Wednesday, November 04, 2015

MASON JAR SALADS

Well, I'm about two+ years behind on this little trend.  In fact, I think it's hey-day may have come and gone.  BUT - I just decided that I can actually eat healthier for lunch.  It's not rocket science - it just takes a little planning.  Sometimes I have the gumption for meal-planning, and sometimes it gets lost in the shuffle.  But I feel better when I eat better - go figure - so this is what I am eating for lunch most days.

I shared it with friends on Monday and realized it would make a great blog post, in case anyone out there is like me and needs a little inspiration/encouragement to eat things that make you feel good instead of stuffing your face with leftover Halloween candy at every opportunity.  I actually really love salads, but I sort of hate making them.  It feels like a lot of stuff to drag out, and I get bogged down trying to figure out an appealing combination on the fly.  These problems are solved with the Mason Jar Salad.

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As a double bonus, they are really pretty.  Which counts in life, no matter what people say.  I am more excited about eating food that looks appealing than that which does not.  Fact.  I jumped in with both feet and made up quite a few on Sunday, because I knew John and I would both eat them.  There are SO many fun combinations out there!

So - here are the salads that I have made so far, including links to original recipes and how much I needed to be able to make four of them at a time.  I used Quart Mason jars that I purchased at Target, and most places recommended using about 2 TBSP of dressing per jar, which seems like a good amount.  You start with the dressing in the very bottom and layer the wet ingredients near the bottom and dryer ingredients at the top to keep it all fresh.  So far, they've been delicious!

Tofu Salad with Lemon-Sesame Dressing (found on Back To Her Roots, modified only very slightly to my taste)
(I weirdly had everything for this salad dressing on hand, so I tried it.  It's really quite tasty.)

Dressing: Makes enough for 4 Jars

2 TBSP tahini
2 TBSP lemon juice
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 Tsp sesame oil
2 TBSP rice wine vinegar
2 Tsp honey
1/2 Tsp salt
1/2 Tsp black pepper
1/2 Tsp oregano
2 clove garlic, minced

Other ingredients (enough for 4 jars) - Stack in this order from bottom up
Tofu - 1 block
Grape Tomatoes
Cucumber - 1 whole
Sunflower Seeds (2 Tbsp per jar, 1/2 cup total)
Chopped Romaine (1 head)
Spinach Leaves
(Sprouts would be good if I could find them)

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Strawberry/Lime Vinaigrette (also found on Back To Her Roots, slightly modified to my taste)

Dressing: Makes enough for 4 jars  (it's such a tasty dressing!)

4 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
4 Tsp strawberry preserves
2 TBSP fresh lime juice
2 Tsp mustard
2 TBSP white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste

Other ingredients (enough for 4 jars) - Stack in this order from bottom up
Strawberries (1 container)
Cooked Quinoa (a couple of cups) - (I used Whole Wheat Pasta in it's place, because I was out of Quinoa - it seemed to work well)
Pumpkin Seeds (2 Tbsp per jar, 1/2 cup total)
Feta Cheese (1 container)
Spinach

My Pinterest searching yielded so many good options!  Here are a couple more that I want to try soon.

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I hope this gives you the nudge you need (if you needed a nudge at all!) to try something different, pretty and healthy for lunch and dinner!

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