I made my first Mason Jar salads earlier this week. I was nervous about them staying fresh, but it worked great! The lettuce was just as fresh on day 5 as it was on day 1. A few pieces at the bottom of the lettuce layer were a little wilted from being against the chicken, but it was still totally edible.
I read on some other sites that a creamier dressing may get watered down as the veggies release water but that Italian and oil based dressings don’t seem to have that issue. I used Kraft Lite Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing, and it did not taste watered down at all. I thought it still tasted delicious!
The full recipe is from The Hungry Girl Diet book, so I don’t feel right posting it here. However, it is similar to the Scoopable Chinese Chicken Salad on the HG website. As you can see from the photo, my salad contains mandarin oranges, water chestnuts, cole slaw mix, chicken, and romaine lettuce. I also had a mixture of sliced almonds and Fiber One Original Bran Cereal on top (instead of the typical crispy/fried noodles). I kept the almonds and cereal separate to keep them crisp. I have read that nuts do okay in the jars, but I wasn’t sure about the cereal because it can get soggy.
The recipe was not designed for a mason jar, but I just took the ingredients and figured out the best way to layer them based on my research. I have a list in my first mason jar post that explains the best order of ingredients.
My jars were so full that I couldn’t shake them to mix the dressing up. So, I poured out the lettuce first. Then I put the lid on and shook it up to distribute the dressing. I then poured the jar ingredients on top of the lettuce and added my almonds and cereal. By taking out the lettuce, there was enough room for the other ingredients to mix well. The rest of the ingredients got completely coated when I shook the jar up. That was great because I try not to use a lot of dressing and it’s normally hard to get all my toppings covered!!!
Overall, I’m pretty pleased with the whole experience. I LOVE that the lettuce stays fresh and that my salads are prepped and ready to go a week in advance. I only had to prep once, and I had lunches for the whole work week! Be sure to assemble ALL your jars right when you open the bag of lettuce. If you open the bag and let it sit for a couple days before putting the lettuce in the jar, it kind of defeats the purpose of using the jar.
I’d love to hear about your experiences with the mason jar craze! What are your favorite recipes and tips?