I am enamored with Mason Jar Salads on many levels:
1. One of my obsessions is having a food plan for the week. During the school year I cook a huge stock-pot of soup or chili on Sundays and I also take time to cook/prep lunches, dinner entrees, and snacks. This helps immensely with my weight management and keeps Mike and I sane with our busy schedules. Even though I am home for the summer I plan to still make the Mason Jar Salads because they are so handy to grab when I am right in the middle of a project. I am hoping to come up with a plethora of recipes this summer to get me through next school year with healthy and satisfying lunches that involve fruit and vegetables.
2. As a visual person the salads entice me. It may sound silly but I find the Mason Jar Salads extremely visually appealing. They look like pretty terrarium gardens and always make me anticipate diving into the salad.
3. They really stay fresh. I have friends who have in the past few weeks reported that their salads have kept for OVER a week in the refrigerator. (The glass keeps the lettuce more crisp than if stored in plastic.)
4. The Mason Jar Salads eliminate wasted produce. I tend to be thrifty and utilize every fruit and vegetable I purchase, but I have many people say that these salads have helped prevent them from tossing out expensive produce. (It is incredible how many vegetables you can stuff into a jar). Try it and you will be a believer!
5. The jarred salads are igniting my creativity. Since I follow a plant-based meal plan salads are a daily staple and variety is key. It is so easy to fall into a food rut and this new concept in food preparation is helping me come up with new tastes and flavor combinations.
The outpouring of response from my Weight Watchers members and readers of my blog has been immense over the past few weeks. So much so that on my Produce Facebook Page I declared that June was Mason Jar Salad month. I have had so many people share fantastic ideas. My friend Sue ran with the Mason Jar Salad idea and came up with a recipe for a mouth-watering beet salad. Sue used extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar for the dressing. She then added roasted beets, celery, leeks, carrots (she doesn’t normally include those, but wanted more of a barrier between dressing and cheese), goat cheese, walnuts, sprouts, and red and green leaf lettuce. Oh my!
Brenda, my friend and Weight Watchers Receptionist, yesterday shared a recipe that used extra virgin olive oil, Mojito-Style Chickpeas: which is ~ 3 TBSP Lime juice, 1 TBSP honey, 1/4 tsp Himalayan Salt, 1/4 cup fresh mint, 15 oz chickpeas & 2 cucumbers all mixed together and then divided between the jars. She then added carrots, radishes, yellow pepper, orange pepper, tomato, and baby lettuce. Brenda got the recipe for the chickpeas (which I cannot wait to try) from greenlitebites.
LeeLa incorporated a Weight Watchers recipe for Santa Fe Salad with Chili Lime Dressing. Her salads use hearty beans and corn. The recipe can be found here on Pinterest. I am going to try these with my plant-based Tangy Avocado Dressing.
Cheryl made Mason Jar Salads for using: radishes, zucchini, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, two types of lettuce, and bottled dressing (one of them being a raspberry vinaigrette dressing with added grapes, strawberries, and some raisins.)
Ladies, thank you for the terrific Mason Jar Salad combinations, keep the recipes coming!
On Produce so far I have shared two recipes for Mason Jar Salads: Classic Salad Bar in a Jar and Waldorf Inspired Slaw. Here is the link on Pinterest.
Today’s recipe was inspired from a trip that I took to Israel last spring. In my very first blog post, back in January, I highlighted how easy it was to maintain a plant-based diet in Israel. The food was fresh and every dish was brimming with vegetables. I found myself eating salads for breakfast with dollops of hummus and avocado salad (similar to guacamole). One of my current breakfasts of choice is a salad or a vegetable filled plate.
In honor of the opportunity I had to travel to Israel, I wanted to create a salad that would bring me back to that sacred time and place in my life. Here is my creation…
ISRAELI FEAST MASON JAR SALAD: (I made six jars of salad)
I layered in the following order:
- 1 Tablespoon of vinegar in each jar (I used raw apple cider vinegar)
- Thinly sliced cucumber (I used one large cucumber and divided it between the six jars)
- 1/2 cup of Amy’s Twist on Tabouli (recipe to follow)
- Tomato (I used three medium tomatoes; 1/2 in each jar)
- Olives (I used two large green olives stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes and 4 Greek olives)
- 1/4 cup of hummus (recipe to follow)
- Green pepper (I used one large green pepper)
- Lettuce (I used romaine and red leaf lettuce)
AMY’S TWIST ON TABOULI
- 1 generous cup of quinoa (While most recipes call for bulgar, I opted for protein rich quinoa. In the past I would have used much more quinoa. The tabouli that I had in Israel was heavy on parsley and did not have as much bulgar as the tabouli I have had in the states)
- 1/4 cup of chopped onion
- 1 clove of finely minced garlic
- 1 bunch of parsley finely chopped (it ended up being two cups chopped)
- 1 lemon juiced (I also used the zest. I highly recommend using citrus zest in recipes because it really amps up the flavor. The zest is where all the essential oils are contained)
- Few fresh mint leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 Tablespoons of olive oil (normally I would put in 2 additional Tablespoons of oil but I knew that the hummus would have oil as well)
VITAMIX HUMMUS RECIPE (from the Whole Food Recipes cookbook)
- 30 ounces of chickpeas (it says to reserve one can’s liquid. Though, I always make my own from dried beans)
- 1/4 cup raw sesame seeds (I used jarred tahini)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (again I used the zest)
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- I also added freshly snipped chives since I an abundance in my garden.
The Israeli Feast salads turned out exactly as hoped and I have enjoyed two already. For those who eat cheese, feta would be a flavorful layer. The next time we grill I plan on planking and grilling eggplant and zucchini to add to the salad.
My trip to Israel was life-changing in so many aspects of my professional life as an educator. However, it greatly impacted my personal life as well both spiritually and physically. It helped me further embrace a lifestyle that is surrounded by plant-based meals.
Hummus and Tabouli are two of my go-to meal additions. You will love the flavor that they impart and will want to make them both alone and to enjoy in a lettuce salad, in a wrap, or on a sandwich. Imagine making a large version of this layered salad for a picnic or BBQ.
Hummus can be infused with endless herb combinations. Great additions are: caramelized onions, roasted garlic, roasted red peppers, olives, capers, and artichoke hearts. Sometimes I like to add a little bit of nut butter and I love to whirl in pumpkin, roasted squash, or eggplant.
Here is the pin to the Israeli Feast Mason Jar Salad on Pinterest.
Let me know what some of your favorite jar salad combinations are. I hope you are enjoying summer and the fresh produce in the supermarket, road-side stands, and at your local farmer’s market. Remember to let today involve beauty. Create it and seek it out. It is all about perspective. Cheers to health, fresh produce, and thriving! ❤
Here is a sampling of the hundreds of photos that I snapped in Israel: