How to Make a Mason Jar Salad : Lunchbox!

mason jar salad collage

I’m sure by now you’ve been subjected to the Mason Jar craze! What isn’t to love about the classic look of home decor, painted jars, mason jar tumblers / drinking glasses and more from your grandma’s old stash! But something I found about a year ago has stuck with me and became a kitchen staple.

strawberry salad in mason jar

The Mason Jar Salad

Anyone can create their own salad and place them in a jar to stay fresh for 7 – 10 days!  It’s the convenience and handiness that I love for my busy days.  There are many different recipe combinations that you can create to make your own salad in a jar, but here are some basic tips that should be applied across the board to ensure maximum freshness and less prep time!

Wash and dry Wide Mouth Quart Mason Jars (lids and bands too).

I wash as many as I use with then current ingredients on hand.  If I have busy schedule for the week I will make at least 6 jars of salad (one for each day of the work week and one to grab and go on the weekend)

Prep (clean, cut, dice, slice, etc) all your ingredients for your salad.

Ingredients can vary for any salad created.  My creations usually consist of a handful of vegetables, salad greens, cheese and dressing.  If I’m in the mood for something sweet I’ll grab oil, strawberries, greens and mozzarella cheese.  The creations are endless, but try to use things you like and won’t get sick of over a week’s time. ;)  You’ll want to actually eat the salads you’ve made!

types of salad in jars

Build / Create Your Salad in a Jar / Layering Instructions

salad in a mason jar dressing

  • DRESSING:  ALWAYS, always, always, put the dressing on the bottom first.
    •  You can add as much or as little as you prefer.  I mainly choose a vinaigrette as they come out easier when you’re ready to eat and spread over my salad when dumping onto my plate.  Here’s a tip: When using a dressing that is creamier (think, Ranch!) or thick it’s best to turn your jar upside down the morning you plan on eating the salad.  This will help the dressing run off the bottom and onto the salad making it easier to get out when it’s time to eat.

salad in a mason jar veggies

  • VEGGIES / FRUIT
    • Put in as much as you’d like.  A basic vegetable salad I’m creating will always contain: chopped carrots, green olives, diced onions, green peppers and mushrooms on top of the dressing.  I love how the veggies will soak up and marinate in the vinegary dressings to take in the flavor.  These also act like a barricade to keep the meats and greens out of getting soggy!  {Once I used chopped broccoli, this was the only time I’ve made salads in jars that I couldn’t eat after about 6 days.  I’m not sure if the broccoli went bad but the smell was HORRIFIC! I had to dispose what was left of my salads — therefore, I don’t use this ingredient any more.}

salad in a mason jar meat toppings

  • MEATS 
    • Grilled, chopped and diced chicken is my go-to for mason jar salads.  It’s easy for me to prepare a few chicken breasts at a time on the grill and then chop them up to spread across a weeks’ worth of lunches.  Again, your taste buds may differ and you may want chopped ham, sliced steak or tofu!  Whatever works for you… the “meats” are added on top of the veggies so they don’t soak up the dressing.
  • CHEESES / SEEDS / TEMPERAMENTAL VEGETABLES
    • Adding shredded cheese in on top of the meat is my next step.  You can also use cheese crumbles such as blue cheese or feta.  My personal favorite is cheddar.  Above the cheese you’ll add your salad topper like sunflower seeds ~ or dare I say BACON (bits) :) .  This is the time you’ll add temperamental veggies such as avocado that would otherwise be ruined by laying in the dressing.

salad in a mason jar

  • GREENS
    • Time to stuff the rest of your jar with all the greens you’ve ever desired.  I personally prefer romaine hearts or spring mix but simple iceberg lettuce will even suffice.  I stuff the lettuce in the jar so it’s packed to the brim.  I even push the rest of my salad down when I am stuffing in the lettuce so I can cram in twice as much as room allows.

 As long as you keep the jar upright the salad will stay fresh and the lettuce won’t be soggy.  {Bleh, soggy lettuce. } I stack them up in the fridge and then keep them in there until I leave for work that day or until we are headed out on a busy weekend.  For about an hour or less of prep time, I’ve made my lunch for a week solid!  I throw the jar of salad in my bag and take it along.  If I can refrigerate throughout the day I’ll do so until lunch time.  (Like I mentioned before, if I’ve used ranch dressing I’ll turn it upside down to get the dressing off the bottom of the jar)  When it’s time to eat I pop off the ring and lid and dive right in or pour it out on a plate / bowl so I can mix it all up.

 Want an even EASIER way to prep salad in a jar?

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You know, there’s an even more fashionable and clever way to create an easy Salad on the Go in a Mason Jar.  By adding a BNTO to go container right under the lid of your mason jar you can keep your dressing (peanut butter, dip, hummus, yogurt, milk) separate from your salad (veggies, grains, cereal, chips, and more).  These are so cool and make packing a quick snack even easier.  You can purchase a BNTO Travel Mason Jar Container from my Etsy Shop for only $8.75 or as a complete mason jar lunchbox set for $15!

*This post contains affiliate links to items that I make a small portion of commission when purchased.  As always, I would never suggest a product I didn’t love and use myself.

Desert Rose Dress and Tunic : Pattern Release

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I’m so excited to have been a selected pattern tester for CailaMade’s new pattern release of the Desert Rose Dress & Tunic.

I am at a mild beginner level when it comes to sewing.  I bought myself a machine in late December 2013, opened it up sometime in January and started watching tutorials, scouring YouTube and searching Pinterest for the best advice on learning.  What I found was, jumping right in and sewing, sewing, sewing was the best teacher.  Let’s just say my seam ripper and I have become quite intimate friends over the past 6 months.

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So as I have continued to try new projects: camera strap cover, pocket tissue holders, coffee sleeves, and the occasional skirt for my daughter, I found a lot of sewing and craft bloggers to follow.  Along that path I found Caila Murphy.  I read a post where she was looking for people to apply to “test” her new pattern she was releasing.  When I saw a picture of the Desert Rose Dress on her daughter, I fell in love instantly and applied to “test” it out.  On my application I told that I hadn’t used a pattern before, let alone tried to sew a complete, functional and wear out of the house dress.

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There were over 300 applicants, and I was one of the thirty-ish chosen!  Why?  Caila said that I had no idea what I was doing (in a nicer way of putting it, though) and I would be a perfect candidate to test a pattern since EVERYONE of all levels would need to understand it and complete the project.  Wow!  So, they needed me, because I had absolutely no knowledge on sewing!  Awesome.

Desert Rose Floral Collage

We worked over a few months testing and sewing and trying and measuring the dresses / tunics.  Luckily, I have been blessed with a beautiful model that is sometimes cooperative.  So I began to test the pattern by printing it, cutting out my daughter’s measurement on the chart (Size 7), piecing it together, and planning what fabric to use.  While I had fabrics in mind, I wanted to do a “test” dress that allowed me to make mistakes unforgivably and not waste a ton of cash in the process.  So I decided to do the bodice out of Muslin as a cost effective choice.  Once I had the pattern cut out and laid out my fabrics to cut, pieced the bodice together and then sewed it, WOW!  I was amazed!  It worked!  I did it!  Almost, effortlessly.  Sure, it took some time to figure out how to properly pin, how to carefully stitch because the seam allowances would make a difference if I screwed it up…. but wow.  I did it.  I actually then decided to use some “real” fabric for the skirt.  I was able to cut, sew and piece that to the bodice making a complete dress!

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I am so impressed about how easy to read and clear the instructions were (written and visually) for the pattern.    Caila has made this beautiful dress pattern to be so detailed that even novice sewer can pick it up but yet, so aesthetically pleasing for even the expert seamstress.  I am so happy to have had this experience with the pattern process that it makes me appreciate the dress that much more!  I had so much fun with it that I finished my “test” dress then quickly whipped up a second one using my “real fabrics”.

Eggplant Desert Rose Collage

My little girl was so excited to wear this dress as soon as I finished it, she wore it to school the next day.  Not only being proud of myself for sewing this, I’m even more excited she was anxious to wear it (as she’s a pretty picky fashionista)!

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This pattern has officially now been released and is available for purchase on Caila’s site.  Head over here to purchase the Desert Rose Dress and Tunic .pdf Pattern.  This dress and tunic (option) have so many different alternations you can make to complete the dress for your needs.  There are steps for adding pockets, one button or two button, making a tunic or dress and more.  I love this pattern as this dress can fit for many seasons and be warn year round with a little sweater or shirt  and tights layered underneath.  

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I am so happy to be a part of this release.  I was not compensated for my review and blog post.  I was provided a free copy of the pattern to test, love and make a thousand varieties for my daughter.  :)  Opinions in the post are ALL my own.