Crunch-crunch: A week of (make ahead) spring salads in jars

Rainy conditions and toe-tingling cool temperatures dissuaded any notions I had of going out this past weekend. Instead I donned Danny’s hoodie for an extra layer of warmth, and flew about the place, tackling my to-do list with vigor, a cup of tea never too far from my reach.

I managed to tuck a delicate chicken and coconut curry with lentils away in the freezer, accompanied by a dozen soft chocolate ginger cookies, and a few other goodies. Danny is plenty proficient in the kitchen, but he’ll have his hands full looking after our three kiddos when I’m away; the least I can do is prep a few meals.

I even assembled a batch of salads in jars, so they are certain to get a serving of vegetables at least once a day.

Layered salad-in-a-jar is another one of my favorite strategies for warm weather batch cooking. The salad dressing can be added right in the jar and when the ingredients are packed correctly everything stays very crisp and fresh.

All you need is a quick shake, a fork and you can crunch away to your hearts’ content.

A week of Salads in Jars on #salad #jars #lunch #realfood

Practical uses for make-ahead mason jar salads

Salads-to-go have plenty of practical uses and are a healthier option that most portable foods. Here are some of our favorite ways to enjoy pre-made salads in a jar.

  • School lunch, office lunch – Danny can attest to this one.
  • Accompaniment for a gift of a sympathy meal – Now you can bless someone with a lasagna and a salad that can hold for a few days.
  • Picnic – Pack up the greens along with the sandwiches and the lemonade.
  • Fast at-home lunches, because moms need a healthy lunch too.

Tips for a week of salads in jars on #salad

What goes into a mason jar salad?

Pretty much anything you have on hand: a dressing, greens, vegetables, fruits and nuts. Think about what you love to heap on your plate at a salad bar and go with that. Don’t forget about beans, grains and legumes, as well as cooked chicken or ham.

Of course, I have some opinions on what works well, and what you may want to avoid, but they are just suggestions. I  avoid ingredients that emit a particular odor that gets stronger with time such as eggs, blue cheese, tinned fish, and raw onion. Now I love all of those ingredients in my salad bowl, but I try to enjoy them in a regular tossed salad, as an accompaniment to dinner, instead of packed into a jar.

I’ve also found that strawberries and diced tomatoes tend to ‘weep’ after a few days and get goopy in the bottom of the jar, so I avoid those. I suppose whole cherry tomatoes would be much better.

drying salad ingredients

Tips for the best make-ahead mason jar salads

Here’s a true story and a testament to the jarred salads. Last Friday Danny took a mason jar salad to work that I had prepared on Thursday. It contained, in order: dressing, feta, tomatoes, radishes, and lettuce. He went for lunch with friends, forgot about the salad, and came home for the weekend.

When he checked the refrigerator on Monday, he reported that the salad was still fresh and the lettuce crisp – five days after it was made, and he enjoyed it for lunch. Here are a few more tips for creating a lasting, portable salad:

  • Start with clean wide-mouth jar that is completely dry. Moisture is not the friend of a crisp salad.
  • Tear, don’t cut lettuce, as the cut edges will turn brown.
  • Always start with the vinaigrette at the bottom, and keep the greens from coming in contact with it or they will wilt.
  • Place a folded paper towel at the top of the salad, just before the lid goes on and it will absorb some of the excess moisture and keep the greens more crisp.
  • Avoid strong odors (egg, blue cheese, fish, raw onion, etc), as mentioned above. Bring them in a separate baggie if needed.

Two spring recipes for make-ahead salad-in-a-jar

a week of do-ahead mason jar salads

Spring Pea and Romaine with Feta, Cucumber, and Radishes

This time of the year, I can’t get enough of spicy radishes and sweet spring peas. I’ve combined them in this salad with just enough salty feta cheese and a handful of buttery toasted sunflower seeds for a little extra crunch.

A creamy buttermilk dressing lightly coats the greens and brings a nice tang to the salad.

salad ingredients

Spring Pea and Romaine Salad with Feta, Cucumber, and Radish, Creamy Buttermilk Dressing

All ingredients are divided between two quart jars.
4.72 from 14 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Salads
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2 quarts
Calories: 313kcal
Author: Aimee


  • 3 Tablespoons Creamy Buttermilk Dressing
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 3/4 cup washed and sliced cucumbers two mini
  • 1/2 cup sliced radishes
  • 3/4 cup fresh spring peas
  • 1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
  • 2 hearts Romaine lettuce torn


  • In the bottom of a clean, dry quart jar, spread 1 1/2 Tablespoons of salad dressing. Repeat with second jar.
  • Crumble 2 Tablespoons of feta into each jar on top of the dressing.
  • Add the cucumbers, radishes and peas, dividing them between two jars, and layering them.
  • Top with sunflower seeds and lettuce, again dividing the portion between the two jars.
  • Top with a clean dry lid and refrigerate for up to 5 days.


Calories: 313kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 594mg | Potassium: 349mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 620IU | Vitamin C: 28.4mg | Calcium: 142mg | Iron: 2mg

 Arugula, Blueberry and Bacon Salad with Almonds, Balsamic Vinaigrette

Peppery arugula, sweet blueberries and crispy bacon make this salad the highlight of the day – any day! Almonds add the necessary crunch and a tangy, dead easy, balsamic dressing brings everything together.

ingredients bacon-1

Arugula, Blueberry and Bacon Salad with Almonds, Balsamic Vinaigrette

Recipe requires two clean quart jars with lids.
4.72 from 14 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Salads
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2 quarts
Calories: 299kcal
Author: Aimee


  • 3 Tablespoons Balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1 cup diced yellow bell pepper
  • 1 cup blueberries washed and dried
  • 1/4 cup cooked and crumbled bacon
  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted almonds
  • 5 cups arugula or spinach


  • In the bottom of a clean, dry quart jar, spread 1 1/2 Tablespoons of salad dressing. Repeat with second jar.
  • Scatter yellow bell pepper and blueberries into the jars, dividing equally between the two.
  • Add 2 Tablespoons both bacon and toasted almonds to the jars.
  • Pack remainder of jar with well-dried arugula or spinach and cover with a lid.
  • Place in the refrigerator and keep for up to 5 days.


Calories: 299kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 39mg | Potassium: 525mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1375IU | Vitamin C: 151.4mg | Calcium: 135mg | Iron: 1.9mg

One more thing…Special Delivery!

A very dear friend (and Simple Bites contributor!) Megan of Stetted is about to welcome a sweet baby boy. I’m virtually sending a week of salads in  jars her way for those postpartum days, as I know nursing mamas crave their greens.

Also spreading a little love in this virtual baby shower are a handful of caring ladies who have also been in the kitchen for Megan. Be sure to check out their posts:

Megan, I couldn’t be happier for you as I watch you prepare for this baby. You’ve endured a kitchen remodel, and a cupcake marathon – girl, you are ready for this little one!! Best wishes to you and your sweet family as you experience motherhood all over again. It just gets better and better, let me tell you.

Three more ideas for mason jar salads:

What is your favorite salad and are you ready to make a take-out version?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

Subscribe For Free!

Like reading this post?
Get more delivered to your email inbox.


  1. I walk to work everyday and try to keep my bag light. Is there anything else I can use besides a jar that would be light weight?

  2. what a wonderful idea!! so glad I have stumbled upon your blog to find such an inspiring way to make some easy, healthy lunches and side salads ahead. Thank you for sharing!

  3. 5 stars
    Excellent idea!, I cook just for myself, so having to prepare a salad at a daily basis is tedious, and sometimes I end up trowing away not fully used ingredients (half cucumber, half tomato, half lettuce, etc). Now I can prepare salads for a full week and completely use all the ingredients.

  4. 4 stars
    Glad makes containers that come with small cups that can hold the dressing and they snap into the lids of all gladware.

  5. 4 stars
    I can’t eat salads without some sort of meat,ie grilled chicken or tuna usually. How would that fare in the jar?

  6. is the salad meant to be eaten right out of the jar?

  7. I thought it was an article about spring batch !
    crunch, spring and jars … all about Java EE ^^

    Enjoy your meal !

  8. Very helpful post. I prefer longer posts and I like to explain everything from scratch. Thank you for sharing.

Speak Your Mind

Recipe Rating