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Salad Jars – Perfect Healthy Office Lunch or Dinner Party Trick

I can in no way claim these as my own invention. I came across a few pictures of salad jars while trawling the interweb and have since let my kitchen cowboy come out to experiment with a few odds and ends.

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Salad jar (n). Glass container, Consol or other, layered with vibrant ingredients in a specific manner so as to allow sponge like items to absorb dressing while delicate foods remain crisp and/or crunchy. Useful for prepping meals in advance.

That is the definition according to the FFS Dictionary and explains just what is going on inside each jar. Essentially ingredients that could do with a kick of flavour from a dressing are layered at the bottom of the jar (starchy items, mushrooms, root veg) and topped with said dressing. Next comes proteins like meat, chicken, bacon, fish, eggs, followed by pickles and then leafy greens topped with a healthy fat like avo, nuts or seeds. This keeps the leaves fresher and nuts and seeds (or maybe croutons) un-soggy.

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The world of salad jars are your oyster. You can dream up any variety, use up leftovers or even keep a bit of your soup or stew aside for reheating the next day. This is my quick guide to a balanced salad jar that can serve as a lunch or dinner for one.

Base Layer
Choose a good quality starch or any other flavour mops, things you don’t mind soft

  • Brown or wild rice
  • Wholewheat pasta
  • Quinoa, bulgur wheat or wholewheat cous cous
  • Potato, sweet potato, butternut
  • Cabbage, lightly cooked broccoli or cauliflower
  • Mushrooms, carrots, onion, garlic
  • Dried cranberries (plump up nicely as they absorb liquid)

Choose your portion based on your nutrition goals at this level, smaller for weight loss or larger for higher energy needs

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Dressing
Add a good quality dressing or healthy fat here, add a small amount only

  • Olive oil and balsamic
  • Yoghurt, cumin and lemon juice
  • Lemon juice, pomegranate, garlic and olive oil
  • Coriander, ginger and coconut milk

Protein
Add your cooked lean, grass-fed, free-range protein of choice

  • Leftover steak or chicken
  • Oily fish (mackerel, tuna, salmon, trout, sardines)
  • Boiled eggs
  • Biltong
  • Cheese (Danish feta, Parmesan, ricotta, cottage cheese are nice options)

Pickles
Fermented foods like pickles are making a comeback and really are things we should be eating more of for improved gut health and immunity

  • Pickled onions, gherkins, radishes, jalapenos, beetroot
  • Sauerkraut

Greens
Add your nitrate and fiber rich leafy bits to the top of the jar

  • Rocket, lettuce, watercress
  • Mint, basil, coriander

Healthy Fat
Top it all off with a healthy fat if you need to up the energy a little

  • Avocado
  • Toasted pumpkin, sunflower or flax seeds
  • Cashews, almonds, walnuts

Make a couple to get through a few days at work or for a dinner party as a unique serving. Use up left overs or cook a little extra to pop into your jar. A well layered and sealed jar should last 4-5 days. Get creative and have fun with it. I will post these 2 Salad Jar recipes later in the week:

Butternut, feta and biltong with rocket and coconut milk dressing 

Broccoli, kassler and cashew with yoghurt dressing

 

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