Salad in a Jar with Pepper Hearts and Carrot Flowers are a Fun & Tasty “grab and go” in the morning Lunch idea that’s full of satisfying ingredients. Plus, the best container I’ve found, a Free Printable for the cute hearts and tons of other healthy salad ideas!
Ok, I admit it. I don’t always eat healthy. I am the person who got “all excited” about the McDonald’s 3 Big Mac Sized burgers that just came out (did I really admit that?). Anyway, if you’re like me and struggle sometimes to eat a healthy lunch, then this Salad in a Jar with Pepper Hearts is for you!
This veggie and protein salad is an entertaining way to feel good about what you’re eating. Why not pre-make a few different kinds of salads and have lunch ready to go everyday (sorry Mickie D’s). It’s so much fresher than the pre-made salads you get from the grocery store, and a lot less expensive than ordering a salad out. Plus, this way you can choose exactly what custom ingredients you want in your salad.
To get started, begin with a clean mason jar. When I first started, I used regular mason jars, but ran into a multitude of problems.
I love canning/mason jars for a multitude of recipes, like my Key Lime & Raspberry Pies in Jars or my Traditional Pecan Pie in a Jar. However, when it comes to making Salad in a Jar with Pepper Hearts, I didn’t find the conventional jars very convenient.
First of all, I love the idea of being able to take salads to work, but when you use a mason jar, the dressing has to go at the bottom of the jar and sit with the other ingredients right on top of it. The moisture from the dressing makes the salad very soggy and ruins it. I really like crisp, fresh salads and there is nothing worse than wilted lettuce. Plus, when I tried to shake it up, it really didn’t distribute very evenly. There was a bunch of dressing at the bottom and none on top. Also, it’s a very heavy jar to carry around and it was very difficult to eat out of because the top is too narrow.
So, I looked all around and finally found the perfect jar for all my salads! This Aladdin Classic Mason Jar is the perfect size for an “on-the-go” luncheon salad. It’s durable (Eastman Tritan), lightweight (BPA-free), dishwasher safe and comes with a leak-proof lid that includes a built in 4 oz. dressing container (how cool is that?). It’s the perfect amount for your salad. No more soggy, wilting salads! I loved it so much, I bought several more so I could make a batch on Sunday! These salads last for days in the fridge, so you can make a week’s worth of lunches ahead of time. It truly is an amazing product!
Now, as for the salad components, the sky is the limit. I usually start with the hard vegetables on the bottom, then the soft vegetables, beans, proteins, cheese, greens and nuts on top. Then, when you’re ready to eat, unscrew the lid and pour the dressing on top of the salad (from the container), replace the lid and “shake” to toss the salad ingredients all together. Grab a fork and enjoy!
Hard vegetables: Carrots, celery, cucumbers, broccoli, red and green peppers, cooked beets, fennel.
Softer vegetables and fruits: Like mushrooms, avocados, tomatoes, radish, sprouted lentils, al dente asparagus, corn, marinated green beans, marinated artichokes, red onion, zucchini, sprouts, figs, golden raisins, peas, diced strawberries, pineapple, mandarin oranges, blueberries, dried apricots or cranberries.
Beans, grains and pasta: Add anything you like, chickpeas, black beans, white cannellini beans, cooked barley, cooked brown or white rice, cooked farro, cooked pasta.
Cheese and proteins: Layer any diced or crumbled cheese and proteins like tuna fish, cooked ham, turkey, chicken, roast beef, leftover steak or taco meat, hard boiled eggs or cubed tofu.
Salad Greens: Use your hands to tear the lettuce into bite-sized pieces. Suggestions include: romaine lettuce, spinach, Bibb, cabbage, radicchio, arugula, kale, Boston, iceberg, endive or spring mixed greens. Don’t forget the parsley, oregano or cilantro too. Pack them fairly compactly.
Then, put the nuts, seeds, lighter grains or crushed tortilla chips on top. Also try almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, quinoa or millet.
Finally, add whatever salad dressing you desire in the cute little “self contained” cup on top, and you are ready to go.
Store the salad: screw the lid on the jar and refrigerate up to 5 days.
As for my cute little red bell pepper hearts and carrot flowers, I like to “shake it up” from time to time. I love to bring lunch over to my friend’s house and leave the jar as a GIFT. So, I take a little bit of time to cut out the hearts from the bell peppers (free downloadable printable, if you don’t have a heart shaped cookie cutter) and cut the edges of the carrot to make cute little flowers (video here).
Anyway you slice it, these Salad in a Jar with Pepper Hearts make the perfect lunch! So, go grab a couple jars today and get started designing your perfect salad! Enjoy!
- 1 Aladdin Classic Mason Jar
- 4 oz. ranch dressing
- 4 cups shredded romaine lettuce, divided
- 1 cup jack cheese, shredded
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into hearts
- 3 slices salami, chopped or strips
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 carrot, cut into flowers
- Place the ranch dressing in the lid container, or at the bottom of a regular mason jar.
- Place 2 cups of lettuce in the bottom. Then layer with the jack cheese. Place the red bell pepper hearts (using your clean fingers or long tweezers) along the side of the jar, using the cheese to hold it in place.
- Next, layer with the salami strips and green onions. Then layer the rest of the lettuce on the top and place the carrot flowers around the side of the jar. Screw on the lid and store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
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