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Make-Ahead Mason Jar Paleo Salads

paleo lunch in a jar

Have you heard of Mason jar salads – what a great idea!

Way more appetizing than grabbing the Tupperware to tote your paleo salads to school or work, don’t you think?

This idea’s been around for awhile now – I don’t know who thought it up, but it’s pure genius.

Here’s why these are so great…not only are your salads a whole lot prettier to look at, if you layer them just right you can keep these beauties crisp and fresh in the fridge for days. Easy meal prep…grab ‘n go convenience…what’s not to love?

And, how many times have you packed a salad for lunch – and forgot to bring along a dressing. Yeah, me too. Well with a Mason jar salad, the dressing is the first thing you add to the jar – so you’ll never munch on a dry salad again! 

If you’re totally new to Mason jar salads, let me quickly bring you up to speed…

First, you layer all your salad fixings in a big Mason jar (in reverse order – I’ll show you that in a second). Then, when you’re ready to eat, you open the lid, turn the Mason jar upside down, dump everything onto a big plate (the salad dressing comes out on top!) and you dig in.

Awesome, right? Or if you prefer, give your salad a good upside down shake in the jar before popping the lid – that’ll mix things up for you.

mason jar cobb salad
So the first thing you’ll need are some wide-mouth Mason jars. I’d recommend the 1-quart (32-ounce) size. This larger size makes filling them up and emptying them out on a salad plate much easier. And again, you want wide-mouth – not the regular kind. Here’s a good example: Ball® brand Mason Jars (set of 12) from our Amazon store – about $2 apiece.

When stacking your salads, start with your dressing as the bottom layer and put your greens in the jar last (top layer) so they’ll stay dry and crispy until you’re ready to eat. I like to start with 2-3 tablespoons of a good paleo-approved dressing (usually some kind of vinaigrette.)

Then for the next layer up, some crunchy veggies like carrots, celery or radishes. These help form a barrier to keep the dressing from seeping into the rest of the salad.

From there, just work your way up to the softer veggies and finally the top layer of greens.

Don’t forget to include about 4 ounces of protein in each Mason jar salad for a really satisfying paleo meal. As you can see I used taco meat in one, and roasted chicken in the other two salad jars.

mason jar taco salad
For the taco salad, I placed salsa on the bottom, then layered on the meat and rest of the veggies. I took along a pre-packaged single serving of guacamole…and added it to the mix when I was ready to eat – no other dressing required! It’s lovely mixed with the salsa.

And by the way, you can put sliced avocado if your jars if you want…I’d splash ’em with lime or lemon juice before you twist the lid shut to help keep them fresh longer. I think Mason jars give you a better seal than plastic, so fresh avocado won’t oxidize as fast.

For the Chicken Cobb Salad I used Primal Kitchen’s Honey Mustard Vinaigrette as the dressing. Keep it simple peeps! And for the Chicken Berry Salad, a simple vinaigrette made with olive oil, a little garlic, and red wine vinegar.

It’s really all about what YOU like. The upside is if you can make 3 or 4 mason jar salads at the beginning of the week and have them ready to go for lunch.

Or, you just might be too tired to cook one night and you’ll be thrilled a yummy salad under glass is waiting for you in the fridge.

mason jar berry salad
It’s also all about setting yourself up for success. You succeed when you plan ahead with satisfying and nourishing meals that are also pretty easy to make. These Mason jar paleo salads couldn’t be much simpler.

If you do take one of these beautiful salads to work or school, there is a downside – everyone will want your lunch! Hope you don’t mind sharing.

Speaking of sharing, let us know what you’re layering your Mason jar salads with…we’d all love to hear your creative ideas!

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