Sunday, May 3, 2015

Salad Making Shortcuts ( Make Ahead Mason Jar Salads)

cut up cucumbers, tomato, red pepper, mushrooms, and black beans

Want a shortcut to make it easier to make a salad? This method is such a huge time saver !
Did you ever think if the salad were made, I would eat it?- but were too lazy or tired to make one.

Sunday night has become salad night in my house. It is the night I not only make a big colorful salad for dinner, but while I already have all the veggies out, I  also make my salads for the entire week!  One mess 5 salads!. (yes, the salads stays very fresh for the week, and I'll tell you how).

If you are like me, I love to eat healthy salads but I don't always feel like making them, especially at the end of a long day. Let's face it, it can be messy washing, peeling and cutting all the produce that goes into the salad. I usually don't want to make that mess every night, so I found a really helpful solution.

I shop on the weekend and on Sunday late afternoon ( or evening) , I wash, peel, chop, etc. all the produce that I just bought. I then make a large bowl of delicious salad for dinner plus I fill eight  16 oz mason jars with layers of salad chopping as well.

Four of the eight salad jars will be for my lunches - Monday through Friday ( I usually eat out once during the week). The other four salad jars will be our dinner salads ( there are just two of us so I use the medium jars. For a family, you could use a larger 1/2 gallon size Mason jars.

Mason jars will keep these salads fresh, crisp, green and delicious for up to 5 days!

Do you know how great it is to open the refrigerator and have a healthy tasty salad already made ready for your lunch or dinner? In addition, I don't have packages of produce that spoil because I waited too long to use them.  All my salad produce is prepped the day I buy it!

salad with black beans
These are my lunch salad jars . 
In the 4 Mason jar salads that are intended for my lunch,  I  layer in some cooled chick peas, cooked black beans, avocado etc. ( if you are not vegetarian- add chicken, turkey, sliced egg etc)  This way my lunch is a complete meal. I add salad dressing just before I eat it or if I'm taking it with me, I put on the dressing just before I go out.  It is so convenient, healthy, and ready whenever I am. That is the most important part!

The following ingredients are a sample of the raw veggies I use for my salads.
Of course you can substitute the veggies that you like in the proportions you like.

Author: Judee Algazi
Prep Time: 30 - 40 minutes ( for the entire week of salads) 
Needed: 8 mason jars

1 bag of organic romaine lettuce ( 3 heads- and I use two of them)
1/2  small head of red cabbage, washed and chopped
2 containers of cherry tomatoes, washed
2 packages of Persian cucumbers ( 5 to a pack) - the small cucumbers, sliced
1/2  bunch of organic kale - washed and chopped
1 package of sliced white mushrooms ( raw)
3 red peppers, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
3 orange peppers. chopped
3 organic carrots ( I grate mine)
optional: sprouts or fresh herbs like chopped basil, mint, oregano, scallions etc.
optional: chopped apple, chopped orange, radishes, etc.
** I don't add onion in advance- ( add to the jar before eating)

Wash, peel, clean all of the veggies. Chop and divide between 8 clean Mason jars and 1 large bowl of salad for dinner for that night. Store Mason Jars in the refrigerator and use within 4-5 days.
cucumbers , tomatoes, and mason jars

chunks of cut up cucumber, tomato, chick peas, lettuce
My chopped salad sprinkled with 21 Salute Salt Free Seasoning from Trader Joe's dumped for dinner from the jar

Whether I go to work or am at home, I am glad to have a prepared salad. I eat my salad right from the jar at lunchtime, or for dinner, I just toss the salad  into a bowl!

I get my Mason Jars here:

Ball Mason Jars Wide-Mouth Can or Freeze - 16 oz 12pk

They are so worth the investment and aside from canning , they can be used for so many things:

  • Storing seeds, nuts, etc. and really keeping them fresh
  • Salad in a jar for a week
  • Cut up fruit and store in the Mason Jars in the fridge
  • Storing soup, freezing soup stock ( need a special mason jar for freezing)
  • Cut up cucumber sticks, red pepper sticks, celery sticks,  ready for snacking
  • overnight refrigerator oatmeal  ( see recipe and tutorial) 
  • And much more
Once you have Mason Jars , you won't know how you lived without them,  you can use them for so many kinds of storage and they keep them really fresh! 

Use a small Mason Jar to make overnight refrigerator oatmeal ( ready in the morning to just grab and go!)

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Read my other article : Lunch in a Jar

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Will be also shared on  Souper Sundays at  Kahakai Kitchen


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  1. You hit the nail on the head. I would eat more salads if they were ready to go. After a long day it's just too easy to put off washing and chopping for another time. I like the idea of making a mess once!

    1. Michelle,
      I know. How many times can I wash, peel , and chop!!
      The half hour of prep once a week helps us eat healthy all week!

  2. What a cool idea. Do you find that salad keeps longer in a jar versus tupperware? I am like a healthy salad but hate all the prep.

    1. Absolutely the salad keeps fresher in the Mason Jars. The stay so green and fresh even if I cut the greens with a knife, they don't turn brown in the Mason Jars. Personally, I don't use plastic because of the estrogens that leak into the food. However, the Mason Jars really seal out the air.

  3. I came from ash&crafts' blog from the merry monday party.
    I love your suggestion! Can't believe they stay frash for 5 whole days, I must try this!

    1. Five is the limit and you do have to use Mason Jars. They are the key because of how they seal out the air.
      Please come back and let me know if you try it..

  4. I always wanted to try this...looks easy and of course super healthy. Thanks for sharing!

  5. What a nice idea to put the salad ingredients in Mason Jars. You can just grab a jar everyday for lunch. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop! I hope you’ll join us again next week!

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick

  6. Love the idea of having lunches already made and using the mason jars really helps! Thank you for sharing at Merry Monday!

  7. I've done these before and they are great to have! You've reminded me that it's nice to not have to do the same prep work over and over again all week long! Getting back to prepping on Sundays!

  8. What a terrific idea. For some reason salad is my least favorite thing to prepare, even though I know it is so good for me.

  9. Perfect! I know I am more inclined to enjoy healthy salads if I don't have to prep them every time I am ready to eat. Thanks for sharing your excellent tips with Souper Sundays this week. ;-)

  10. Delicious salad thanks for sharing with Hearth and soul blog hop. pinning.

  11. Looks delicious, thanksfor sharing with hearth and soul blog hop. pinning

    1. Swathi ,
      Thanks for taking the time to visit from Hearth and Soul Blog Hop

  12. Hi Judee,
    It love salads so these salad making shortcuts are right up my alley! I especially love the idea of filling mason jars with layers of salad ingredients to use for lunch and other meals! Thank you for sharing these valuable gardening benefits with us at the Healthy Happy Green and Natural Party! I am pinning and sharing!

  13. This is such a great idea, Judee! I love salad but I often end up eating lunch very late because I have to think about making it - this is perfect for me! Pinning. Thank you for being a part of the Hearth and Soul hop.

    1. April, Isn't it a great idea. I can't tell you how many times I would have eaten a salad if it were already made, but I was too lazy so ate something fattening instead!

  14. What a great plan ahead idea! It's a perfect way to make sure you'll have salads on the go. Happy you shared this on the Summer Salads Link Party. Pinning.


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