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Easy to Make, Easy to Take: Lunches

Sometimes it feels like all the bag lunch suggestions are aimed at the 12 and under set. I don’t know about you, but I bring a lunch with me to work nearly every single day. I like that it saves me money, is generally healthier, or uses up some leftovers (a constant struggle for a single girl who likes to cook).

Often times my lunch is a salad – it helps me get in several servings of veggies and is a great vehicle for leftover proteins. I must also admit I am a frequent Pinterest user, so of course I am obsessed with the anything in a canning jar. Seriously, is there anything not improved by packaging it in a jar? One of my favorite pinned ideas is pre-making a few days’ worth of salads in quart sized jars that I can just grab and go in the morning (because I also like to hit the snooze button). Here’s how I like to build my salads for maximum lunch time satisfaction.

Start with the dressing. This might be the most important step so let’s repeat it: dressing first! By putting salad dressing on the bottom it prevents the salad from getting soggy before you are ready to eat it. Here I am using a Greek Vinaigrette.

Next you need a hearty ingredient, something that won’t be affected by sitting in dressing for a few days. I have used garbanzo beans and leftover chicken for my salad.

Add some veggies. Since this salad is obviously taking a Mediterranean direction, I am adding diced tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onions.

Here I like to layer in some additional flavor enhancers. For this salad I am using kalamata olives and feta cheese.

Finally top with leafy greens. I am using a combination of chopped romaine and baby spinach.

I find that leaving a little room at the top makes for easier mixing when it is time to eat. Screw the lid on tight and place in the refrigerator.

Many have had success keeping these salads for up to 5 days but I usually try to eat them with in 3 so all the ingredients are still really fresh.

When it is time for lunch just grab a fork, shake to mix, and dig in!

What other flavor combinations would you try for your canning jar salad lunch?


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• Comments •

I am looking for a place to by the single serving pats of butter such as are given with your bagel or biscuit at a restaurant.

Posted Aug 26 2013 by Oliver
Test Kitchen Comment


As you suggest these single servings of butter are typically found in a restaurant or food service operation. I have also seen them for sale in club stores. The pack is large but you would then have a supply of the pats of butter.
Posted August 27, 2013

I'm always looking for easy make-ahead lunch options, so this is really helpful! I had heard of people doing this before, but wasn't sure what type of ingredients were "safe" to sit in the dressing without getting soggy. Thanks for the directions!

Posted Feb 12 2013 by Amanda

what a wonderful idea. Obvious you have put some thought into this. I have a case or two of canning jars. This idea will come in handy for lunches. Thanks for posting this

Posted Feb 06 2013 by Peggy

great idea--so simple

Posted Feb 04 2013 by clara

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