Introducing guest blogger, Evette DeLuca:
If you’re like me, you feel better when you eat food that is alive and nutritious. Yet there is something so American about the convenience factor, something that fits nicely into your hand as you make a mad dash to the door. How to mix the two? You’ve seen it! You’ve re-pinned it late at night as you ate ice cream and watched Real House Wives and thought I’ll make this next month: Salad-in- a-Jar.
Have you tried these tasty travelers yet? I pulled the trigger on Saturday. I went to my local, friendly health food store, which is my idea of heaven, and bought a flat of large mason jars at a buck-fifty each (you can use all of those pasta sauce jars that are cowering in the corners of your cupboards. I just lost my lids). I wandered through the produce aisle and stocked up on a rainbow-hued array of anything that looked good. Then went off to scoop up a couple bottles of my favorite salad dressings; I chose Amy’s Organic Shitake Mushroom because it’s a good base that I can doctor up with garlic, chili, honey—sky’s the limit. Finally, I picked-up smoked and sundried tomatoes, pistachios, parmesan cheese sprinkles and farmers cheese. Then I went home to play. I chopped up ingredients and made 7 SIJ’s for the week.
As I grabbed a jar for my lunch, a thought struck me: why not grab an extra jar, put a cute label on it and gift it to my friendly co-worker? No one can resist a homemade gift and it’s a great way to foster a healthy eating culture at your job or in your neighborhood. Why not make several extra jars and share with a friend/neighbor/homeless person/yoga buddy each time you re-stock your supply in the fridge? You can invite the person to keep the jar and keep the tradition going!
I know it’s not like baking a complicated cherpumple (that’s another post), but there are some general principles to a successful SIJ:
1st layer (on bottom of jar): dressing
2nd layer: hearty, sturdy veg or legumes (carrots, beans, cukes)
3rd layer: grains, quinoa, pasta, nuts
4th layer: leafy stuff (spinach is my favorite)
5th layer: shredded stuff like coconut, seaweed shreds, etc. Parmesan cheese is my final layer. PERIOD.
I like to hit all flavors in my jar: sweet, tangy, umami, crunchy, salty, etc. Feel free to modify and play. If you just got home from Thailand and want to “jar” the memory of those $10 massages on the beach, make it a Thai themed salad. If you’re missing your hunky husband who’s in Austin, add some BBQ to the hearty layer. You get the picture. The best thing about this convenient, speedy meal is that you can add ANYTHING to it.
Here’s my favorite recipe for salad-in-a jar.
- I large jar with lid (add a cute label or ribbon if it’s a gift. Make this fun!)
- 2.5 T Salad Dressing or 1.5 T Olive Oil, 1 T lemon juice, 1 T honey, salt and pepper
- 1/4 tsp of dried, organic oregano (because it’s full of antioxidants and delicious)
- 1 large carrot chopped
- ¼ of an apple, diced
- ¼ cup organic soy beans
- ¼ cup quinoa
- Sprinkle of roasted pistachio meats, not salted
- 1 tsp of sundried and smoked tomatoes
- 1.5 T shredded parmesan cheese
Layer ingredients in the order listed. Seal and put in the fridge until you are ready to grab. My salads last about a week—longer if you use a vacuum sealer and canning jars. Shake and dig in with a fork or turn out onto a plate when you are ready to eat. Smile as the person you give it to hugs you with thanks.