Green Up Your Paleo Meals With Salad In A Jar
First off I have to admit my love of Mason jars … they come in all sizes (from half pint to half gallon), they make it easy to view the contents, are dishwasher safe & one of the ultimate eco friendly storage containers of all time due to the re-usability and safety of glass for food storage.
When I switched to glass for food storage a few years ago after learning about BPA leeching from plastic containers, over time a number of canning jars (from garage sales to thrift stores) found their way into my kitchen. They’re pretty versatile – storage for coconut & almond flours in my freezer and sometimes a gift container for cookies or soups as well as bulk storage of things when I buy the big packs at Costco (almonds, figs, beef jerky, Q-tips, etc.) because of their stack-ability. They also make a great container for celery, just fill it with water & put in your cleaned celery – you’re ready to chop for a salad, stir fry or just to have a cold stick with some almond butter.
When I saw this idea of making salads-to- go in the large mouth / large size canning jars, I found that I loved it as both a time saver (prepping a number of salads at one time for eating throughout the week) and it allowed me to take advantage of saving money with larger lettuce purchases (again, thank you Costco) and no waste as they don’t go bad as they had in the past.
If you have a FoodSaver and the large mouth vacuum attachment – your salads in a jar will last 7 to 10 days (yeah!) because the air has been removed through the vacuum process. If you don’t have a FoodSaver, your salads will last for 4 – 5 days, which still gets you through a week of work lunches or adding to dinners during the work week when you have less time for food prep. Lettuce will keep longer if stored in jars and you’ll find no brown edges on the lettuce & no wilted leaves either.
It’s a fairly easy & quick process when you figure you’re getting 3-6 salads done at one time. Wash your lettuce, spin or dry, cut & stuff into the jars. I add ingredients that don’t have a short shelf life – things like carrots, celery, shredded cabbage, etc. and avoid adding those with a shorter spoil life (tomatoes, slices of cucumber or cut avocado) inside the jar – adding those more delicate ingredients when we’re ready to eat the salads.
From reading & experimenting, I’ve also found that if you want a ‘full salad’ ready to go, start with the dressing on the bottom and the key is to never let your salad dressing & lettuce touch – so maybe it’s a layer of mushrooms or carrots or some other veggie keeping them apart. When you’re ready to eat, shake & pour into a bowl or plate. For more details on the vacuum process if you haven’t used a FoodSaver, check out How to Make Salad in a Jar as the site includes lots of photos as well as a short video.
I’ve made the beautiful Mediterranean Salad from Peas & Thank you web site (skipping the non Paleo garbanzo beans) – beautiful & delish!
Also made a number of just plain salads to go with our crock pot chicken or beef, using the Balsamic Vinaigrette recipe from Creative Kitchen Adventures.
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1-2 tbsp water (more or less depending on the consistency you want)
2 tbsp honey (can be replaced with agave or brown sugar)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Place all ingredients into a small canning jar ( Anything with a lid works well.) – Shake to mix thoroughly. Stores in fridge for 1-2 weeks.
And the Chinese Chicken Salad from the Big Red Kitchen web site (skipping the non-Paleo ramen noodles and just adding more almonds for crunch) – another great salad.
If you’re making plain jars of lettuce, give a try to the Mixed Citrus & Avocado salad. You’d be adding citrus & avocado right before serving.
It’s also gotten a number of comments from co-workers who see my salad in a jar in the fridge at work – I think it’s going to be a trend!
So whether your working on your Paleo, working on getting more veggies in your day or just cleaning up your eating, give a try to making a few salads in a jar on a weekend and having a weeks worth of quicker meal prep and see what you think.