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A mason jar salad.

The hot temperatures and relaxed mindset of this season seems to always lend well to lighter meals, and nothing satisfies a summer appetite quite like an easy, flavor-packed salad.

Using mason jars for salads isn’t just a social-media-worthy trend: it’s a practical and simple way to batch-prep salads so they transport well and stay fresh until the time you’re ready to enjoy them.

Here’s how to layer them for the best — and tastiest — results:

Step one: Start with the dressing on the bottom of the mason jar. This way it stays far enough away from the other items that the whole lot won’t get soggy. Two to four tablespoons worth of dressing usually works well, depending on the recipe.

Step two: Protein (and grains, if using) comes next. These ingredients hold up well sitting in the dressing, and can even “marinate” in it, adding more flavor by the time you consume. It also acts like a barrier to protect your next-layer ingredients from the dressing.

Step three: Add non-leafy veggies, such bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, and broccoli.

Step four: Add leafy greens. Choose from ones such as spinach, romaine, kale, and arugula, or a blended spring mix.

Step five: Finish your layers with any salad toppers, such as nuts, seeds, and olives, or perhaps a small handful of dried currants or cranberries.

You can customize any mason jar salad to your liking. When purchasing jars, look for wide-mouth ones. Depending on how large you want to make your salads, go for either the two- or four-cup size.

To get you started, try one of these three recipes:

Thai Shrimp Salad

Put ingredients in the jar in this order:

  • 2 tbs. Thai dressing (see recipe below)
  • 3–4 oz. cooked shrimp (or cooked chicken if preferred)
  • 1/5 seasoned quinoa blend (see recipe below)
  • 1/4 cup broccoli, minced
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 tbs. sesame seeds

For the Thai dressing:

Blend all ingredients on high for 10 to 15 seconds.

  • 1/4 cup sunflower seed butter
  • 2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tbs. coconut aminos
  • 1 tsp. dried ginger
  • 1 tbs. apple-cider vinegar
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Water to thin, as desire

For the seasoned quinoa blend:

Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup edamame
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Sea salt to taste

Basil Pesto Salad with Chicken Sausage

Put the ingredients in the jar in this order:

  • 2 tbs. basil pesto (see recipe below)
  • 1 pre-cooked, nitrate-free chicken sausage link, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup steamed broccoli, cooled and chopped
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1 tbs. walnuts

For the basil pesto:

Blend all ingredients on high for 10 to 15 seconds.

  • 1 cup packed basil leaves
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Honey Mustard Chicken Salad

Put the ingredients in the jar in this order:

  • 1 recipe honey mustard (see recipe below)
  • 4 oz. roasted chicken breast
  • 1 slice cooked, nitrate-free bacon, chopped
  • 4 cup chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup red peppers, diced
  • 2 tbs. red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup radicchio, chopped
  • 2 cups kale, shredded
  • 1 tbs. slivered almonds

For the honey mustard:

Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.

  • 1 tbs. avocado oil-based mayonnaise
  • 1 tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbs. honey
  • 1/8 tsp. apple-cider vinegar
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Keep the conversation going.

Leave a comment, ask a question, or see what others are talking about in the Life Time Training Facebook group.

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The Life Time Training Team

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