This is a tip I learned from Chef Megan Hutton. We contracted her to come teach a few cooking sessions in our Mindful Eating Program this past fall. I couldn’t believe it when she told us that we could make salad several days ahead of time. Brilliant!!
As most people do with a new recipe…I went home and didn’t even try it. UNTIL last week. And when I posted it on my facebook page, I knew instantly I would have to blog about it.
People asked for the recipe, the order of ingredients and how long it lasted. The first week that I made it, I didn’t measure anything. However, this past Sunday evening, I made an effort to pay attention to measurements!
Salad In A Jar Dressing
You could probably get a generic one at a kitchen store, but I got suckered into a party once. I try to pick something to buy that I will actually use and this was it! Honestly, I love it. Mostly because it has enabled my husband/ sous chef to make salad dressing in a jiffy.
Next is the assembly. For the past 2 Sundays, I have spent the evening preparing food for the week. The salads are my “to do” while watching Downton Abbey, which I have just started watching so don’t try to have a conversation with me about it ’cause I have no idea what’s going on.
Now… another show that keeps me company while cooking is A Chef’s Life, which is on PBS and produced by UNC-TV. I LOVE THIS SHOW!! It’s about a chef in small town NC who is doing Farm to Table cuisine. I’m pretty much caught up on all the shows to date while cooking this week, but I digress. 🙂
How To Make Salad In A Jar
- Options for marinated veggies:
- Options for hard veggies:
- Bell peppers
- Other ingredients:
- Place the veggies that would be good marinated in the jar first and add dressing (2T for a quart jar, adjust accordingly depending on the size of your jar). For example, carrots, cucumbers, legumes, tofu, onions, celery are very tasty after marinating a day or two in the dressing.
- Layer any other of the "hard" veggies. In the picture above, from the bottom, I have onions, then celery, then carrots, then cucumbers, then green pepper. Be sure to add the dressing either first, or anytime up to this point.
- After the veggies and dressing have been added, then put in some mini tomatoes. I do not cut these, as I imagine they would get soggy after a few days in the jar. Leave them whole and they will be delicious.
- At the very top, you cram in your lettuce. I chose an artisan romaine that was at Harris Teeter. Any of your favorite lettuce should work. Kale (which could probably handle the dressing), spinach, spring mix, iceberg. Pick your favorite. I like Romaine as it's a bit darker, but still crunchy. I find it easy to chop/slice and cram into the top of the jar. You do NOT want dressing on the lettuce. Put as much lettuce as you want, or as can fit.
- Put the top on and place in the fridge!
- Take a picture and share it with me on Facebook, cause I want to see the beautiful creation! 🙂
- For 6 quart salads, I bought 2 small heads of artisan romaine lettuce, one small pack of full size carrots, one small head of celery, one green pepper, one pint of tomatoes and I used about 2 cups worth of black eyed peas leftover from my freezer.
How Long Does It Last?
These salads were very delicious, even on Thursday! The lettuce was crisp, the marinated veggies very tasty and the lettuce wasn’t even brown at all. I was pretty amazed. Now, if you’re a picky person when it comes to the veggies, you probably want to eat it all by Wednesday evening.
There are many variations on this recipe. I found this article earlier this week. Maybe it will inspire you!
Oh my goodness, they all look really good! I’m not really a salad person, but this makes it so easy and so tasty that it’s giving me a change of heart. 🙂
BONUS: Weekday Meal Plan
Since I’ve been so organized with meals this week, I thought you might like some ideas for weekday meals. Here’s what we’ve got going on this week and some of the ‘plan ahead’ things I’m doing to make weeknights less stressful. Dinner time gives me a lot of anxiety as I come home from work, so having it planned out is a huge stress prevention plan for me.
- Prepare salad in a jar for lunches and Thursday dinner. Any leftover dressing was used to marinate leftover veggies. It’s never bad to have extra marinated veggies to add to salads, rice, etc.
- Prepare monday night’s dinner – Pasta with cream sauce (made with nutritional yeast and low-fat milk – recipe on the nutritional yeast package). Heat frozen veg medley and mix into the pasta.
- Chop onions, celery and carrots and store in jar or other container for use in Thursday night’s dinner.
- Make simple tomato sauce for lasagna on Friday (see recipe link below for lasagna which includes the tomato sauce ingredients).
- Dinner: Warm up pasta; saute spinach with garlic.
- Prep for Tuesday: cook potatoes in the oven for Tuesday dinner.
- Dinner: Cook salmon (recipe here: Baked Salmon), saute green beans with onion (i bought green beans in a bag that was already washed and prepped), heat potatoes (reheated from night before). This took 30 min to have it ready.
- Prep for Wednesday: NONE!!
- Leftovers night. Or eat out. Or eat cereal. I actually ended up cooking a chicken in the crockpot this Wednesday because it needed to be cooked. We’ll eat some of it, and freeze the rest and make broth overnight in the crockpot.
- Prep: make rice for Thursday dinner. If you really get motivated, you can even make the curry for Thursday dinner.
- Dinner: Curry (see recipe here – we are making it with garbonzo beans this week) over rice (reheated from night before), with salad (in a jar!!)
- Prep: make sure you have all ingredients ready for making lasagna in a crockpot on Friday.
- Start the crockpot lasagna in the morning! Luckily, I’m joining friends for dinner and they are doing the sides.
- TGIF Par-Tay!!
Now… when you find something that works, you’ve will want to write it down and save it so you can re-use it. That is what is called a “cycle menu.” Also known as “no sense in re-creating the wheel.” My husband and I actually write out our plan on a physical calendar (I know – so old school!). We make our plan on Sunday afternoon, do our shopping and prep on Sunday so we’re ready to face the week.
Let me know how it goes for you!