It’s summer. You want to eat light and healthy, but you don’t want to make a big fuss in the kitchen. You might also want something quick and portable you can take to the beach or picnic on the fly. What to do?
For today’s first post in my series Love: In a Jar, I’d like to share an idea I recently tried that I’d seen floating around the interwebs: pre-assembling salads in cute jars.
You know that saying the best ideas are often the simplest? That would totally apply!
To keep things fresh (and frugal!), I took a peak around my garden. I had a bunch of beautiful lettuce varieties ready, as well as some radishes, cilantro, parsley, and a few raspberries. You could also see what is on sale at your store for the week, or fresh at your local farmer’s market. For instance, Fred Meyer has cherries on sale for just $1.48/lb right now – I might be inspired to to plan a salad around that!
I decided to make three different salads that would last me a week – for quick meals or in-between as snacks.
First up, an Asian Salad.
The idea here is to put the dressing in the bottom of the jar. I made a simple sesame-ginger dressing inspired by this recipe using sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, fresh chopped ginger, garlic, a little salt, peanut butter, and honey. YUM!
On top of the dressing, I put the heartier chopped veggies like matchstick-cut carrots, snow peas, the radishes, and celery. Put the lettuce right on top of the dressing and you’ll have wilty lettuce. No good.
Next, I sprinkled on some sesame seeds (found in bulk at Fred Meyer), topped with some cooked up quinoa, the lettuces, cashews, and cilantro from the garden. Viola! Of course, you could adjust however you wish. Adding a whole grain, such as quinoa, turns this into more of a meal. You could add more lettuce if you would like to keep it lighter.
The second salad was a variation on this one – the dressing was simply raspberry balsamic, olive oil, salt, and fresh ground pepper with veggies, quinoa, lettuces, and raspberries.
For my third salad, I decided to try this wheatberry salad I’d been eyeing. Have you ever had wheatberries before? They work really great in cold salads and are pretty versatile. Most recipes will suggest you soak them overnight, but I found a method for cooking them on the stove for an hour.
I then chopped up a granny smith apple and a small handful of flat-leaf Italian parsley and green onions from my garden.
The recipe I found didn’t have any measurements, so you’ll add to taste lemon juice, balsamic, and olive oil to taste. That’s it.
I put these in some really pretty Ball jars I found at Fred Meyer! They were $4.39 for a 4-pack, and I was able to use the $3/2 coupon from the 6/3 SmartSource (so that works out to just $2.89 for a 4-pack. Not bad, I think! I don’t see why you couldn’t also reuse jars you already have laying around. For additional salad ideas, check out this post – it explains more about how to layer your salads and ideas for ingredient mixing.
Don’t you think this puts a new spin on the phrase “fast food?” To eat, enjoy right out of the jar or invert onto a plate or bowl. Viola. And in case you’re wondering, yes, they will last a few days in the fridge! Here is one of the Asian Salads, fully three days later. Still fresh and flavorful!
The following items used today were purchased from Fred Meyer: (2) 4-packs of the super cute pint-sized Ball canning jar sets (found on the baking aisle), sesame seeds (purchased in bulk), fresh organic red bell peppers, organic carrots, and organic celery.
Join me Friday for my next post in this 10-part series!
Disclosure: Fred Meyer has not compensated me to run this series, but has teamed with me by providing me with store credit to use to purchase and highlight items throughout this series. This partnership was actually proposed by myself, so you better believe the ideas and concepts are 100% mine. 😉 For more information on how this site makes (and does not make) money, there’s no mystery there – just visit my Disclosure Policy.