Were back at it with the Mediterranean Diet Series! Today were going to discuss the lunch option of mason jar salads! Lunch is probably the easiest meal to cheat on and eat out. Everyone deserves cheat days every now and again, but eating out every lunch is going to catch up sooner or later.
I’ve been trying to clean up my eating all while being more organized with my meal planning and prepping. So I decided to try these mason jar salads. Pinterest is filled with recipes and how-to with this subject. However, here you’ll get the good, the bad, and the ugly!!
These mason jar salads usually keep for a week in the fridge without anything inside going bad. There is definitely a science to layering the ingredients, a science we will outline as we go! Some recipes I have seen put the salad dressing at the bottom of the jar… here is the problems I have encountered with this method…
- sometimes you get too little or too much salad dressing
- if you choose to dump out your salad at lunch, half the dressing sticks to the side as you go
- if you layer wrong or things slip and slide in transit… you’re not going to like it. I promise. Slimy comes to mind….
- and most importantly you can’t change your mind on the dressing type after you have made it!
Next item we need to address is the addition of a starch in the salad. Some salads, such as the Italian antipasto salad, have pasta instead of or in addition to lettuce. I am gluten intolerant, and gluten free pasta tastes pretty darn good to me when its warm and right out of the boiling pot. BUT I have not been able to make it work with these mason jar salads. It’s been a complete FAILURE!
- the pasta turns crunchy and brittle
- or if it gets too close to the dressing (if you are doing the bottom method) it gets slimy
I’ve tried several different brands of gluten free pasta with these salads and always seem to have the same results. So I avoid using pasta in mine. Before having to go gluten free I have used “normal” pasta in different dishes where its cold and sits for a while and never had this problem.
*** FYI cold pasta salad has the same issue with the gluten free pasta, crunchy, brittle, and unpleasant if its not consumed right away***
Layering Mason Jar Salads:
Bottom to Top
Hardy Veggies: cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, olives, carrots, brocolli
“Smush-able” Veggies: diced tomatoes, avocado, onion, corn, peas, green beans, bell peppers
Protein: mean, beans, cheese, hard boiled eggs (de-yolked for me!)
Lettuce: butter, iceberg, dark greens, light greens, whatever kind of greens you like
Croutons: croutons, tortilla strips, or anything crunchy that should be soggy; I have not found gluten free croutons yet…
A little heads up on the protein portion:
I have found that shredded cheese sneaks its way down to the bottom and gets soggy and slimy in the juices from cucumbers or tomatoes, or anything else that may “leak”. I like to use feta crumbles or cubed up mozzarella, cheddar, or Colby cheese.
Lunch meat works well sliced up or dice up any-leftover-protein-from-the-fridge and toss it into the salad. I tend to throw things in together like I would from a restaurant salad bar. There are many recipes out there that say “this many tomatoes” or “only these ingredients”, but those just don’t work for me. If they work for you I suggest this website. Its great!
Thanks Y’all! Come back for more from the Down Home Blog and the Mediterranean Series.