Step 1: prep all of the crap you want. Here, we have jars (really, the only essential part), almonds, bacon bits, poppy seed dressing, peppercorn ranch dressing, chickpeas, black beans, carrots, green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, red peppers, celery, and cucumbers. You can do whatever you want! [insert T.I. song here with the lyrics just changed so as to not infringe on copyright] You should START with the lettuce, as the dryer the lettuce is when it goes into the jars, the longer they will stay good. I usually buy a head (?) of romaine and chop it up real small, then rinse it.
|The cast and crew.|
Step 2: start the layering. ALWAYS start with the dressing, and don't overdo it! I use just enough to coat the bottom of the jar in a nice, even layer. The first batch I did had WAAAYYYY too much dressing. Then, add really crunchy/solid things that aren't going to get disgusting sitting in the dressing. For example: carrots, celery, nuts, beans, peppers... Anything touching the dressing will go soggy if it can, so plan this layer wisely. [see picture below] After you've got a sort of protection from the dressing, you can add your softer stuff, like mushrooms, cucumbers, tomatoes, craisins, etc.
|It's all about order.|
Step 3: add the lettuce. Make sure you have enough of a protective barrier from the dressing, because if your lettuce touches the dressing, IT WILL GET NAS-TAY! K?
Step 4: this is the last thing. Are you ready? If you liked it, then you shoulda put a lid on it! (again, changed just enough to avoid the copyright business) Put a lid on that bitch. It's that easy. I actually vacuum-seal mine after they are done. I don't know if that helps them stay good for longer, honestly. I just do it because I like the sound it makes when I break the seal.
|See the light!|
My last batch stayed good in the fridge for about 2 weeks. Well, they didn't ever go bad, that's just how long it took me to eat them all.
*I tried to make pasta salad jars, and the pasta got a weird texture. I have a texture problem, though, so it might just be me.
*good things I've tried for the layer touching the dressing: carrots, celery, chickpeas, black beans, corn, soy beans, almonds, green peppers, red peppers, orange peppers
*good things I've tried for the layer NOT touching the dressing: mushrooms, olives, tomatoes, craisins, cucumbers (all of these things get soggy and are a shame on the family name if they are touching the dressing, I am not kidding, it is bad)
I am enamored with the concept of taking a healthy lunch out of the fridge, throwing it in my lunch bag, and being on my way. I want to try doing a fruit salad in a jar. I also want to try to do one with maybe some grilled chicken, and also, quinoa (I don't even know what that is but it sounds healthy)! And spinach, so I can be like Popeye. And maybe some madarin oranges. I'm always looking for more options for my salads, so if you try this and find stuff that really works, or really doesn't, let me know!