The ubiqitous mason jar is incredibly multipurpose; it can be used as a pencil holder, a vase, or even a trendy cocktail glass. But perhaps its most exciting use is as a lunch container -- who needs Tupperware when you can brown-bag with a trendy Mason jar? These useful glass containers are exceptional lunch buddies: The tall, cylindrical jar makes it easy to ensure lunch ingredients all stay in the same place. The result: mason jar salads, which, in addition to being absolutely delicious have a spectacular, stacked appearance.
Salads are hard to pack for lunch because of their multiple moving parts: you need chilled lettuce, toppings, and a tablespoon or two of dressing. When the salad is tossed in a large plastic container, the ingredients mingle, which means, quite often, you're left with wilted greens come 12 p.m. The advantage of a salad in a mason jar is that, presumably, the ingredients, in their narrow container, stay stacked. Dressing goes in the bottom of the jar with the sturdy, less-absorbent ingredients (like nuts, meats, beans, or hard cheeses). From there, the more delicate ingredients are stacked on top, finishing with the most tender ingredient -- the greens! If the mason jar doesn't get jostled too much on your ride to work, you should be able to simply turn the jar over and empty your salad into a bowl. Ta-da! Non-soggy salad all week long.
In addition, mason jar salads can last for up to a week in the fridge. Try one of our favorite lunch salads or whip up your own favorite mix. Make five fab salads on Sunday and serve 'em up all week from your fridge at work -- watch as your coworkers grow green with envy.
Super Salads Perfect for Mason Jars
Pasta, Arugula, and Mozzarella Salad
For this delectable pasta-based salad, cook extra pasta for dinner and use that additional cup of (plain) pasta from last night's dinner and make it the heartier part of your lunch. Put the lemon juice-olive oil dressing at the bottom of the mason jar along with spices and capers. Next, add the mozzarella, which will marinate nicely in the dressing. The pasta should go next, as its bulk will prevent the delicate baby arugula from slipping down into the dressing. When it's time to nosh, flip the jar and enjoy!
Spinach Salad with Chicken, Corn, Tomatoes, and Feta
Tomatoes can be tricky in salads; their juices quickly disperse into the rest of your ingredients, but that makes them perfect for a mason jar salad. Place the chicken and corn at the bottom of the jar with the dressing. Tomatoes should go above the chicken -- top with feta, and finally the spinach.
Kale and Lentil Bowl with Avocado Dressing
This veggie-filled "bowl" is more salad than not. Pack the lentils at the bottom then our favorite creamy avocado dressing -- add the cheddar next followed by the avocado. The curly, tender kale should sit at the top of this hearty mason jar salad.
Roasted Sweet Potato and Farro Salad
Semipearled farro and roasted sweet potatoes lend nutty heft to this powerhouse lunch. Make the sweet potatoes on Sunday or just save a few from dinner last night. The farro should be at the bottom of your jar, followed by the sweet potatoes, and topped with dainty arugula or baby watercress.