One of my favorite ways of building community and supporting a culture of healthy eating is to host Salad in a Jar parties. On a monthly basis, I invite families to my home, ask them each to bring a salad topping to share, and we prep up to a week’s worth of salad. I provide kale (straight from my Tower Garden), spinach, and mixed greens. It’s always fun to see what people will bring to share, everything from carrots, beans (black, garbanzo), onion, and peppers to chicken and various cheeses and seeds. It’s typically the ladies prepping salads in the dining room, with the men and kids playing outside, but the kids love to pick out ingredients for their own salads too! When they get to prep it, they are much more likely to eat it.
Prepping a Salad in a Jar
Jar Size – I prefer using pint size mason jars. You can stuff a lot of ingredients and greens in a pint size jar, but the downside is that you must empty into a bowl to eat. Quart size jars are good if you are prepping a salad for your entire family or want to shake it up and eat it straight out of the jar.
- Dressing – You can always add dressing when serving, but sometimes it is convenient to have it all in one. So dressing is the first ingredient in your jar. It takes just a thin layer to cover your entire salad.
- Wet Ingredients – These are ingredients that are already wet and can withstand soaking in dressing until served. Examples: Tomato
- Hearty Moisture-Resistant Veggies – The next layer should be hearty veggies that create a thick layer between your wet ingredients and greens. You want to keep your greens as dry as possible until you are ready to serve. Examples: Carrot, Onion, Zucchini
- Soft Veggies Examples: Avocado, Bell Pepper, Corn
- Protein Examples: Chicken, Egg, Tuna, Beans, Salami
- Greens – This is the main event. I recommend leaving half of your jar empty to fill with greens and you can really stuff them in. Examples: Spinach, Romaine, Kale, Mixed Greens
- Cheese, Nuts, Grains – Just like your greens, you want to keep your cheeses, nuts and grains dry until serving. Examples: Walnuts, Quinoa, Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Almonds
Of course, every layer is optional and you can mix and match as much as you want. If the greens stay dry, the salads will keep for up to a week.
What are your favorite salad ingredients?