they’d most likely turn brown, right?

    Have you ever tried using avocado or hummus in place of dressing in these salads? I’m not the biggest fan of dressing unless they’re the “bad” ones (bleu cheese, honey mustard, ranch; all store-bought ‘cuz I’m lazy), so I’d prefer to avoid them. I love avocado in my salads, but I’m worried it might oxidize. Thoughts?

    1. Cassie

      I try to avoid veggies that oxidize (like, usually, my Living Salad has avocado in it, but it would definitely get brown and yucky in the jars). And I don’t vacuum and have no problems with the veggies staying fresh. 🙂 I think hummus would work fine as dressing, just as long as you keep it at the bottom.

    2. Rochelle

      You might try an avacado dressing to get the both of both worlds. Puréed avacado with lime juice (to keep it from turning brown), pinch of salt, minced shallots, fresh herbs, and just enough water so it is the consultancy you like.

  8. zoe

    Yay! Thank you SO MUCH for posting these food prep posts. For someone who didn’t grow up in a house that ate anything fresh, little tips on how to prep seriously help. (Speaking of which, do you wash all the lettuce you’ll need for the week? How do you keep it fresh and not sad, soggy and wilted?)

    These salads look awesome! Next’s week’s lunch plan for sure!

      1. zoe

        But how do you store it? Do you cover it with plastic or wrap it in a towel? Covered in a bowl?
        Do you put paper towels in the bowl to continually soak up water? How long does it typically last?

        Also, wow. I kind of feel like a moron for not knowing this. :\

      2. Cassie

        I just store it in the jars. If I have any extra leftover, I just make sure it’s really dry with my salad spinner and put it in a Pyrex container or Ziploc bag. And it’ll last 7-10 days before it starts to get a little rusty, and even then, I can just toss out those pieces.

  9. I’ve seen theses ALL over the place lately but haven’t tried making my own just yet since I tend to go all out when it comes to salads and I figure I’ll run out of room…wonder if they make 1/2 gallon Mason jars?!

    Love all the ideas! And I’ve really wanted to try making some new homemade salad dressings as I’m getting bored with the combos I’ve been using! That sesame lemon one is calling my name!

    1. Cathryn In answer to the 1/2 gal jar: Yes Ball and Mason both make 1/2 gal jars, also gallon (for pickles or tomato sauce, I think0 and the whopper of a 2gallon but I have no clue what a home canner might put in one of those bad-gals. Howeve, only the 1/2 and 1 gallon sizes are readily available for purchase through canning supply stores.

  10. Dani

    I have a jar suggestion! Get your hands on some wide mouth pint jars. They are a little harder to find but SO DAMN WORTH IT. Since they have straight sides they are freezer friendly as well. And the wide mouth makes getting things on and out of them a breeze.

    If you have an ACE hardware out there (not sure if that’s an east coast only place) they will special order jars for you at no extra cost. I had them do this for my wedding. We did pies in wide mouth half pint jars for favors/name cards for place settings.

  11. Sophia

    OMG! Love this. I’m on my way to BB&B right now to buy my jars.
    On the way back I’ll stop at Aldis to get food and dressing stuff.
    This is not only healthy but fun! fun! and I need fun to do this whole
    “eat healthy-weight loss thing”
    Can’t wait to share this with my friends and family!
    Please keep it coming.


  12. Rachel

    I made two of these last night, not using one of your specific recipes, but following the overall guidelines. One I ate for lunch today and I’m saving the second for tomorrow. Delicious! And easy. Reading your post reminded me that I’ve wanted to try to make salad-in-a-jar for a while, and now I finally have! Thanks. 🙂

  13. I first saw these over at Happy Healthy Life

    I don’t think she was the first person to post them, but she has some amazing recipes! I love the idea, but I feel like I’d have to dump the salad out to eat it, which sort of defeats the purpose of carrying it to work in a jar. Still puzzling over that. Maybe I should keep a big salad bowl at work.

    Anyway, as usual your photos are a-freakin-mazing! so inspiring!

    1. Rochelle

      I think it’s really a two part great idea, that only one part may work for you. The first one is doing all the prep work in advance by making several salads at once that store super well in jars in the fridge. The second part is the ease of grabbing the jar and going. This part may not be so great for you, but grabbing a salad jar made with no dressing, dumping it in the container you like, grab the dressing like you have been, and then going might tweak it enough for you.

  14. Amy

    Last weekend I did my first ever food prep & boy am I ever loving it! This post came at just the right time for my next prep! Thank you soooo much! I can’t wait to make these recipes!

  15. Julia

    This post is so motivating and helpful, thank you! I’ve just started reading your blog a few weeks ago and it has quickly become one of my favourites. Love your photos too. 🙂

  16. You have a way with words — your lettuce jack-in-the-box comment made me laugh aloud! (I think I startled the dog…) Your jarred salads look really yummy and healthy!

  17. Karen

    LOVE making salad jars, usually 10 or 12 at a time, quart size, which Hubby and I eat for lunch and dinner all week. I always lose weight when we have jar salads! We juice an apple and an orange and use that mixture for a light dressing in the bottom. And seasoned tortilla strips right on top for a little surprise kick. Great blog on jar salads!!

  18. Anne

    Yay! Great call @BitchinKitchen ! I love this – going to start making for my husbands lunch (maybe then he’ll actually eat what the Dr. ordered!)

  19. Fabio

    Hello, This was such a great idea! I had a party with friends and I tried to surprise them with Strawberry spinach salad. It was so good and everyone appreciated this salad (and its presentation)!

  20. Laurie

    Thanks for so many suggestions of combinations! These are a much better alternative to bagged salad mixes these days. Wash your produce carefully, create salads in jars and they will keep for days! Fresh, good — and healthy in every way.

  21. Sue

    When I first saw this post, I thought why would you put salad in a jar, but as I began to read your recipes I began to see what a great idea this is. Most of the time I buy all the makings for a salad but never do so, to lazy at the time to make it, and a lot of my lettuce and greens get chucked out because they have turned bad. If I had pre made soup and salads in the frig I would be more apt to eat them daily, hence a better diet. My husband is a truck driver and this could possibly work for him also, to pack and go. I will give them a try, after all what have I got to lose, a cheaper and healthier life style. Good tip for weight watchers.

  22. Dena

    So, it MUST be a sign. Was looking for ways to “start” eating healthy and lose these 50lbs I’ve put on after having 3 kids (who are ALL in high school sad to admit), and the date of this post is my BIRTHDAY. So it’s a sign. I will make salad in a jar THIS WEEK. Thank you so much!

  23. Meryl

    HMM. Seems like a great idea, except for the part about keeping it for 10 days – particularly if there is animal protein. 10-day old chicken (or fish or beef)? A recipe for illness, i believe.

    Otherwise – awesome.

  24. Lesia

    This is the best salad-in-a-jar website I have come across so far. Normally they say this is what’s in it and that’s all. Your step-by-step instructions AND RECIPES make me feel like this is something I will actually try! Thank you!!

  25. Irene Abramyk

    HELP…..I make a lot of homemade soup & was thinking about putting the soup in Jars how long do you think it could last or could you frezz soup in jars with out the jars breaking

    1. Cassie

      How long they’ll last in jars depends on the soup (soups with meat—less time, veggie soups—longer). And you can definitely freezer them in jars, just make sure to only fill the jars 2/3 full to allow space to expand (or you’ll have exploded jars).

  26. Lydia

    only trouble with this is… some ingredients such as rice, cous cous, cooked grain should never be kept longer than overnight, 2days absolute tops as they breed bacteria really quickly and, once cut, fruit and vegs loose their nutritional value fast. So, whist tasting yummy and filling you up they are not doing much more for you than just that!

    1. Cassie

      Hi Lydia! Thanks for your suggestions, but in my experience and education both of those issues aren’t 100% true.

      Per my food safety certification, many grains, just as long as they are cooked properly and cooled to the correct temperature and within the correct amount of time and stored at the correct temperature can last upwards of a week—especially in the home kitchen—depending on the grain. The issue with bacteria comes because grains tend to cool un-uniformly and folks tend to just make a big pot and stash it in the fridge. If you cool it properly and store it properly, you should have no issues. But as with all food safety issues, it’s up to personal preference. If you aren’t comfortable adding grains to your jars, don’t.

      As for the fruits and vegetables losing nutritional value when cut, this myth has been discussed many times on this blog and has been busted by numerous registered dietitians and food scientists. The basis of the idea—fruits and veggies lose nutritional value over time—is 100% correct. They begin leeching their nutritents the second they are cut from the field, but cutting them into smaller pieces does little to speed up that leeching. The largest study on this issue stated that the average was 5% increased nutrient loss over 6 days—more in certain fruits, but never over 25% and less when stored at the proper temperature. Of course, your best bet, nutritionally, is to grow your own garden and only harvest what you’re going to eat right before you eat it. But that isn’t realistic for a lot of people. And beyond that, it’s a behavioral issue. These jars are meant to allow folks to have a quick and easy way to access healthy foods they might not have time to prepare otherwise. So if your choice is between eating a pre-made salad in a jar that is maybe 5%-25% less nutritionally valuable that it would be if fresh and between heading out to the local fast food joint for lunch because you don’t have time to make a salad in the office—in my book, the salad wins every time.

      1. Megan Boschman, RD

        Cassie, I almost clapped reading your response. You just really GET IT, you know? 😉

        Thanks for providing an evidence-based response that shows you clearly consider where most people are coming from. As a dietitian, I get tired of the perfect-or-nothing mentality. We all make food choices that are bad, better, and best depending on our circumstances, time, budget, etc.

        ‘Better’ (eg. store-bought produce vs. organic garden veggies) is what is realistic for most of us, most of the time. And that’s OK! 🙂 I think aiming for perfection causes a lot of people to quit before they even start.

    2. Laura

      Love the idea with Will definitely try it with cousin! I juice every week and store it mason jars and preserves well. My question: are those big mouth mason jars 16 or 32 ounces?

  27. Denise

    I recently retired, so I eat lunch at home now. However, your great ideas will certainly be appreciated by my daughter. I will send her the link. I am positive she will try all of your salads: she loves to eat healthy !
    Thanks on her behalf ( I will try your salads in a plate at home) 🙂

  28. Natasha-Jade

    Hi Cassie,

    This awesome post brought me to your page, which I love.

    However, I recommend you amend the sign up bar; after filling in the captcha, I can ‘close window’ but then I’ve left your page [and that’s obviously not ideal]. You need to hyperlink that it opens in a new tab / window so that your webpage is still open once registration is complete.

    Otherwise, I’m loving it!

  29. betsy

    Making a week’s worth of salad with meat or chicken, I would be concerned about how long the meat/chicken would stay good. Thoughts?

    1. Cassie

      Just as long as it is cooked fresh (not chicken from last Tuesday’s dinner) and properly cooled and remains cooled, I’ve never had any issues with meats lasting a week. But food safety is all about what you feel comfortable with!

      1. Cassie

        The key is bringing them down to cold temperature very quickly. Most food safety experts recommend a shallow pan filled with ice and water, and then another shallow pan that nests inside with a thin layer of the food that needs to be cooled.

  30. Lynne Burgess

    Thanks so much for this fantastic idea… can’t wait to try it! I grow all my own fruits and veggies so will make my jars up on Monday morning! 🙂

  31. Kathie

    Sounds fabulous- I’m on my own now and struggle with not wasting food and making meals for one person at times. I’m going to try these. Thanks 🙂

  32. Peter Middleton

    How long does the salad last. I noted that you are making up 6 at a time. Does the dressing help to preserve the lettuce?

    1. Cassie

      I’ve had the salads last no problem for a week. Nope, the lettuce stays preserved because it stays dry at the top of the jar.

      1. Juniper

        Perfect, Thanks! I was on my phone last night and it didn’t come through right. I see it now. These look super yummy, can’t wait to try!

  33. Cassie, someone tweeted this recently and I got it here in Melbourne, Australia. I haven’t yet tried the salad-in-a-jar combos but they look and sound delicious-tastic! There may not be such a word but they sure do look tasty and the fact, they can be taken to work for a cheap healthy feed, I think that equals fantastic. Great stuff. Cheers, Waz from Oz =)

    1. Cassie

      We don’t use plastic to store food in our house, so I’ve never tried it with one. But I don’t see why it wouldn’t work, just as long as it has a tight-fitting lid.

      1. Cassie

        I prefer glass because it doesn’t hold flavors or stains, plus it’s much more sturdy for me. I also just try to avoid plastic in my house as much as possible. I much prefer glass or steel!

  34. This is brilliant, i think one of the best posts Ive ever seen. You may not have started the idea, but you made it amazing with those yummy recipes, and perfect and understandable layout. High Five!

  35. Savana Rose

    Absolutely genius! Love this idea – will definitely try it! Thank you and thanks for all the health tips in the Q&A section.

  36. Connie

    Could you tell me how to make your salad dressings? I love salads and eat them for lunch and dinner. I love this idea of having so many different choices each day.
    Thanks so much!

  37. Cassie,
    I read that you don’t store food in plastic, BUT did you know that there are now plastic lids for those canning jars? You can buy a box of the lids at WalMart or your local hardware store that also sells canning equipment (there are “generic” ones that are cheaper than the name brands). I use plastic lids now on items stored in mason jars in the freezer, or when I put homemade salad dressing in a jar for the fridge. They’re easy to clean and don’t rust like the old rings and lids. Incidentally, this is a GREAT idea!!!

  38. Domina Elle

    Really cool!! I’ve been looking for interesting healthy options and even though I’m not a salad person normally, these look really YUMMY. great site! I wish you the best with it. Shared!

  39. Caitlin

    Mmm. Thanks. I have been making mason jar salads for all my work lunches for a few weeks now and love it (to my surprise as I’ve never been a big salad person). I can’t wait to try these for some variety. I made a very tasty buffalo chicken salad this week starting with skinnytaste’s crock pot buffalo chicken. I used some for quesadillas for dinner (bonus!) and portioned the rest into my favorite salad yet with blue cheese, yogurt ranch dressing, shredded carrots, onions and lettuce. I may end up making another batch next week cause I loved it so, but your strawberry salad will be the other (I usually do two varieties for the whole week). Can’t wait!

  40. Alissa

    I just made the Sunshine Salad (with a few changes for what I had in the cupboard, and I had to use imported mandarins since they’re not in season in Australia and the only other option was tinned in Asia…I prefer fresh from US LOL), they look so pretty in their jars! I had 1 1/2 bags of spinach leaves, made 6 pint jars and one bowl for now, and didn’t have enough greens, you really can fit a LOT in! For now I’ve put a folded paper towel in the top till I get back from the shops again. Oh my, this salad is delicious! I’m lucky enough to eat lunch at home, but by the time I get to lunch I’m so hungry and impatient I tend to make bad decisions. I plan on making these salad jars, then cooking extra protein from the night before on the day to mix it up a bit. Thanks so much!

  41. Dawn

    Hi Cassie,
    This is a great idea!! I was thinking about what I could use to protect the jars from breaking when they are in my hubby’s lunch box. Do you have any ideas?

    1. Cassie

      Honestly, Mason jars are pretty darn resilient. I’ve carried them lunch boxes for years without any chips or breaks. And I’ve dropped them off high shelves without issues. But just to be safe, you could wrap it up in a thick cloth napkin.

  42. Chris

    When you wash your greens how do you get them dry? I realize they keep longer if they’re dried but I don’t have a salad spinner. I patted as much water off as possible but they are still damp.

  43. Rachelle

    Hey Cassie,
    Sorry if I missed this somewhere on your site, but when you use Mason Jars for making up a bunch of salads or breakfasts, do you seal the jars?


      1. Rachelle

        I was thinking of vacuum sealing. There are some sites that suggest using a wide mouth jar attachment that fits over the lid (before you screw the ring on) and then use a food saver/seal-a-meal vacuum (or a hand held one from ziploc) to suction the air out.

        Thanks again!

      2. Cassie

        Nope! I don’t do that. But I figure if you have one of those attachments, it might make the salad last longer? Maybe? It’s worth a shot if you have one!

      3. Lynette

        We use the attachment for the vacuum sealer and it does wonders! The husband forgot a salad at work before vacation a couple years ago, and we came back 14 days later….still crispy lettuce!!

    1. Cassie

      Sure can. It’ll result in slightly different tastes, but not a huge amount. I’m a big fan of either unfiltered apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar for salad dressings.

  44. I love your take on these! I’m gonna make some for me and the hubs. What I REALLY love is the small amount your dressing recipes make…just enough for two salads. Shake them up in a small glass jar, then divide them in half. Yum!

  45. Laura

    okay… I am inspired. I work and my 3 kids are home during the summer. They are old enough to take care of themselves but if it’s easier to eat a box of crackers than make a salad… they will. So, my plan is to take your recipes and have the kids make them with me on Sunday for our lunches during the week. I’ll take mine to work, and they can enjoy a healthy labor free lunch at home. I’ll chime in and let you know how it works out. But if you have any thoughts on kid’s jarred lunches, please let me know.

  46. This is FANTASTIC! I’ve seen this idea before but the way you have this laid out and the pictures looks great. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for! I could hug

  47. Dede

    Hi girls. I made 4 of these today…ate one tonight, it was delicious. I use a spinner so everything was pretty dry. A problem I am noticing is that a few hours after being in fridge, condensation is appearing in the jars. Lids were sealed tight.. Anyone have this happen?

  48. Karela

    My hubs and I had SIAJ all last week and we love them!
    I make our fav pizzeria (pies n pints, chas wv) salad and it works perfectly.
    The dressing I adapted from Jamie Oliver’s meals in minutes.
    Juice of one lemon
    Balsamic vinegar
    Sun dried tomatoes
    Olive oil
    White truffle oil
    Red onion
    Red grapes
    Sunflower seeds
    Feta cheese

  49. StacyLV

    Thank You for these wonderful SIAJ ideas. I can’t wait to try them, for myself and my DH. I was getting a little tired of the same old, same old. I do have a suggestion for all those struggling with the restrictive pint-sized(16oz) jars, they aren’t quite big enough for my DH either, but the quart(32oz) is just too big, look into the pint and a half(24oz) size jars(these make shaking a salad sooo much easier). And if the pints are too big, look into the cup and a half(12oz) size. Also there are very few sizes that are not available in wide mouth, even 8oz comes in wide mouth. If you are wondering where to find the jars… they are carried year around in limited quantities and sizes by national hardware stores, national home improvement stores, farm/ranch stores, discount stores (Target, Walmart, etc.) and of course for the best selection, on the jar company web sites (usually with a first time shopping discount or free shipping when you spend a min, amount). There is also the option of online shopping, just watch for price gouging, I’ve seen a lot of that lately especially with the colored jars. If you are worried about keeping the bottle safe/keeping lunch cold, bottles can be wrapped in a thick kitchen towel and secured with a ribbon or rubber band for transport. I’ve designed some insulated fabric wraps that my DH will start using as soon as I can get finished that will protect and keep the jars cool. I have most of my ideas ready for an insulated protective lunch bag, I just need to get them down on paper and get one made for DH and then one for myself. Thank You again for the recipes.

  50. Gina

    Has anyone tried chopping an apple as an ingredient for a SIAJ? Maybe spritz with a little lemon juice to keep it from turning brown?

    1. Cassie

      I have before, and even with the lemon water, it does get a bit brown and mushy. I wouldn’t recommend it for a SIAJ that you have stashed for more than a day or two.

  51. Christine

    The links to the dressing for the mason jar salads appear to be broken. In particular I couldn’t find the strawberry lime vinaigrette recipe. I looked under the salad section as a whole and didn’t see it there either.

  52. Constance

    Thank you for this wonderful article. I have a question though. Is it still safe if I take it out of the fridge in the morning, put it in my bag, go to work till lunchtime in summer with around 3~4 hours in between? Will the heat somehow spoil the food? Thanks in advance.

  53. Robert

    Hey I have a question. So like this morning I made 5 salads in my mason jars and then i stored them in the fridge…then barely right now I opened the fridge and saw that moisture was creating on the inside of my jars. Why? I dried all the hard completely and washed and dried all my veggies. Why is this happening?

  54. I’m so greatful for your website as I am planning to give salad in a jar for my birthday at work. Already bought the bottles last month. Blessings

  55. I made a batch up for my husband and I and packed them with us for a quick get a away so when we sitting down near pool and were hungry we popped one open or anytime we needed that in between snack , he loves this idea.

  56. Cassie,
    I’ve never really gotten into the SIAJ because I typically eat at home or a pot luck while at work. However, as we’re in between farm share seasons right now, my spouse and I are hitting the salad bar once a week or so and enjoying a wonderful salad. I’m thinking that translating some of our favorite ingredients into a SIAJ, especially entree sized, will be the way we’ll go.
    Now that I’m emptying my canning jars I’ve got more to play with.

  57. I love your recipes for salads in a jar. I have never tried this, but am inspired with all of your great ideas. I have even (just now) posted about your blog on my site – giving links for your posts about salads in a jar, and prepping food for a week. Thanks for sharing all your great ideas!

  58. Phyllis

    I’m sure everyone will think this is a dumb question but I’m stumped as to how you eat these salads. Do you eat out of the jar or do you pour it onto a plate, which would mean carrying a plate with you.

  59. Pooka

    Oh girl….I have just made your Strawberry Spinach salad (with a couple of tweaks, I used goats cheese instead of Feta, and just couldn’t resign myself to adding jam to the dressing so I squished two strawberries instead!); goodgod…I think I’ve just died and gone to heaven! It was DELICIOUS! So good in fact that I wolfed into the second jar I’d made for tomorrow, only to feel incredibly full halfway through it; I was going to force-feed it into me (no way was I wasting such a culinary delight) when I realised I could just put it back in the jar (I was a bit generous with the spinach) and have it for lunch tomorrow!!!
    So thankyou; thankyou; thankyou for such amazing recipes. Can’t wait to try another!!! x

  60. melanieann

    I loved the idea, but found that the mason jars, although adorable, were too difficult to work with and a little dangerous to tote around. I subsitituted square tupperware-type containers that stack great in my fridge. Just one flip and shake at lunch time and good to go! I’ve used my favorite summertime ‘lebanese salad’ with mint and lemon juice, and my favorite wintertime salad with Bosc pears, walnuts, bleu cheese, raspberries and balsamic dressing. They all last lovely in fridge for the entire week!

  61. Tyson

    you may have already answered this in the comments but, how long do these usually stay good for? I am looking into prepping meals for an entire week because I work in a restaurant where I typically have 12-14 hour days.

  62. I love these!!
    Tried the sunshine dressing yesterday on a salad much inspired by yours and it blew me away! SO good!!

    I will definitely be back and try more of your recipes (this time following them properly). )
    TYVM for the inspiration!

  63. Mary

    I have been too lazy to do the SIAJ until my hubs and I did a three-day, 2000-mile road trip and we wanted to go as inexpensively as possible. I made up jar salads, refrigerated them, put them in our Yeti cooler packed with ice, and we at fresh salad on the road all three days! Prep was so easy I’ve been kicking myself for not trying this sooner. I’ve copied your recipes and cannot wait to get started on weekly jar salads! Better late than never! Great article and I love your responses to the nay sayers!

  64. I wish there was a sealer top for the big 1 gallon glass jars that fruit salad, etc. come in. But then I’d need lids to fit them….

    But I do have the 1/2 gallon mason jars (actually Ball jars) and the sealer top for them. It appears I have the same vac sealer that you do, also. But mine is almost 3 years old.

    I got the game sealer one because we vac seal all the meat we butcher ourselves. I’ve not had a problem sealing fine stuff, so far. Just make real sure the seal on the lid is real clean.

    I did have trouble off and on with getting the regular size (smaller of the 2) to seal. But I read a hint some where that if you put an extra lid in, it would seal the lower one. And it does, real well.

  65. Jeaux

    Thank you for the post. I was trying to figure out what the heck this craze is all about. can’t wait to start making these for lunches next week.

    I think one thing that helps us to eat good healthy food is when it looks beautiful. In a jar, it looks lovely and you can’t wait to dig in.

    I also think this would be great for picnics. Instead of having to bring bowls, you could eat out of the jars.

  66. Cate Hansen

    Hello, I’m unable to pin from your site. I have tried multiple methods and also connected on Pinterest with no success. Cn you help? Thank you!

  67. mandy cat

    When my father was in the hospital and my poor harried stepmother was dragging home every evening, I made up jarred main meal salads and left them in their refrigerator, along with jars of soup and a loaf of homemade bread. That was a great deal more appreciated than flowers for Dad or a heavy, goopy casserole for her would have been.

    Bonus: I made double batches of everything (except the bread) and we got to enjoy them too.

  68. Natalie K C

    You are officially my new favorite person. Seriously. My husband and I are engineering grad students, we just got married, and have a new house and a new puppy. I used to be religious about healthy eating, but needless to say we’ve kind of fallen, read, plummeted, off the wagon. Frozen, super processed foods, fast foods, pretty much garbage; that’s what we’ve been eating for months. To make matters worse, my husband has developed all sorts of food allergies, so every time I feel inspired to cook something healthy and delicious, he shoots it down because he’s allergic to something or other in it. I am so excited to try your food prep ideas, and get back on track with healthy eating. This way, I can prepare any number of things so that I can have whatever I want, and he can have something different that he’s not allergic to. I still have to figure out dinners, since we don’t get home from work until about 5pm every day, but this will be an excellent start. THANK YOU!

  69. Adriana A.

    What is the proper way to cool cooked grains so as to make them stay good for an extended period of time? Also when you put beans in your salads how do you cook them (if using canned beans)? Or is it unnecessary to cook canned beans?

    1. Cassie

      The best way to cool cooked grains rapidly is to spread them into a shallow dish, and dip the bottom of the dish in ice water. It cools them fast without the heat from the grains warming up the fridge.

      And no need to cook beans from a can. 🙂

  70. Tracy A Wilson

    I love this salad in a jar. I work at a House for women with challenges in their lives and while the rest of us are having the same salad at the lunch or dinner table. the ladies who have appointments or schooling or meetings can be enjoying what we are having. Healthy and fresh! Thank you.

    1. Cassie

      I normally use a wide-mouth pint—it’s big enough to be a decent-sized meal (especially if you add a protein and crackers on the side).

  71. Linda

    The “Salsa”, have you the recipe?? I would like to try this salad with the salsa.

    Thanks, i love your website.

  72. Cindy Freeman

    First time trying SIAJ. I have pint sized Mason jars and am hoping you can give me rough estimate of how much of each item to put in . thank you in advance.

    1. Cassie

      All of these recipes are made for pint-size jars. 🙂 No estimates on the filling, just put in as much as you like. I promise you won’t mess it up!

    1. Cassie

      I press it, and then use it right out of the package. If the flavor of raw tofu bugs you, you can definitely saute it it a bit. 🙂

  73. Becky

    Mason Jar Salads changed my life. Seriously. For years I’d make a nice salad and the next day it was half-wilted, making the other nice additions yukky. So I just didn’t make salads often for years. I found other ways to enjoy my veggies.
    But now!
    Once a week I put Handmaid’s Tale on my tablet, set up my assembly line of jars and ingredients, and get cracking! My partner and I now eat salads every day! My grandkids eat mini-salads out of mini-jars, that they help Grandma fill each week! Unbelievable. I’ve stuck to the basics so kudos for showing me some variations!

  74. Do you seal the top of the jar on any way? In other words do you have the top hot when you put it on, does it matter? Want to try this but see nothing about sealing.

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