Kale and Cabbage Salad Jars with Tahini-Lime Dressing

Kale and Cabbage introLet’s talk about salad for a minute, shall we?  I’m not talking about I’m-on-a-“diet”-so-I-only-eat-lettuce salad.  But I’m also not talking about the kind of salad that has SO much “good” stuff in it that it actually has more calories than a triple cheeseburger and fries. Somewhere in the middle exists salad perfection.  Salad that tastes amazing and you actually look forward to eating it, but one that’s actually packed with so much good stuff that it’s healthy and keeps you full long after eating it.  I’ve been prepping these salads lately and they have been absolute lifesavers.  Having them all prepped and ready to go in my fridge has me eating one every single afternoon for lunch, and sometimes for dinner, too.  I’m getting in all of my veggies, tons of protein and fiber, and loving the time it’s saving me by making a bunch on the weekends.  I’ve kept these in my fridge for a full week, and the salad on day 7 was just as good as the salad on day 1.

Layerd Salad Jar

Now, salad-in-a-jar isn’t new.  We have some salad jar recipes on our site already (like this one with one of my favorite dressings: Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette), but I have 3 or 4 that I’ve been making regularly and I figured you guys might like the bulk recipe (sized for 5 jars) and the nutritional info per jar.  So here we go.

I like to roast a couple pounds of chicken at the beginning of each week because it’s handy to have around.  You can use any one of the methods in this post, or you could also pick up a couple of rotisserie chickens if that’s easier for you.  I place each jar on my kitchen scale and just add chicken until it registers 4 ounces (that’s about 1 cup diced chicken)

Chicken in a Jar

Next I add in a handful of shelled edamame.  You can find bags of these in the freezer section of the grocery store.  Make sure you’re buying ones that have already been removed from the pods unless you find it theraputic to spend half an afternoon picking them out with your fingers.  Soybeans have an awesome nutty flavor and add a great crunchy texture as well.  They’re also a nutritional powerhouse; high in protein, calcium, and iron.

Shelled Edamame

Another thing I buy regularly are bags of these little sweet peppers.  I love them roasted, or simply for snacking.  They’re super easy to slice up on a salad as well.

Baby Sweet Peppers

So just layer in all of that goodness.

Layered Vegetables in jars
I try to layer in as many things with flavor, because then you require a lot less to dress the salad.  My go-to’s for just about any salad profile are green onions and cilantro.

Cilantro and Green Onions

I chop them both roughly so they’re in large pieces and blend in with the greens.   (Okay not so much in this photo, but normally!)

Chopped Green Onions and Cilantro
When it comes to picking greens, I like to pick sturdy ones.  I avoid soft lettuce, like butter lettuce, red and green leaf, and even iceberg.  Sturdier leaves will hold up for a much longer period of time and still be fresh and crunchy even a week later.  For this salad I’m using part cabbage.  I buy the bags of ready-made coleslaw mix.  It’s perfect because it’s already shredded and usually has some carrots and sometimes purple cabbage as well.

Shredded Cabbage

I’m also using kale, which is a nice study leaf as well.  To be honest, I don’t love kale on its own, but in a salad like this it’s fantastic, and it’s a nutritional powerhouse when it comes to salad greens, so this is the perfect use for it.  You want your greens to be similar in size, so the salad is easy to eat and pick up on a fork, so I roll up the bunches of kale and slice it thin.

Shredded Kale

It’s really important that your greens are DRY.  If you wash them right before stuffing them into the jar and they’re still wet, the moisture trapped in the jars can make things get soggy.  So just make sure to blot them on paper towels to make sure they’re nice and dry and then stuff ’em on in.  Close your jars with the lids and then keep these stocked up in your fridge for easy access.

Layerd Salad Jar

When it comes time to dress the salad, one thing that we American’s aren’t in the habit of, and most other countries are, is seasoning our salads with salt and pepper.  I’m sure it’s because we tend to love heavily seasoned, thick salad dressings, while most of the world uses oil and vinegar. We’re going to use a really light dressing, so don’t forget the salt and pepper; it does wonders to pull out all of the natural flavors in the salad.

Salt and Pepper

99% of the time I make a salad, I use Extra Virgin Olive Oil and vinegar.  I promise I’m not just trying to pitch our product here, but this is one of the reasons we started our Olive Oil Company– flavored oils are absolute perfection here!  When you’re using so few ingredients in something like dressing, having a quality oil that packs in some flavor does amazing things. Besides it tasting fantastic, the health benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil are unrivaled.  It’s the absolute best thing you can put on your salad.  I’m using our Lime Olive Oil (100% olives and fresh limes).

Salad with Lime Oil

You’ll want to combine it with vinegar and my favorite in this combo is seasoned rice wine vinegar.  It adds really great tang and also a little sweetness. The only other thing going into my dressing is a little tahini.  You could sub peanut butter, PB2, or just leave that component out and use simply the oil and vinegar.  Don’t forget the salt and pepper!

Salad Jar with Dressing

I eat these at home, so I just add my dressing when I eat it, but if you need it on the go, just grab some little disposable lidded containers stuff it right on top. Olive oil will coagulate a little bit in the fridge, but it’s not really noticeable once it’s all tossed together.

Salad Dressing in Jar
I promise you, you’ll be so happy if you take the time to prep a bunch of these so they’re all ready to go during the week.  It’s so easy to just dump, toss, and eat.  And because these aren’t just lettuce and dressing, but rather full of so much protein and vegetables, it will actually keep you full!

Pouring Salad Jar

And I gotta be honest- I actually dump my salads into a huge mixing bowl so I can go crazy mixing it and getting everything well coated without losing half of my salad over the edge of the salad bowl.  Once it’s tossed, I put it into the bowl I actually eat out of.  Does anyone else do that?  Some salad-jar recipes will tell you to mix or shake it all up in the jar.  Just trust me and don’t do that.

Salad Jar in a Bowl

If you like these and want to see my other versions, let me know and I’ll share more!  I seriously LOVE the look of my fridge when I open up the doors and see these stock-piled.



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Sara Wells
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Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. I have noticed alot of jarred salads are made with the dressing right in the jar as the first layer to go in. Have you done it this way before?

    1. I’ve tried that and the dressing just gets stuck in the jar – way better to add it on separately!

  2. This is fantastic. I hate making a mess just to prepare a healthy lunch. More recipes like this please!

  3. Love the idea of separating it into jars. This salad looks almost exactly like the salad I ate for lunch a few times a week for quite awhile. I love it. I really love throwing some cashews on top too. I would love your other recipes!

    1. Tahini looks (and tastes) similar to peanut butter, but it’s actually sesame seed paste! You can find it in the foreign foods aisle; it’s one of the main ingredients in hummus 🙂

  4. These look delicious and an awesome idea for having something quick and easy to grab.

    Is the chicken ok for a week in the fridge too? I thought cooked chicken had to be eaten within a couple of days.

  5. I would absolutely love the other recipes-I think you just solved my biggest life stress (lunches…yes I know my life is hard :))

  6. This looks so good. I love the idea of salad in a jar. More recipes and ideas for that would be awesome.

  7. About the edamame……do we just thaw ithem out from the frozen state or do we cook them as directed on the package. Thanks!

    1. Nope, no need to cook them. I just store the bag in my fridge (instead of the freezer) so they are thawed, and put them in straight from the bag.

  8. Love this idea! Going to buy the ingredients right now! I would love more salad ideas! Thanks 🙂

  9. Up to now I have only been brave enough to try kale in a smoothie. I think I might need to throw a handful into a salad that I already like along with the greens I normally use and see if I can learn to like it in salad.

    Could you pour the dressing into the jar and shake it before you dump it onto your plate to avoid having to wash the big mixing bowl or will it not get coated evenly enough?

    Thanks for a fun new lunch idea!

    1. If you put kale in your smoothies, then you are already brave! That’s one thing I don’t do, haha. I don’t recommend putting your dressing in the jar. It’s impossible to actually mix anything in there, and you’ll end up losing half of your dressing when it just stays in the jar. You’ll want to put your salad in a bowl first and then top with dressing. You don’t have to use a big mixing bowl, you can just put it in the bowl you’re going to eat out of. I just personally find it easy to use a big giant bowl and I’m kind of OCD about every single item in my salad getting coated with dressing and that’s the easiest way to do it, haha.

      1. Try the Power Blend mix of greens from Costco mixed in a smoothie. It includes Kale and you can’t even taste it with fruit mixed in. My kids even love it. They know half of the blender is filled with greens, but they like it so much they don’t care!

  10. I actually like to eat salads and I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting combos – thank you! A word of advice for those wanting to try a jar salad – don’t forget the plate or bowl! Trying to mix and eat a salad directly out of the jar makes you not want to try it again. = )

  11. YES! Love this & would love more recipes like this. LOVE you guys, your website, your cookbooks, and I am LOVING the OBB Fitclub!

  12. These look so yummy. I love the healthy focus as of late and hope you keep bringing recipes that are healthy AND yummy.
    I am trying to eat more “whole food” and am finding that a lot of online recipes are healthy but not very yummy, which makes it really hard to sell to the family. I trust your site and know if you say it is good than it is so keep those good things coming.

  13. I really want to make these tonight to get me through the rest of the week. Since I don’t have lime olive oil on hand what would you recommend doing to get the same lime flavor? A bit of lime zest and or juice? How much?

    1. I was wondering the same thing. I don’t have lime olive oil. Did you just leave it out? How did it turn out?

  14. Best salad bowls EVER!!!! I was thinking just yesterday ‘I wonder if anyone would judge me for eating my lunch out of a mixing bowl”. 🙂 i <3 costco!!!

    1. I tried this salad yesterday for the first time and I had a lady stop by my office today and say “Your bowl yesterday was pretty big”, and since she already knew about this salad I was able to let her know how good it really is and that the large bowl was very helpful for mixing everything together. LOL

  15. Yes, please share the rest of your salad recipes!!!! I am so uninspired at lunchtime to try to come up with something healthy, filling and delicious — having this and your other salad recipes on hand would help me out so much. I’ve been thinking that if I prepped my lunch in advance, I would be doing myself a huge favor. As usual, OBB to the rescue! I’ve always adored your site, but since you guys started the Fit Club it’s taken it to a new level. Thank you for that!

  16. I would love to see other combos! I really dislike cabbage, so I’m curious to see what other greens you use.

    1. You can definitely replace the cabbage with any other green you like. Spinach works great, too!

        1. btw, I have tried this and it is so very awesome.

          My last comment was vague, I meant to say so the spinach will not wilt toward the end of the week?

  17. YES YES YES YES YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is awesome… This is exactly what I have been looking for, THANK YOU. You mentioned having the nutritional info per jar…? Maybe I just missed it? Can’t thank you enough for starting the fit club. (And absolutely more combinations please! :))

  18. Love it! What an awesome idea. Who knew, salt and pepper on salad. So smart. Please share more of these!

  19. Yum! This is such a fantastic idea for incorporating more healthy eating. More ideas please!

  20. This looks fantastic! I appreciate the knowledge about which salad ingredients stay well in the fridge. I’d love to learn about your other combinations!

  21. I would LOVE to see the rest of these salad recipes! I have been living on the costco asian cabbage salad mix and the kale and pumpkin seed and cranberry salad mix for like months now and my taste buds are in revolt. I actually just let a bag of it go bad in my fridge cause I just couldn’t stand to eat in one more time.