This Southwestern Salad in a Jar has changed the meal prep game, y’all! Gone are the days of not having healthy options on the go and preparing salads in one container ahead of time only to find it wilted, soggy, and discolored. This tasty salad is oil-free, gluten-free and soy-free.
This salad in the jar concept solves both problems. You can meal prep your salads in one container to take on the go while preserving its freshness. So, yes, you can pre make your salads and have them come out tasting fresh and delicious. This is all done by stacking the ingredients strategically to keep everything fresh. This Southwestern salad jar is so yummy and has become a favorite.
Southwestern Salad in a Jar is made up of 9 key ingredients
- Green Goddess Dressing
- Brown rice (or quinoa)
- Black beans
- Red onion
- Sweet potato
- Red bell pepper
- Collard greens or kale
- Mixed baby salad greens or chopped romaine
You'll also need three 32-ounce quart-size (946 ml) mason jars with lids.
The combination of all the ingredients is the perfect blend. The Southwestern Salad in a Jar starts with the Easy Green Goddess Dressing at the bottom of the jar, and then it is layered with brown rice (or quinoa), black beans, red onion, corn, sweet potato, red bell pepper, and collard greens (or kale). You can sprinkle some hemp hearts or pumpkin seeds for an added nutrient boost. This salad in a jar is gluten free, soy free, and oil-free.
How to make salad in a jar
Start by preparing the brown rice (or quinoa) and roasted sweet potato. Better yet, if you have leftovers, use that! These ingredients must be cooked and cooled to room temperature before assembling the salad jars.
- Cook brown rice or quinoa according to package instructions. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
- Prepare the sweet potato by preheating the oven to 375° F (190° C). You can peel the sweet potato or keep the skin on. I leave the skin on because it provides nearly double the amount of potassium and boosts magnesium, iron, calcium, and zinc compared to a peeled sweet potato. Either way, dice the sweet potato and bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet at 375° F (190° C) for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.
- Prepare the Green Goddess Dressing. Set aside.
- Drain and rinse a can of low sodium (or no salt added) black beans. Set aside.
- Assemble the salad in a jar using three 32-ounce or quart-size (946 ml) mason jars. Line up the jars and start by pouring ⅓ cup of Green Goddess Dressing. Then layer the red onion, bell pepper, corn, black beans, sweet potato, and brown rice. Save the collard greens or kale for the top. Adding the collard greens at the top keeps it from getting soggy. Sprinkle optional pumpkin seeds, if using.
- When ready to eat, shake the jar to combine the ingredients and add to a large bed (about 3 to 4 cups) of mixed salad greens or chopped romaine lettuce. Enjoy!
Pro tips to save time preparing this recipe
There are three ways to shave time off pulling this Southwestern Salad in a Jar recipe together:
- If you don't already have leftover brown rice, use quinoa because it cooks in only 10 minutes. After cooking, spread cooked quinoa onto a shallow baking sheet or large plate and put it in the refrigerator to cool more quickly.
- To quickly thaw frozen corn, put it into a strainer and run it under warm water for a few seconds.
- Microwave your diced sweet potatoes instead of oven baking. Spread diced sweet potato evenly across a microwavable safe plate, loosely cover with wax paper and cook for 2 minutes. Give the diced potatoes a quick toss and continue cooking for another 2 minutes. This will help ensure a more even cook. Remove cooked diced sweet potato from the microwave and put it in the refrigerator to cool more quickly.
How to assemble the salad in a jar
There are different ways to assemble the salad in the jar, but two key considerations for having a salad that stays fresh for the 4 to 5 days you may have it in your refrigerator. First, the dressing always goes on the bottom. Second, the kale or collard greens is always at the top with any seeds you decide to add.
Be sure to consider the second layer that goes on top of the dressing. Often, it's the chopped onion, red bell pepper, or corn because these veggies have a high water content. If you add the brown rice as the second layer it may absorb some of the moisture from the sauce, so choose intentionally.
How to eat this salad in a jar
To enjoy this beautiful, delicious and filling salad, shake the jar to coat the vegetables with the dressing and pour onto a bed of mixed baby salad greens or chopped romaine lettuce.
We recommend removing the salad from the refrigerator about an hour before eating to take the chill off the salad dressing, especially if your sauce is thick. You see, when it's cold, the sauce may be too stiff to combine with the veggies when you shake it. This happened during an impromptu Facebook Live. 😳
When the dressing incorporates with the red onion, bell pepper, corn, rice, beans and collard greens, it makes a wonderfully flavorful topping to a large bed of mixed baby salad greens.
Frequently Asked Questions
The technique is all in the stacking! The salad dressing always goes on the bottom of the jar to limit its contact with the other ingredients so that things don’t get soggy. Then, stack the more crisp ingredients accordingly and withstand moisture like bell pepper, onions, cherry tomatoes, or any other ingredient that fits this bill. This next layer acts as a barrier to keep the other ingredients crisp and not get soggy. The top layer is the most protected layer, specifically, your leafy greens. So simple. The jar is now ready to be sealed tight and placed in the fridge.
Once ready to eat, you can shake (this may take a little upper body strength, lol) and pour on top of a bowl of mixed baby salad greens. If you’re like me and you don’t like your salads extremely cold, you can take them out in advance to warm up to room temperature. Get creative by adding your favorite salad ingredients.
Besides the fact that these salads are a terrific way to get your salad game on, they look beautiful once filled with various vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds options. The real reason behind the salad jar craze is the unique layering system that helps to keep your salad fresh throughout the week, which means you can meal prep your salads ahead of time and avoid those days of soggy wilted salads.
Salad in a jar typically lasts about 4 to 5 days, sealed airtight in a refrigerator. Layering the ingredients properly is also key to ensuring the salad stays fresh. This is what makes these jars so great for meal prep! If you play your jars right, making these salad jars in advance will have you eating a salad every day, which is so beneficial to your health.
Salad in a jar is a meal prep favorite!
What we love most about this salad in the jar recipe is the convenience and the ability to be intentional about eating more salads throughout the week. This is the perfect solution to a busy week or eating on the go. If you are not a salad person, but you know you need to be, this is a great option. Not only is this salad in a jar amazingly delicious, but it also visually looks so good you won’t be able to resist it. Give it a try the next time you meal prep.
We hope you love this Southwestern Salad in a Jar. Please rate and leave a comment below. Be sure to share a picture on Instagram and tag us @danielfastrecipes so we can see your creation!Print
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