Lunch time in the workplace can often pose a dilemma; you don’t want to eat the high-fat, high-salt meal deals offered by most supermarkets, you don’t want to fork out the extra cash for healthier alternatives and you don’t want to spend your precious evenings preparing a healthy lunch for the next day.
Solution? Salad in a jar. Contrary to your immediate reaction, there is in fact further reasoning to stacking your salad in a jar than for the purpose of taking pretty pictures for one’s instagram account.
Layering your salad allows you to keep the ingredients separate thus ensuring a crisp, fresh-tasting salad when it comes to lunchtime. In fact, so fresh will your salad stay you can actually prep salad jars three whole days in advance! It’s recommended that you use a 1 Litre preserving jar in order to fit your whole meal into one jar without squashing it.
Important for the prolonged freshness of your salad is the order in which it is stacked:
Layer 1: Dressing
It’s important for your first layer to be your dressing in order to prevent ingredients you want to stay dry from becoming soggy. Make sure that there is enough dressing to cover the whole salad.
Layer 2: Crunchy vegetables
These need to be vegetables you either don’t mind being soaked in dressing or would benefit from being marinated in it. For example, cucumber, red onion, tomato, celery or peppers. Make sure this layer is substantial enough to prevent other ingredients from becoming soggy.
Layer 3: Vegetables that can get a little wet
The third layer needs to made up of veg that you don’t want to get drenched in dressing but if it gets a little wet it’s not a big deal. It also needs to be able to take the weight of the ingredients you are yet to stack on top. Courgette, beans, lentils and sweet corn are ideal options.
Layer 4: Protein
Add a layer of protein. For example, egg, cheese, chicken or prawns. Lightly season it if necessary.
Layer 5: Carbohydrates
Bulk out your salad with some rice, pasta, couscous or quinoa. If you’re on a low-carb diet you can always leave this layer out.
Layer 6: Leafy greens
The final layer of your jarred salad should be your leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach or rocket which you definitely don’t want to be soaked through or squashed by the weight of other ingredients.
Now close the jar, store in the fridge and when you come to eating tip it out into the bowl and let the dressing cover your whole salad!