Mex-Mango Salad-In-A-Jar Recipe
I’m a big fan of food prep!
If it weren’t for food prep, staying on track with healthy eating habits would be so much harder on those busy work weeks or days when I need to run my kids in so many directions after school.
With a little planning and some time set aside to meal prep, things just go so much more smoothly.
Salads in a jar are absolutely stunning and a popular trend — you’ll find a surplus of beautiful salads-in-a-jar images to pin on Pinterest!
However, most of these images can hook you up with some great, and not so great salad-in-a-jar tutorials. Even with all this information I still had some questions:
- Are they really practical and easy to prepare?
- What about freshness?
- How do you eat it?
I turned my kitchen into a “test-kitchen” and went to work to find the answers. The following are the three tips I learned to make the best salad-in-a-jar.
TIP 1: PREPARATION
Preparing salads in a jar takes a little time commitment. In fact, the first time you try them, you may find yourself thinking, “This is not saving me any time at all, Tammie!”
Here is where I challenge you to change that thought to — “I’m just using my time more wisely.”
You may spend an hour making lunches for the whole week, but that time spent will save you valuable time each morning. (Trust me!)
Instead of trying to decide what to prepare for your lunch, you’ll be able to grab a jar and go!
Start with a clean, dry wide-mouth mason jar. Making sure the jar is completely dry will keep your ingredients from getting soggy.
Freshness was probably one of my biggest concerns!
And, I’m probably not alone when it comes to my strong dislike of a soggy salad!
Proper preparation followed by a specific layering is the key to avoid sogginess! With adequate preparation, salads will last up to an entire week in the fridge. (I know! It almost sounds too good to be true!)
TIP 2: ASSEMBLY
After all the trial and error in my “test-kitchen,” I learned that there is a right way to construct your salad to keep it fresh and crispy until you’re ready to enjoy it.
I learned that you have to take into consideration that if you have dressing and wet fruit or veggies touching the lettuce greens you’ll end up with a soggy, slimy, and unappetizing mess.
The formula that I found to work the best is outlined below.
This specific layering process will keep all your salad ingredients separated and fresh until you’re ready to mix them up and eat em’ down!
- Layer #1: Add 2-4 tablespoons salad dressing.
- Layer #2: Add wet veggies or fruits. Think of things that would be good marinated in the dressing. Avocado (it will stay green if it is in the dressing), tomatoes, cucumbers, jicama, olives, celery, grated beets or carrots, apples, berries, pineapple, mango, dried fruit… you get the picture!
- Layer #3: This is where you put in some protein or whole grains. These would still be ok if these came in contact with the dressing. Things like cheese, beans, chicken, beef, fish, hard-boiled eggs, brown rice, quinoa, etc., work great!
- Layer #4: Moisture resistant veggies. These veggies shouldn’t contain much moisture and are the barrier between the dressing and wet layers, and the leafy greens. This barrier will help keep the greens crispy! Include veggies like carrots, bell peppers, celery, onions, etc.
- Layer#5: Add in your greens and top with chopped nuts and/or seeds.
TIP 3: ENJOYING YOUR SALAD
I was perplexed about how to eat a salad-in-a-jar. The jar is filled to the brim with deliciousness, but the dressing is at the bottom, there’s not enough room to toss it all together!
This seems like it would leave me eating a variety of ingredients individually, right? It seems like with each bite you’d end up eating the salad in layers, and that doesn’t sound all that exciting!
I found that the jar serves only as the storage and transportation method. The best thing to do when you are ready to eat it is to dump it onto a plate or into a bowl and enjoy! This would mean that if you are packing these salads for lunch, you’ll also need a container to eat from.
Keep a bowl and fork at your office that you can wash and store somewhere for easy convenience!
Mexi-Mango Salad-in-a-Jar Recipe
Layer 1: (Whisk together the following ingredients for the dressing in the bottom of the jar.)
- 1½ T olive oil
- 1½ t fresh lime juice
- pinch of cayenne
- 1/8 t oregano
- 1/8 t sea salt
- 1/8 t cumin
- 1/8 t garlic powder
- ½ of an avocado, diced
- ¼ c mango, diced
- ¼ c carrots, grated
- ½ c cooked quinoa
- ¼ c black beans
- ¼ c frozen corn
- 2 T green onions, mince
- 1 T jalapeño pepper, minced
- 2 T chopped cilantro
- Large handful of spinach
Try this recipe and share how it went in the comments below!