6 Mason Jar Salads That Make Meal Prep a Breeze

Goodbye, Sad Desk Lunch

greek salad mason jar
Leah Maroney
  • 01 of 07

    What Are Mason Jar Salads?

    mason jar salad set up
    Leah Maroney

    Mason jar salads are the perfect make at home lunch. They're not only a great way to use up leftovers, but also so easy to prep ahead of time. In order to make a mason jar salad that'll hold until lunchtime, you'll need a go-to layering technique. If you're looking to make a large, hearty salad, use a quart-sized mason jar for the following recipes.

     Here's our foolproof way to layer:

    1. Dressing First: Adding the moist layers on the bottom will keep the wet ingredients from getting your greens soggy. 
    2. Chunky Ingredients: Next, pop in things like grains and meats. Ingredients that soak up the dressing are ideal for this layer. They'll also help keep the dressing at the bottom since they're denser. 
    3. Sweet and Savory Fixings: All of those delightful toppings that make salads more than just a salad go in next. That means cheeses, nuts, dried fruit, scallions, and bacon bits. The meat and grain layer will prevent these ingredients from getting wet and, since these are usually dry, they won't get the lettuce soggy either. 
    4. Greens Last: Any kind of lettuce or greens go in last. Putting them at the top will keep them fresh and crisp.

    When you're ready to eat, flip the salad into a bowl. Since you stacked the lettuce last, it'll fall to the bottom and all the other ingredients will land on top, just as it would normally be when you serve a salad!

    Continue to 2 of 7 below.
  • 02 of 07

    Greek Salad

    greek salad mason jar
    Leah Maroney

    Authentic Greek salad actually has no lettuce at all but instead, is filled with just tomatoes, onions, Kalamata olives, and feta cheese. This version also includes cooked farro for some filling whole grains. Here, the layering isn't as important since no greens are included and all of the ingredients will taste great when they're infused with the dressing.

    Fill your jar 3/4 of the way and shake the salad when you're ready to eat. This is a wonderful option when you're on the run and don't have access to a separate bowl.

    Start with Greek Dressing:

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
    • 1/2 teaspoon honey
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

    You can also use whatever balsamic and olive oil dressing you want, whether it's store-bought or homemade.

    Then, layer the following ingredients in this order:

    • 1/2 cup cooked farro, quinoa or brown rice
    • 1/3 cup chopped green peppers
    • 1/3 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
    • 1/3 cup English cucumber, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon red onion, chopped
    • 1/4 cup crumbled feta
    • 1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
    Continue to 3 of 7 below.
  • 03 of 07

    Buffalo Chicken Salad

    buffalo chicken mason jar salad
    Leah Maroney

    Think of this as a healthy spin on your favorite Buffalo chicken wings. It's easy to reproduce with either store-bought or homemade ingredients. 

    Start with:

    • 1/4 cup ranch or blue cheese dressing
    • 1/3 cup shredded chicken tossed with 1 tablespoon Buffalo wing sauce
    • 2 tablespoons chopped celery
    • 1 tablespoon diced red onion
    • 2 tablespoons corn
    • 1 tablespoon crumbled blue cheese

    Fill the rest of the jar with chopped romaine lettuce and sliced scallions for an extra bite.

    Continue to 4 of 7 below.
  • 04 of 07

    BBQ Pulled Pork Salad

    bbq pulled pork mason jar salad
    Leah Maroney

    Who would have thought you could turn leftover pulled pork into a weekday salad? It'll satisfy your need for a hint of sweetness, along with your cravings for tangy and salty. We also recommend adding bacon and you can easily substitute the barbecue pork with shredded chicken or even barbecue shrimp. 

    Start with:

    Top off with chopped romaine lettuce.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Burrito Bowl in a Jar

    burrito bowl mason jar salad
    Leah Maroney

    Burrito bowls when purchased for lunch get pricey after a while, but you can make one on your own with some simple ingredients. This simple vegetarian burrito bowl comes together for a fraction of the cost and tastes delicious.

    Start off by making a spicy ranch dressing:

    • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
    • 1/4 cup sour cream
    • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
    • 1 teaspoon vinegar
    • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
    • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
    • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
    • 1 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon cumin

    Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl with a whisk and use as much as you like in the bottom of the jar. You can keep the rest in the refrigerator.

    Then layer in the following order:

    • 1/2 cup cooked farro, rice, or quinoa
    • 2 tablespoons salsa
    • 1/4 cup black beans (cooked)
    • 1/3 cup corn (fresh or frozen that has been thawed)
    • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)

    Top off the jar with chopped fresh romaine and enjoy your homemade burrito bowl on the go.

    Continue to 6 of 7 below.
  • 06 of 07

    Thai Peanut Noodle Salad

    thai noodle mason jar salad
    Leah Maroney

    This Thai noodles salad is like takeout, but better! It's a great way to use leftover pasta and the nutty dressing comes together so quickly.

    The recipe makes a lot of dressing, and leftovers refrigerate well. It's tasty on top of chicken and rice. 

    First, make the Thai Peanut Dressing:

    • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, or rice vinegar
    • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
    • 2 teaspoons ginger, fresh or powdered
    • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 2 teaspoons onion powder
    • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
    • 1/3 cup brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup ketchup
    • 1/4 cup soy sauce
    • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • 2 teaspoons Sriracha

    Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth. Then layer the dressing on the bottom of your jar. 

    Here's how to layer:

    • 1/2 cup noodles
    • A handful of chopped peanuts
    • 1/4 cup grilled chicken 
    • 1/4 cup peas or edamame

    Top with some sliced red peppers and finish the jar off with chopped romaine lettuce. (You can also just leave the lettuce out if you want it to only be a noodle salad.)

    Other optional ingredients also include Asian pickled vegetables, shredded carrots, and shrimp.

    Continue to 7 of 7 below.
  • 07 of 07

    Caprese Salad

    caprese mason jar salad
    Leah Maroney

    Everyone loves a Caprese salad filled with mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil and this is a portable way to bring enjoy the deliciousness at work. This combo includes some pasta to make it extra satisfying. You can also add some grilled chicken to bump up the protein. 

    Start with a simple mixture of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. A balsamic reduction tastes extra delicious and adds a little sweetness.

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 teaspoons balsamic reduction
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
    • 1/2 cup cooked pasta, the shape of your choice
    • 1/2 cup diced fresh mozzarella or pearl mozzarella 

    Layer on some sliced cherry tomatoes, garnish with a few basil leaves, and fill the rest of the jar with fresh baby spinach.

    Take your gourmet salad anywhere you go.