3 Tips & Recipes for Mason Jar Salads

Salads in a jar have become a real popular trend, just check out Pinterest and you’ll find a plethora of beautiful salad jar pictures.  Explore the food blog world and you’ll find them there and search Youtube and you’ll be able to watch a large selection of salad jar tutorials.

I’m a big fan of food prep, but the salad in a jar trend left me with questions about ease of preparations, freshness and even how to eat it.

I decided to test this trend and these are the three tips I’d like to share with you.

Tip 1: Preparation

Preparing Salads in a jar takes time, and the first time you do it you may think, “This is not saving me any time at all.”  Think of it as a reallocation of your time.  You’ll spend an hour making lunches for the whole week instead of that valuable time in time in the morning, when it may be harder to decide what to include in your lunch for the day.

Start with a clean, dry wide-mouth mason jar.  Making sure the jar is completely dry will keep your ingredients from getting soggy.  You’ll also need to add ingredients to the jar in a specific order to avoid getting a soggy salad.

Tip 2: Assembly

After all the pictures I looked at, the tutorials I watch and through my own trial and error I’ve learned that there absolutely is a right way to construct your salad to keep it fresh and crispy until you’re ready to eat.

Some examples that I saw didn’t take into consideration that if you have dressing and wet fruit or veggies touching the lettuce greens you’ll end up with a soggy, slimy, unappetizing mess.  The following is the recipe for keeping all your salad ingredients separated and  fresh until you’re ready to mix it together and eat it.

Layer #1:  Add 2 Tablespoons salad dressing

Layer #2:  Add wet veggies or fruits. (Think of things that would be good marinated in the dressing.

Avocado (it will stay green if it is in the dressing), tomatoes, cucumbers, jicama, grated beets, apples, berries, pineapple, mango, dried fruit…

Layer #3:  This is where you put in some protein or whole grains.  (It would be ok if these came in contact with the dressing).

Cheese, beans, chicken, beef, fish, hard boiled eggs, brown rice, quinoa…

Layer #4: Moisture resistant veggies. (These are the barrier between the dressing and the leafy greens, it keeps the green crispy).

Carrots, bell peppers, celery or onions…

Layer#5:  Add in your greens and top with chopped nuts and/or seeds.

 

Tip 3: Eating Your Salad

I found that the jar serves as the storage and transportation method for your salad.  Trying to shake the jar to mix the ingredients and toss in the dressing doesn’t work very well at all and instead of eating a variety of ingredients with each bite you end up eating the salad in layers.

I found the best thing to do when you are ready to eat it, is to dump it onto a plate or into a bowl and enjoy!  This would mean that if you are packing these salads for lunch you’ll also need a container to eat from.  You could keep a bowl and fork at your office if you are able to wash and store it there.

3 Mason Jar Salad Recipes

Power Salad

Layer 1: 2 Tbsp. Basic Dressing (see recipe below)

Layer 2: ¼ cup Cucumber, ¼ cup celery, ¼ cup jicama

Layers 3: 2 oz. smoked salmon or roasted chicken, optional

Layers 4-5: Kale, arugula, red leaf lettuce, spinach, sprouts, 2 Tbsp. chopped walnuts.

Basic Dressing:

Ingredients:

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

3 Tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth.

 

Mexi-Mango Salad

Layer 1: Whisk together the following ingredients for the dressing in the bottom of the jar.

1½ Tbsp. olive oil

1½ tsp. fresh lime juice

pinch of cayenne

1/8 tsp. oregano

1/8 tsp. sea salt

1/8 tsp. cumin

1/8 tsp. garlic powder

Layer 2: ½ of an avocado, diced, ¼ cup diced mango, ¼ cup grated carrots

Layer 3: ½ cup cooked quinoa, ¼ cup black beans, ¼ cup frozen corn

Layer 4-5: 2 Tbsp. minced green onions, up to 1 Tbsp. minced jalapeño pepper, 2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro, handful of spinach

 

Club Salad

Layer 1: 2 Tbsp. Sweet Lemon Dressing

Layer 2: ½ an avocado diced, ¼ cup diced cucumber, ¼ cup diced tomatoes

Layer 3:  ¼ cup diced chicken, 1 hardboiled egg, diced

Layer 4: 1 thinly sliced carrot

Layer 5: green leaf lettuce and spinach to fill the jar topped with 1 Tbsp. raw sunflower seeds

 

Salads will last up to 1 week in the fridge, so make a weeks’ worth at a time and then just grab your lunch every morning.

The Benefits of Strawberries

Spring brings us a bounty of delicious veggies and fruit including juicy strawberries.  Right now my strawberry plants are loaded with delicate white blossoms and the hope of plump red and juicy berries in the next couple of months.

Fortunately while I wait for my berries to grow, this seasonal treat is also available in the produce aisles.

Strawberries are considered one of the healthiest fruit.

Six Reasons to Eat Strawberries

Rich in Antioxidants

Strawberries contain rich amounts of both vitamin A and vitamin C.  Both of these are powerful antioxidants.  An antioxidant helps counteract the damaging effects of free radicals in the body.  Free radicals cause stress in the body that are responsible for the aging process and inflammation.

Protects against Cancer

The antioxidants in strawberries also protect against cancer.  Studies show that anthocyanin, a specific antioxidant found in strawberries, significantly inhibits the growth of liver cancer cells.  Berry consumption has also been shown to reduce the risk of breast, colon, prostate and skin cancer.

Defends against Heart Disease:

Flavonoids that are responsible for the vibrant color and delicious flavor of strawberries lower the risk of heart disease.  The antioxidants in strawberries help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by limiting plaque build-up in the arteries, creating improved circulation and blood pressure.

Protects Skin from Damage:

Strawberries contain rich amounts of vitamin C and vitamin A both of which have skin improving benefits.  These vitamins increase skin hydration, natural skin oil production, boost collagen production to lower the appearance of wrinkles and improve elasticity.  Vitamin C also has the ability to protect the skin from ultraviolet rays.

Boosts Brain Function:

Studies indicate that a diet rich in berries have the potential to protect the brain from cognitive decline associated with aging.  Berries can reduce inflammation associated with memory loss from diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.  Just 1 cup of strawberries provide nearly 30% of your daily manganese intake.  Manganese is essential for proper nervous system and brain function and has been shown to protect against neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.

Helps with Detoxification:

The antioxidants vitamin A and vitamin C are necessary for the processes of removing toxins from the body.  One cup of fresh strawberries also provide a good source of dietary fiber to help the body eliminate toxins.

Buying and Storing Strawberries:

Buy ORGANIC STRAWBERRIES. Nearly 60 different pesticides have been found on strawberries. Strawberries are always one of the top EWG’s Dirty Dozen Foods.  The abundant fungus on strawberries prompts farmers to spray, and pesticide residue remains on berries sold even at farmers markets. Strawberries are the most chemically treated crop in California.

For full nutrition and flavour buy fresh strawberries.

They need to be firm, plump, have a deep red color with a glossy sheen, and have green caps.

Strawberries, once picked, do not ripen further.

Strawberries that are dull and have a dark color will be overripe and if they have white, green or yellow patches they will be underripe and sour.

How to Store Strawberries

Consume strawberries as soon as you harvest or purchase them.

Store strawberries unwashed in the coldest part of your refrigerator for only about two days.

Only wash strawberries when ready to consume.  To wash strawberries, place them in a colander and rinse them under running cold water. Do not soak them for they will lose their color and flavor. Do not remove their caps until after you have washed the berries

You can also freeze them for longer storage and to utilize a generous harvest.

Recipe Ideas with Strawberries:

Strawberry Vinaigrette

Strawberry Chia Jam

Grain-Free Thumbprint Cookies

Strawberry Sugar Scrub

Springtime Recipe Round-Up

There is nothing like the feeling of spring, it’s so invigorating after a long winter when the weather warms up, flowers start to bloom, and the sun shines longer every day!

It’s time to get busy in the kitchen with a new set of ingredients. . . make way for all the beautiful greens of spring veggies and the gentle colors of spring fruit.

I’ve shared my favorite springtime fruits and veggies and their nutritional benefits, today I’m sharing some delicious recipes to inspire you to use them all.

Go get busy in the kitchen this spring with these delicious spring recipes from many of my fellow Culinary Nutrition Experts, featuring recipes made with asparagus, strawberries, apricots, rhubarb, beets, peas and assorted greens.

Raw Rhubarb Quencher

Move over lemonade, there’s a new summer libation in town! Meet the Raw Rhubarb Quencher. Quick, simple, a little tart and incredibly refreshing.

Raw Rhubarb Quencher by Sheena Scott

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Butter

An excellent alternative to traditional Strawberry Jam.  This Strawberry Rhubard Butter is sweetened with honey and uses apples in place of pectin.

Strawberry Rhubarb Butter by Meghan Telpner

 

Crunchy Corn Mango Beet Salad

Add some pizazz to fresh greens or homemade tacos with this zesty salad.

Crunchy Corn Mango Beet Salad by With Health and Gratitude

 

Creamy Asparagus Leek Soup

This is an easy to make, healthy, everyone-loves-it soup!

Creamy Asparagus Leek Soup by Fresh is Real

 

Greens and Grapefruit Salad

 

As the bounty of winter citrus produce begins to yield to the tender greens of spring this salad helps you bid farewell to winter and welcome spring with open arms.

Greens and Grapefruit Salad by Tammie Duggar

 

Strawberry Shortcake Quick Oats

You may feel like you’re eating dessert for breakfast, but don’t worry this recipes is filled with nutrient dense ingredients to fuel you through the morning.

Strawberry Shortcake Quick Oats by Juliette Lacroix

 

Beet-mus (Roasted Beet Hummus)

A delicious allergen-friendly twist on hummus made with roasted beets that are so healthy and excellent for helping your body detoxify.

Beet-mus by Sondi Bruner

 

Colorful Quinoa Salad

This springtime salad contains a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.  But, don’t worry too much about those details, simply enjoy the amazing textures and flavors that will surely be energizing to your body!

Colorful Quinoa Salad by With Health and Gratitude

 

Chocolate Strawberry Pancakes

Strawberries sure offer lots of nutritional benefits and taste great in their own right, but pair them with chocolate and it’s a whole new level of delicious!  Try these gluten- and dairy-free Chocolate Strawberry Pancakes today!

Chocolate Strawberry Pancakes by Jessica Mitton

 

Wild Strawberry Mint Salsa

Do you need a new way to use all those delicious strawberries?  If you’re someone who likes a good chip and dip this recipe is for you!

Wild Strawberry Mint Salsa by Sheena Scott

 

Apricot Ginger Cookies

Take the bounty of fresh apricots, dehydrate them for later and when later comes…make these delightful cookies!

Apricot Ginger Cookies by Tammie Duggar

Springtime Veggies

Springtime is here and that generally means warm days, cold snaps and sudden showers.  All that unpredictable weather brings us the amazing beauty, colors and flavors of spring.

With longer and warmer days it’s time to start seeing springtime veggies and some favorite fruits too!  Following the seasonal patterns of fresh produce will help you pick the freshest and most nutrient dense varieties so check out your local springtime farmer’s markets or even the produce section in the grocery store.  Spring produce can offer a wide variety of choices depending on where you live, check out this reference guide to see what is available locally in North America.

My Top 14 Springtime Favorites

Avocado: Avocados are considered a spring fruit on the West Coast and a fall fruit in Florida.  Avocado is an excellent source of folate for brain health and potassium for heart health.  Packed with healthy fats to reduce inflammation and keep you feeling full and satisfied.  Due to the wonders of transport, we can enjoy avocados virtually year-round.

Apricots: Apricots are high in lycopene and beta-carotene making them great guardians of the heart and eyes. They also provide the benefits of fiber and are packed with vitamin A and other cancer-fighting phytochemicals. The peak season for this fresh fruit is from May to August.

Asparagus: Asparagus packs a whopping amount of vitamin K, which is important for bone health and is high in folate, which helps maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.  Although asparagus’s peak season is considered to run from April to May, in warmer climes, the green spears can appear as early as February. Asparagus is delicious steamed, grilled and oven roasted.

Broccoli: Immune system boosting, cancer fighting and anti-inflammatory. Excellent source of fiber which helps lower cholesterol.  Supports all phases of the bodies detoxification process.  Eat it raw on a salad, steamed in a stir-fry, roasted in the oven, or blended into soup.

Beets: Excellent source of antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties and promote detoxification, and have cancer-fighting properties.  Beets are delicious eaten raw, steamed or roasted.  Beet green can also be added to salads, juiced, blended into smoothies or added to soups and will provide a slightly bitter flavor.

Carrots: Carrots are high in beta-carotene which can be converted in the body to vitamin A which is essential to help maintain healthy eyesight.  Carrots are also rich in carotenoids which help regulate blood sugar.

Dandelions: Dandelions, generally known as weeds, should be eaten.  Dandelion greens have more vitamin A than any food except cod liver oil and beef liver! They are also rich in calcium, potassium, vitamin K and fiber.

They are also beneficial in easing digestion, decreasing inflammation, aiding in detoxification and eliminating water retention.  Add dandelions to your morning smoothie, steep to make tea, or toss into a salad.

Fennel: Revered for its unique licorice-like flavoring, fennel contains a unique blend of phytonutrients that are powerful antioxidant that reduce inflammation and reduce the risk of cancer, and when combined with fiber, as is the case in fennel, can help eliminate potentially carcinogenic toxins from the colon to prevent colon cancer.  Add to stir-frys, salads or soups.

Grapefruit: Rich in vitamin C to help boost immune function and reduce inflammation.  High in Lycopene which has been shown to have anti-tumor properties.  The pectin in grapefruit helps lower cholesterol.

Kale: Kale is loaded with antioxidant vitamins, and rich in the natural plant compounds called phytochemicals.  Provides high doses of Vitamin K, A and C.  Make some delicious crunchy chips, toss into a salad or blend into a smoothie or soup.

Peas: Like most legumes, peas are low in fat and high in fiber and are a good source of plant protein. Green peas can usually be found year-round, in fact, only 5% of peas are eaten fresh due to canning and freezing.  They are at their peak from April through July.

Radishes: This quick-growing plant is often red or pink in hue and imparts an earthy, spicy flavor to dishes. Add raw radish for a burst of flavor  that ranges from mild to sharp, depending on variety. Packed with vitamin C and potassium for immune boosting and kidney and cardiovascular health benefits.

Rhubarb: Rhubarb is a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and manganese. Rhubarb stalks (the only part of the plant that should be eaten, because the leaves are mildly toxic) lend a crisp, tart addition to recipes. Harvested from April through July and can easily be found frozen year-round.

Strawberries: Strawberries are available year-round in most areas of the country, but their peak season is from April until June. They are also packed with phytonutrients, fiber and vitamin C, with just 1 cup meeting 100% of your daily vitamin C needs.

Do you need some more recipe ideas for your springtime produce?  Let this delicious collection of recipes help you celebrate spring!

Spring Celebrations eBook is filled with recipes for every time of the day: juice and smoothies, hearty breakfasts, scrumptious salads, soups and snacks, delightful dinners and desserts.

Favorite Cookbooks- Recommended Reading

Recipes are everywhere on the internet, but they will never replicate the enjoyment of cracking the spine of a printed cookbook, thumbing through the crisp pages for inspiration and bookmarking the most appealing recipes to try.

These are just a few of my favorite paper cookbooks that I use.  I love them because they are full of gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and paleo recipes that are so different from the recipes I grew up making and eating.

 

The Undiet Cookbook

Author: Meghan Telpner, Author, nutritionist and founder of the Academy of Culinary Nutrition.

About: I’ve been waiting for the release of Meghan’s cookbook since she first announced she was writing it. Her first book, Undiet, was an amazing lifestyle guide.

This companion cookbook completes the set to provide the most absolute, easy-to-implement lifestyle changes required for long lasting health.  I have finally found a cookbook that follows my own food philosophy. This cookbook will empower you to take your health into your own hands.

 

Against All Grain

Author: Danielle Walker

About: I have been strictly gluten free for almost 9 years and limit others grains that I eat to 1-2 times per week.

The recipes in this book are satisfying and will not leave you feeling deprived or like you’re missing something.

Danielle proves that omitting grains, gluten, dairy, and refined sugar doesn’t correlate with sacrificing taste; in fact, just the opposite.

 

Eat Raw, Eat Well

Author: Douglas McNish

About: When I was first introduced to raw food recipes 20+ years ago I wasn’t very impressed.  This book changed all that!  It is an impressive collection of recipes will appeal to both novices and veterans of the raw food lifestyle.

With easy to follow instructions and with super yummy recipes for hearty breakfasts, satisfying soups, sumptuous main courses, and decadent desserts that will satisfy everyone.

 

The Nourished Kitchen

Author: Jennifer McGruther

About: The Nourished Kitchen is based on the Farm to Table approach and Traditional Foods Lifestyle.

Traditional foods are described as the foods of gardens and of farms. They represent a system of balance, emphasizing the value of meat and milk, grains and beans, vegetables and fruits.

The Nourished Kitchen my go-to book that inspires me to get back to basics and cook nutritiously and conscientiously.