A Salad Jar Party

Friends make the assembly more fun

Two of the top goals set every New Year are healthier eating and better time management. Salad jars are an easy way to check both boxes. With just an hour (or less!) of prep time, it is possible to have a week’s worth of tasty and nutritious meals ready to grab from the fridge when needed. The assembly process is more enjoyable if you invite friends with like-minded goals for a salad jar party.

First, you need the jars. While specialty salad containers are on the market, wide-mouth canning jars are a perfect solution. A pint-sized one works great for a side salad to go with a sandwich or soup. The quart-sized jar is best for full-meal salads. Ask your guests to bring two jars of their preferred size, or create a display of jars and lids from which they can choose.  

For the ingredients, have guests sign up to bring four cups of their favorite topping while you provide the leafy greens. In total, you will need two cups of toppings and four cups of salad greens for each quart jar. Set everything up assembly-line style and let your guests select their favorite ingredients. 

The key to a good jar salad is in how you layer the ingredients. Here are the steps:

  1. Start with the salad dressing. 

  2. Next, add sturdy veggies like carrots, celery, onions, bell peppers, and cucumber. You could also include roasted sweet potatoes, corn, and peas.

  3. Follow up with softer veggies or fruits, such as cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, and berries. Wait to add chopped whole tomatoes and avocado (coated with lemon or lime juice to avoid browning) until the day you plan to eat the salad.

  4. Now it’s time to add some cooked grains or pasta. Try quinoa, bulgur wheat, brown rice, orzo pasta, or noodles.

  5. Protein comes next, such as cheese or beans—or both! You can also add hardboiled egg, chicken, tuna, or leftover steak, though you should wait until the night before or the day of consumption.

  6. Now for the crunch layer—nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.

  7. Finally, it’s time to add the leafy greens and herbs, which will stay crispy far away from the salad dressing. 

Whether on your own or with friends, prepping salad jars for the week is an excellent way to meet both your New Year health and time management goals. Enjoy the peace of mind a line of colorful jars brings each time you open the refrigerator door. 

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