Happy New Year!
I knew from the moment I set out on this 60 day challenge that the only way to succeed was to be completely organised in my meal planning and to always be thinking at least one meal ahead. The problem for me in the past has been that most days I’m at my busiest in the mornings and once the lunchtime hunger hits I’m completely unprepared for it. By this time the thought of stopping to make a salad seems like too much effort and the next thing you know the biscuit barrel has been raided.
The solution? Salad in a jar.
Salad in a jar means that I can prepare 3-4 days worth of lunches all at once and have them lined up in the fridge ready to go. Here’s how…
1. Pick your lettuce base
I used 2 x 100g bags of mixed baby leaf mesclun salad (it’s worth mentioning at this point that you can buy these at Aldi for $0.99 each!). Wash the lettuce and spread on a clean tea towel to dry while you prepare your add-in veg. If your lettuce isn’t dry enough by the time you start filling your jars, dab with paper towel or put through a salad spinner. Too much moisture and the lettuce will spoil quickly.
2. Prepare your add-in veg
For me it was cucumber, celery, carrot, cherry tomato, snow pea sprouts & coriander.
3. Pick a protein
I used thinly sliced cooked beef steak (I made 3 jars with approx. 100g of beef in each plus 1 jar without so I can add a tin of tuna or leftover chicken on the 4th day).
4. Layer your jars with salad
I put the beef on the bottom then added all the veg starting with the heavier veg first – capsicum, then celery, carrot, cherry tomato, cucumber, snow pea sprouts and coriander. Add the lettuce on top, pushing as much down into the jar as you can. It might seem like you’ve got way too much lettuce, but the 2 full bags easily fitted into my 4 jars.
5. Seal lid tightly and refrigerate
To serve I added a little fetta, some avocado and dressing.
If you’re going to include a dressing in the jar, make sure it’s always on the bottom with veggies that suit ‘pickling’ in the dressing like mushrooms, cucumber or onion. Otherwise all the other ingredients will go soggy.
There are entire websites dedicated to this brilliant idea and a quick Google search will give you more than 16 million hits. Also, Mark Sisson of the Primal Blueprint does a great ‘big-ass salad’ and you can read more about his salad adventures here and here.
‘Why not just use plastic containers?’ you ask. It’s about the layering and the convenience.
Layering – You can put the heavier salad ingredients on the bottom of the jar and finish with the lettuce and herbs on top. This will stop your salad greens from bruising and will keep them fresher longer.
Convenience – They’re easy to store in the fridge, dishwasher safe, the perfect size for a big salad and don’t forget that they’re super cute!
From start up to clean up it took about 45 minutes to get the 4 jars in the fridge. A worthy investment on a Sunday afternoon if it keeps me on track during the week.