This Is the Easiest-Ever Way to Make a Mason Jar Salad

Mason jar salads are the portable, practical, and healthy solution to your sad desk lunch problem.

Photo: Getty Images

Here at Real Simple, we're all about meal prep. Spending a little time in the kitchen on Sunday saves you endless hours of culinary elbow grease during the already-exhausting work week. With lunches, dinners, and snacks already made, you have more time with your family (or your Netflix account) when you really need it.

Exhibit A: mason jar salads.

Salads make an excellent weekday lunch. With the right combination of grains, protein, and leafy greens, they fill you up without weighing you down, and give you the energy you need to power through the afternoon. Packing the salad, however, is where it gets tricky. Dress the salad too early, and it becomes soggy by the time lunch rolls around—and storing the dressing in an extra container makes for clunky transportation (and the possibility of leakage).

Meal prep fans, try packing your salad vertically in a wide-mouth mason jar—we guarantee it'll revolutionize your routine.

The dressing goes at the bottom of the jar and the greens sit at the top, ensuring they don't touch until you're ready to dig in (eliminating the possibility of soggy greens). Crunchy veggies, such as carrots, cucumbers, and bell pepper, are added to the jar on top of the vinaigrette, which allows them to marinate and soak in extra flavor. Next, pile on beans, grains, and protein; followed by greens and toppings of your choice.

Ready to enjoy it? Pour the salad into a bowl, and then mix until the components are well distributed. You'll find the salad tastes fresh and full of flavor, and all the ingredients retain their crispness and texture. This layering technique also means you can make multiple salads ahead of time—so you can prepare jars on the weekend to save time during the week. Use the guide below as an outline to transform your favorite salad into a mason jar lunch.

How to Make a Mason Jar Salad

Illustration by Sarah Ferone

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