Mason Jar Salads, Part 1

Mason Jar Salads, Part 1

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And this is what it looked like when I dumped it out.

 

 

The jars…

 

The point of the jar is the glass is supposed to keep the ingredients fresh for up to 5 days or so.  And the specific layering of the ingredients keeps them from getting mushy and from all the flavors just oozing together.  I really love salad, but it is (I thought, anyway) hard to make in advance.  When I used to pack them for work, I had to keep it all separate.  And even if I tried to semi-prep them in advance, like cutting up a whole cucumber and putting it in tupperware, the cucumber slices would be gross by the third day or so.  Then I would just throw it away.  There’s nothing to turn you off salad more than eating a salad with soggy ingredients. 

 So I read on about which layers go where, and what specifically not to put in them so they don’t get gross.  Basically you start with the dressing, and you can use creamy or vinaigrette, and you can make your own or use store-bought.  For all the jars above, I used yogurt ranch.

 The first day I only made three jars.  I’m not great at measuring, so I just eyeballed it.  I used the ridges on the jar to gauge it.  And I may have used a little too much dressing on these first ones, but it’s all about finding that right combination, I think.  So, here’s the list of ingredients from the bottom up (first picture, of 3 jars):

 

Yogurt ranch dressing

Grape tomatoes, halved

Yellow bell peppers, small to medium diced

English cucumber, cut in to thick quarter moon shapes with the skin left on

Canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed really well (because, gross if you don’t!)

Low moisture mozzarella, small cubes

Baked chicken breast (get the recipe here)

Romaine lettuce, torn

 

The reason for using the English cucumber:  the skin tastes better, and it seems to hold up better.  The reason for the cheese:  since I’m trying to lose weight, the mozzarella (at 80 calories per ounce) has fewer calories than other similar cheeses (like cheddar, which has 100 to 110 per ounce).  I use my basic baked chicken recipe, but you can also buy a rotisserie chicken and shred it up. And the lettuce:  it’s torn, not chopped because this makes it bruise less easily. 

 Starting from the bottom up, there is a variation of these ingredients: 

 

Yogurt ranch dressing

Grape tomatoes, halved

English cucumber, cut the same as above

Poblano peppers, small to medium diced

Canned chickpeas

Red onion, medium diced

Feta cheese

Baked chicken breast

Romaine lettuce, torn

Arugala

Chives, snipped

Pumpkin seeds 

 

 

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