We need lots of energy now that we’re headed back to class this fall, and a healthy lunch is the easiest way to get it. Not only is packing our lunch good for our wallets, but it also saves us from the all-too-familiar burrito coma. When we’re planning our packed lunches, our favorite go-to meal is the mason jar salad. The brilliant layering technique eliminates any annoying salad dressing spillages, and it looks super pretty to boot. If you aren’t already familiar, the concept is simple: dressing goes in the bottom, followed by heavier ingredients (beans, grains and proteins), followed by veggies and greens on top. Shake it up, and you’ve got a perfectly dressed and delicious salad. Scroll on for ten nutritious ideas to try.
1. Mason Jar Carrot Noodle Salad: Not only is this salad delicious and pretty to look at, but it also uses one of our favorite kitchen tools: the Spiralizer! This recipe is vegan and filled with protein, thanks to quinoa and cashews. (via Nosh and Nourish)
2. Asian Noodle Salad Jars: Who can say no to a salad filled with healthy buckwheat soba noodles, edamame and fresh, crispy veggies? This salad comes complete with a tangy peanut dressing. (via Foxes Love Lemons)
4. The Perfect Salad in a Jar: Fans of the DIY salad bar, rejoice: This is the one for you. We like to think of this recipe as a “choose your own adventure,” because you make the call on protein, grains, veggies and greens. (via The Kitchn)
5. Tofu Living Salad in a Jar: Looking for a vegan mason jar salad recipe? Small cubes of firm tofu act like little protein-packed sponges, soaking up all the dressing goodness. Not into tofu? Shelled edamame would work great as a replacement. (via Back to Her Roots)
7. Mason Jar Spring Cobb Salad: No time to make a healthy lunch? Not true! Prep the ingredients for this spring cobb salad in your downtime and arrange it in a mason jar for easy access during the week. We like to think of it as a healthy adult Lunchable. (via Fit Foodie Finds)
8. Tropical Sriracha Chicken Salad: This salad is packed full of veggies and flavor with an added boost of protein from the Sriracha-pineapple marinated chicken breast. Grab five jars, compile your ingredients and prep your lunch for the week — you won’t regret it! (via The Healthy Maven)
9. Caprese Salad in a Jar: Our favorite summer staple salad just got portable! Add the dressing as you assemble the jars to let the flavors sink in or just serve immediately. (via The Chubby Vegetarian)
10. Apple and Walnut Mason Jar Salad: Take advantage of all the apples at the farmers’ market this fall with this easy chopped salad. Walnut, celery and radish give it a super satisfying crunch too. (via Eat Within Your Means)
Do you ever make mason jar salads? Leave us the recipe or link to your favorite in the comments!