This Mason jar taco salad is the perfect portable, healthy lunch

/ Source: TODAY

The Mason jar is exactly what’s needed to shake up your lunchtime or picnic routine. Not just a portable container, salads are layered in a strategic way in the jar for lasting crunch power. Either make the Mason Jar Taco Salad packed with a spice-rich dressing over veggies galore and kidney beans, or use the guidelines below to concoct your own Mason jar salad creation.

How to layer a Mason jar salad

(bottom to top; the bottom is the salad dressing):

  • Salad Dressing (about 2 to 3 tablespoons)
  • Beans (kidney, black, black-eyed pea, pinto, garbanzo)
  • Grains (couscous, quinoa, rice, barley)
  • Hearty veggies (cucumber, carrots, beets, bell peppers)
  • Lighter veggies or fruit (tomatoes, corn, onion, apricots, strawberries)
  • Meat, cheese, and hard-boiled eggs
  • Any type of lettuce (iceberg, spinach, arugula, spring mix)
  • Nuts and seeds (walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, flax seeds)
  • Anything you want to stay crunchy like crushed tortilla chips, bacon, or croutons

Mason jar layering strategies:

  • If possible, use a wide-mouth Mason jar because it’s easier to get the ingredients both in and out of the jar. A quart Mason jar is good for a salad packed with tons of vegetables. If you’re going heavy on the grains and protein, a pint-size jar may be the perfect amount for a lunch. Experiment to see what works best for you.
  • Anything that needs to stay crunchy goes directly on top of the lettuce. Either place right on the lettuce or for extra assurance of crunch, place in a small sealed Ziploc bag on the top.
  • Food that turns brown like diced apples or avocados should be doused with lemon juice to delay the browning.
  • An all-vegetable Mason jar salad can keep in the fridge for 4 days. If you do add meat (like chicken, ham, tuna, or salmon), try to eat within a day or two or add them to the top of the Mason jar the morning of use.
  • To use, simply shake the jar so the salad dressing is incorporated throughout the salad. If the salad is packed too much for the shaking to accomplish anything, eat a few bites, cover with the lid and shake again. Pour into a bowl to devour or eat from the Mason jar itself.