Mason jar salads are a perfect healthy lunch option
Moms make sure their bags are filled with snacks for their little ones, but when their own hunger hits, they’re often left hunting for healthy options. The mason jar salad craze lets health-conscious mamas craft flavorful, nutritious lunches in batches — the glass jar keeps the ingredients fresh, and the attractive layers make the salads look like the best option in the refrigerator.
Farmer’s Fridge gives mason jar salads a whole new treatment
Instead of defaulting to a vending machine, Farmer’s Fridge wants you to feed your hunger at one of their veggie machines. There are currently 14 Farmer’s Fridge kiosks in the Chicagoland area, and the company is growing. The gorgeous kiosks are made of reclaimed wood, but the contents are even more savory. In addition to seven fresh salads, Farmer’s Fridge kiosks offer breakfasts, snacks, and protein-filled jars of fresh, delicious food.
How Farmer’s Fridge works
- We get fresh produce every morning.
- We arrive at 5 a.m. and make everything from scratch… daily.
- We make everything in our local, fully licensed, shared kitchen… daily.
- We deliver the salads to the machine by 11 a.m. and remove the unsold salads (which we donate to a local food pantry)… daily.
- We discount any unsold salads by $1 at 6 p.m. … nightly.
Luke’s 5 steps to making the perfect Mediterranean Mason Jar Salad
- Prep the Dressing Early: Start salad construction by combining the dressing ingredients the night before to allow all the flavors to marinate and meld together. To make the Red Wine Vinaigrette for the Mediterranean Salad, whisk together red wine vinegar, water, honey, Dijon mustard, salt, black pepper, oregano and basil in a medium-sized bowl. While whisking, slowly pour in the olive oil.
- Choose Your Greens: Instead of the standard romaine or iceberg lettuce, swap out the greens with something new. Experiment with varieties like arugula, kale and spinach. Each type of leafy green offers different health benefits ranging from improving immune defenses, lowering cholesterol, strengthening bones, combatting heart disease and promoting healthy vision.
- Start the Jar with Hearty Veggies: By reverse layering salad ingredients within the jars, the salad will be right side up and ready to eat when the jar is flipped. Base layers of Mason jar salads should include the heartier vegetables that can take the weight of the other ingredients – when the salad is flipped onto a plate, the lettuce will be on the bottom and other vegetables will be on top. To start the Mediterranean Salad, layer the quartered artichokes followed by grape tomatoes, English cucumbers, cannellini beans, parmesan and Kalamata olives.
- Layer it Up: After the heavy ingredients, pack the rest of the Mason jar with greens and garnishes such as croutons, berries, protein or nuts. For the Mediterranean Salad, top the ingredients with mixed greens and pine nuts. To finish, store separate 2 oz. container of dressing on top of the salad, screw on the jar’s lid and the salad is ready to go.
- Know How to Store the Salad: To prevent the salad from getting soggy, pack everything into the jar as tightly as possible to keep ingredients from moving around. Leaving the greens for last creates a moisture barrier making the salad able to stay in the fridge for a few days. Salads can be enjoyed on a plate or in a bowl, or ingredients can be shaken up and the salad can be eaten directly from the jar.
Farmer’s Fridge Mediterranean Salad Recipe
If you aren’t lucky enough to live in the Chicago area, you can use Luke’s tips to craft your own mason jar salad.
- Red Wine Vinegar – ½ cup
- Water – 6 Tbsp.
- Olive Oil – 2 Tbsp.
- Honey – 2 tsp.
- Dijon Mustard – 1 tsp.
- Salt – ½ tsp.
- Black Pepper – ¼ tsp.
- Oregano – 1 tsp.
- Basil – ½ tsp.
- Artichokes (canned) – 4 quarters
- Grape Tomatoes (sliced in half) – 2 each
- English Cucumbers (quartered and thinly sliced) – ¼ cup
- Cannellini Beans (canned) – ¼ cup
- Parmesan Cheese (grated) – 1 Tbsp.
- Kalamata Olives (sliced) – 2 Tbsp.
- Mixed Greens – 1.5 cups
- Pine Nuts (roasted) – 1 Tbsp.
Start by layering the quartered artichokes followed by grape tomatoes, English cucumbers, cannellini beans parmesan, Kalamata olives, mixed greens and pine nuts. To make the dressing, whisk together the red wine vinegar, water, honey, Dijon mustard, salt, black pepper, oregano and basil in a medium size bowl. While you are still whisking slowly pour in the olive oil. Dressing can be stored in a 2 ounce portion cup on top of the salad.