How To Build The Best Mason Jar Salad


For years, Mason jars have been an easy go-to for DIY crafts or for canning or preserving fruits and veggies. Lately, they serve as the trendy receptacles for easy, healthy meals that can be made ahead and saved for the later in the week, like overnight oats for an on-the-go breakfast or a veggie-packed layered salad to bring to work for lunch.

Ever wonder the best way to make one of these colorful salads you’ve admired on Pinterest? Darlene Zimmerman, a registered dietitian with the Henry Ford Heart & Vascular Institute, provides some basic tips for constructing the perfect salad in a jar (adapted from the Two Bite Club).

  1. The dressing: Consider making your own to cut back on calorie, fat, and sodium intakes. Put no more than 2 tablespoons in the bottom of the jar.
  2. The veggies: Overload with colorful options such as peppers, corn, peas, or tomatoes. Layer hard veggies just above the dressing layer and soft veggies on top of that.
  3. The protein: Opt for leaner choices such as grilled chicken, legumes, egg, cheese, or quinoa. Layer on top of veggie layers.
  4. The greens: The darker the leaves, the more nutritious the lettuce. Romaine, kale, and spinach are good choices. Layer on top of protein layer.

Once you know the basic method, you can build the salad with ingredients to your taste. Check out this recipe for a Heart Smart® variation of the Mason jar salad!


Makes 6 jars/servings

For the dressing:
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the salad:
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1/4 cup sliced red onion
1 cup canned chick peas, drained and rinsed
3 to 4 1/2 cups chopped Romaine lettuce

To prepare the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, Parmesan cheese, water, sugar, garlic, oregano, black pepper, and salt. To assemble salads, divide dressing equally between 6 jars. In a small bowl, toss together the red pepper and cucumbers and divide mixture equally between jars. Combine tomatoes and onion, and divide the mixture between jars. Add chickpeas to each jar and top with lettuce. Depending on the jar size, add 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup lettuce per jar. Cover each jar and refrigerate no more than 3 to 4 days. When ready to eat, add the salad to a bowl and toss. To avoid a soggy salad, always store salad jars upright until ready to eat.

For more heart-healthy recipes, visit the Heart Smart® Recipe Box. Also check out our EatWell section for nutrition advice and our LiveWell Wednesdays recipes and video cooking demos.

Heart Smart® is a registered trademark of the Edith and Benson Ford Heart & Vascular Institute at Henry Ford Hospital.

Categories: EatWell