Make-Ahead Jar Salad Stays Fresh for Days: Healthy Table Recipe

This week, we’re excited to share another dish to add to your make-ahead meal list — and this one comes in a glass mason jar. The big advantage? Our healthy Mediterranean salad can stay fresh in a jar for several days.

The trick is to put the dressing — homemade or store-bought — in the bottom of the jar. Then add hard vegetables like onions and bell pepper to enhance the flavor of the dressing. Follow this with soft vegetables like cucumbers and zucchini. Then add whole grain pasta and a layer of protein – tuna, chicken and/or beans. Finally, add the lettuce leaves and nuts or seeds. The greens will stay crisp and the whole salad will stay fresh in this glass jar. When you’re ready to eat the salad, simply shake the jar to spread the dressing and grab a fork.

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Another advantage of this salad is time saving. It is easier to wash and cut a few more vegetables at once than to do the same task several times during the week. Get your creative kids or difficult adults involved. Let them choose their favorite vegetables and make individual salads in separate little jars. For those who like a little sweetness – garnish with some raisins or dried cranberries.

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This salad is a great way to make sure the whole family eats more vegetables every day. The United States Department of Agriculture recommends that children 2 to 3 years old eat 1 cup of vegetables daily and increase by ½ cup every few years to 3 cups for children 14 to 18 years old. Adults should aim for 2-3 cups of vegetables per day. Vegetables are low in calories and high in nutrients like fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants – essential for your health and maintaining your body. Research shows that people who eat more vegetables and fruits as part of a healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of certain chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.

When schedules and seasons change, our busy lives get busier. But with a little prep time and a few mason jars, you can whip up your lunch a few days in advance. Or you can pack a quick picnic for your family during the last days of summer or the first days of fall.

Bethany Thayer is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at Henry Ford Health. For more recipes and health information, visit If you have any questions about today’s recipe, email [email protected]

Mediterranean Layered Salad in a Mason Jar

Makes: 1 serving / Preparation time: 20 minutes / Total time: 20 minutes 2 tbsp Italian dressing 1 tbsp diced red onion 5 cherry tomatoes ¼ cup bell pepper, chopped ¼ cup cucumber, chopped ¼ cup zucchini, chopped ¼ cup green beans, trimmed (ends removed) ¼ cup cannellini beans no salt added, drained and rinsed¼ cup whole wheat fusilli pasta, cooked2 tbsp shredded low fat mozzarella cheese 2 oz low sodium yellowfin tuna, packed in water and drained1 ½ cup greens 1 tbsp Pine nuts

Assemble the ingredients as indicated to maintain the textures:

  • 1st layer: 1 tablespoon of Italian dressing at the bottom of the pot.
  • 2nd layer: red onion, cherry tomatoes, bell pepper.
  • 3rd layer: cucumbers, green beans, zucchini, cannellini beans.
  • 4th layer: whole wheat fusilli pasta.
  • 5th layer: cheese, albacore tuna.
  • 6th layer: field greens, gables.

Place the top on the jar.

When you’re ready to eat, shake the jar to distribute the dressing.

Notes: 1 liter wide mouth mason jars are best for large salads. The assembled salad will last up to 5 days in the refrigerator with an airtight lid.

By Henry Ford LiveWell.

415 calories (48% fat), 22 grams big (4 grams sat. fat), 31 grams carbohydrates28 grams protein496mg sodium33mg cholesterol300mg calcium9 grams fiber. Food exchanges: 1 starch, 3 vegetables, 3 proteins, 2 fats.

About Florence L. Silvia

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