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Salad in Jars

I'm tired of putting out a great big salad bowl for dinners, having everyone get their salads and then seeing that all the goodies in the salad have fallen to the bottom of the bowl and very little actually made it into people's salads.  A lot of those goodies sometimes are expensive, too - pine nuts or pancetta.  Sometimes the diced veggies like bell pepper will fall to the bottom.  Drives me crazy. Solution?  Salad in jars!

Salad in jars is not a new idea, but it solves my salad serving problem in a great way. I take individual pint sized, wide mouth canning jars and layer the individual salads.  Dressing and seasoning goes on the bottom, more sturdier components like chopped bell pepper or carrots go in next, and then the greens go on top. Everyone gets a jar, turns it over into their serving bowl and a perfect salad comes out with the perfect amount of salad ingredients.  Use a nice large bowl and toss the salad lightly.  

the perfect salad serving


There are a lot of advantages to using these jars for individual salads:

  • You can make up a few jarred salads at the beginning of the week and have them in your fridge all week.
  • If you have jarred salads in your fridge, you are more likely to grab one of those for lunch or dinner than junk food
  • The jars are glass for people who want to avoid eating out of plastic
  • They are great for picnics or cookouts
  • They keep your greens very fresh
  • If you pack a lunch for work, these are easy to grab in the morning.

my favorite - vinaigrette, cannellini beans, shaved parm, red onion, arugula 


The combinations are endless.  You can add cooked chicken, pasta, chickpeas - anything you want.  The salads stay fresh in the fridge for several days.  The pint sized jars make a perfect lunch salad or side salad.  If you want more of a meal, you can use the regular quart size jars and add more ingredients.  



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Reader Comments (31)

What a clever idea!! My salad dilemma is over. Thanks for posting!!

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNina

Thank U! A great idea, worth copying!

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIvana

Fantastic idea! I hate a soggy salad, especially if I'm taking it to work, so this is perfect!

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKimberley

I'm a widow so I only cook for myself now. I use the quart jar but I do not fill it to the top. When I'm ready for my salad all I do is just shake it up till everything is combined. Sometimes I even eat the salad right out of the jar!

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNorma

Thank you for the idea of a Salad in a Jar, what a great idea for the next pic-nic. When I had my catering service an hour before serving the salads I'd first put the dressing in the bowls then place the salad on top without mixing in the dressing, all I had to do at serving time was mix and all was ready. Your Salad Jar recipes look great, for sure I'll try one tonight.

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGian Banchero

Wow, it is indeed a great idea, now I can bring a salad to work and make everyone jealous, haha. Yes, great for picnics too, easy to pack into the icebox. Love your blog Elaine, you are indeed a genius.

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterfaye

Perfect idea!

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie

Love this idea, thank you! I was just planning a picnic for next weekend and these salads are perfect.

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTracy

Absolutely amazing idea! Love this! What size are those jars?

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Don't the greens get soggy? Whenever I keep greens in containers in the frig, they end up soggy after a day or so. Just wondering how long they will keep like this. Is it because the jar is full or how is it that they stay fresh longer? I love this idea especially to have them prepared ahead of time and just grab one for lunch or the beach.

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKathy C

About how much dressing do you put in per pint for
a lightly dressed salad?

(Great idea, BTW. I'm trying to eat more salads but sometimes I don't
feel like getting all the ingredients out and chopping. Doing it all at once and
then having several salads for the week at-the-ready is brilliant!
Thank you!!)

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

brilliant as usual

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterrhonda

From The Italian Dish:

Lisa: The jars are wide mouth pint size.

Kathy C: The greens stay remarkably fresh!

Linda: I just put about a tablespoon of dressing in the bottom for me, but I don't like a lot of dressing. It just depends on what you like.

August 13, 2013 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Finally, a great way to make salad for everyone! I love salad and can't wait to make these for everyone!

Thanks again for all of your great ideas and creations!

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCheri Shirey

I will try a tablespoon of dressing at the bottom and see how I like that.
Thanks much for answering.

Your blog is wonderful. I love it!

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

Elaine, interesting idea!, I use all sizes of canning jars for storing so many foods. I even Use them to freeze soups.

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie M

You are so right about the distribution of salad ingredients in the bowl. somehow the onions, especially, like to settle there. Very clever idea.

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJovina Coughlin

Love this idea! I'm feeling so inspired!! My husband takes a salad to work everyday, and it's always a mad rush in the morning as he chops and I'm trying to get the kids ready. I'm going to surprise him and make up a bunch for him-I'll even get creative so he has some variety. Thank you for the fantastic idea!!! And, because we buy so much lettuce at once (big salad eating house), this will actually help with storage in my fridge-YAY!!!!!

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlison D. From CA

I love the idea of using jars for salads. I always thought of using them for warm items being that you can heart it up in the container / jar. Thank you for the inspiration.

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDanielle Librera

YES!!! I love this! Salad Nicoise in a JAR here I come!

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGiGi Eats Celebrities

Your recipes and photography and truly beautiful. The salad in jars is a wonderful idea!!

August 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVeronica Montagnol

Love it! Great idea.

August 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLucia

Fantastic suggestion and delicious salads!

August 14, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterlia

Dear Elaine and your bloggers: Thank you thank you. I don't know how I found you, but I am so glad I did. My dear mother Antonina (Nina) Cirrincione Franceschiello expected me to learn to cook through osmosis. I watched her as closely as I could, but on my own, I could not replicate her methods. Elaine, you have provided invaluable information!!! I love this web site.
Renee (Franceschiello) Carey

August 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRenee

Interesting idea!! I haven't thought of having the salad in the jars!

August 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCooking fairy

Oh what a great idea! This is perfect!

August 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNikita

I make 7 Layer Salad in jars. The dressing is placed over the lettuce, peas, onions, celery. Cheese and bacon are on top of dressing (mayo & sugar). Sliced egg when it's time to eat. The jars have stayed fresh for 4 days------with the dressing in the middle !!!!!!!

September 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDawn

Great inspiration!

September 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVinnie V

I tried to do, it's amazing

September 19, 2013 | Unregistered Commentervouchers uk

Such a smart idea. Love it! I stold your idea and make up pint or quart size batches of stirfrys. Really this method can be applied in so many ways. I also store homemade dry baking mixes and homsmade rubs and seasoning blends in them.

May 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn

You can take this idea one step further. When making salads ahead for weekday lunches, you can keep them really fresh by vacuum sealing the jars with a Foodsaver appliance and a Mason jar attachment! The salad keeps very fresh and crisp with the oxygen sucked out of the jars. The jars, and lids are reusable too!

January 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLori

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