Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette + Salad in a Jar

I have a few recurring themes on the blog, things that have floated around since the very beginning. One of them that keeps popping up again and again is how much I hate lunch. I actually kind of enjoy packing my kids a lunch for school–there’s something kind of fun and therapeutic about packing them up something fun and tasty and putting it in their cute lunch boxes. But when we’re all home all day? Kill me. I hate it. And I especially hate feeding myself at lunchtime. My kids are cool with finger foods or turkey sandwiches or mac and cheese, but I get sick of eating the same thing day in and day out. And macaroni and cheese hasn’t tasted the same since I was, like, 7. Honestly, I’d be okay eating cold cereal for lunch except that then my kids would want it, too, and I would feel simultaneously guilty (for not feeding them something awesome) and resentful (that they were eating my cereal) and then guilty again (for feelings resentful; Mom Guilt is a unique art form). Plus, these days, I’m trying to eat healthy, which makes lunchtime even harder.

Enter: Salad in a Jar.

I’ve seen this idea floating around for awhile now, so I decided to make lunch easier for myself, I’d pre-make a bunch of salads in quart-sized Mason jars and keep them in my fridge. Then I can pull one out at lunch while I’m wrangling kids or feeding the baby or hiding in my bedroom watching Mad Men, feeling like my behavior of late is suspiciously Betty Draper-ish (although I guarantee that Betty Draper never wore yoga pants in her whole life).

This particular dressing (and the salad I made to go with it) is not really healthy eating-friendly. But it was delicious, and all things in moderation, right? Yeah, we totally abide by that here at Our Best Bites (my sarcastic button on my keyboard is broken…)

For the dressing, you’ll need red wine vinegar, honey, stone-ground mustard, lime juice, freshly ground black pepper, kosher salt, smoked paprika, garlic, chopped onion, oregano, a pinch of white sugar (if you need it), and olive oil.

Get the recipe by clicking here!


For the salad, I used chopped romaine, spinach, shredded Swiss cheese…

and chopped bacon and grilled chicken breast, sliced red onions, chopped hard-boiled eggs, and sliced mushrooms.

There’s no real science to layering the salad ingredients, but you do want to make sure that the greens you’re using aren’t damp at all because it will make your other ingredients soggy. I also tried to keep moist ingredients away from things like cheese and the mushrooms to avoid the slime factor.

I filled my jars up a little bit more than in this particular picture, but just be sure to leave enough space that you drizzle dressing over the top, close the lid, and shake up the jar so you get a little bite of everything in your salad.

These would also be awesome for parties–tie forks onto the jars with twine or a cute ribbon and either include the dressing in the bottom of the jar or have a variety of pre-measured dressings in little cups for your guests.





  1. Sara – my email from Deseret book says Saturday, Aug 4. Did the date change? I’m planning on coming and don’t want to miss you. 🙂

    1. It did! I need to see if they’ll send out another email so I don’t miss people. We had a scheduling error so we had to switch it to Friday.

  2. I love it and oh how I hate making lunch too…it interferes with the day too much! But I love all things in a jar, from paper clips to food so I like this idea…alot. Thanks for the inspiration.

  3. So when the kids are home, go ahead and pack those cute little lunch boxes. Anything to avoid the dreaded, “what on earth can I make for lunch in the next 5 minutes?”

    Pre-made lunches for mom is (are?) a great idea. The vinaigrette sounds delicious.

  4. HOld te dressing, none needed for me, make the meat tuna though the bacon is an awesome idea. Where are the carrots and radishes, no salad is complete without them. Oh ok, I know this is tailorable to our individual tastes. Thanks for sharing this idea and keep up the good work.

  5. Ooh fantastic idea for parties and such! I am sure it depends on what you put in the salad, but how long do you think these will typically last in the fridge?

  6. I hate lunch as much as you do!!! I’d love it if someone would just hand me something and say, “Here, eat it!” I have no problem fixing dinner (I actually enjoy that), and breakfast- I’ll find something…. But what is it about lunch??? Thanks for the really cool post. Nice to know I’m not alone! 🙂

  7. So freaking cute! I love this idea, because I’m pretty sure if I opened the fridge and found a salad sitting there all ready to eat, with homemade smoked paprika dressing, I would choose that over the crap I normally eat. I bet it would be great for school lunches, too. Love this idea!

  8. I have been using a smoked paprika salad dressing a lot lately. It is very similar to yours… but I can’t wait to try this version to mix things up a bit!

  9. you just described my whole life. Hate lunch. Mom Guilt. Sneaking away to watch Mad Men. That salad looks do-able. How long do they stay good? Like can you make a few and keep them good all week?

  10. I had to substitute yellow onion and Dijon mustard, and I didn’t have a lime. Dressing was still SO GOOD! Thanks again, ladies. I love this site.

  11. I will think of this post as…Lunch haters unite! 😉 I totally hate figuring out what to have for lunch! It’s so much easier (and so much more expensive) to eat out! thanks for the delightful recipe!

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