Let’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.
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)
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.
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.
So just layer in all of that goodness.
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.
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!)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
Kale-Cabbage Salad Jars with Tahini Lime Dressing
Recipe by Our Best Bites
5 wide mouth quart mason jars
20 ounces cooked, diced or shredded chicken breast (about 5 cups)
1 1/4 cups shelled edamame
2 1/2 cups sliced sweet mini peppers or bell peppers
about 3/4 cup roughly sliced green onions
1 1/4 cups roughly chopped cilantro
5 cups shredded cabbage/coleslaw mix
5 cups shredded kale
Dressing for each individual salad
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons Lime Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon tahini
Place 4 ounces chicken in each jar, layer each with 1/4 cup edamame, 1/2 cup sliced peppers, about 3 tablespoons green onions and 1/4 cup cilantro. Tap each jar on the counter to settle ingredients. Add coleslaw mix and kale, gently pressing down (depending on how your jars settle, you may be able to add more or less greens.) Place lids on jars and store in fridge for up to a week. When ready to serve, dump salad into a large bowl adn toss with dressing ingredients and season with salt and pepper.
Nutrition Info Per Jar: Cal: 336 Protein: 35 Carbs: 14 Fiber: 6 Sugar: 4 Fat: 15 (remember, those are heart-healthy grams!)