Tuesday 4 February 2020

Life Hack - Jar Salads

I have no interesting horse stuff to share from the last couple of days, so I'm going to share one of my favourite meal hacks that works great for us busy equestrians.

Jar Salads.

They're basically salads that you make up in a mason jar, suck the air out of the jar with a vacuum sealer, and stay fresh for about a week. Super convenient to grab in the morning to take to work or when I get home late at night and need to eat something but don't want to cook.

There are quite a few recipes available online with fancy options like quinoa and chickpeas. I don't like quinoa and chickpeas, so I stick to staples like lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes. My protein changes depending on what's on hand, but it's usually chicken. Add in some feta or parmesan cheese, bacon bits (if Costco has the type I like), and some dried fruit or a salad seed mix, and a 750ml jar contains a full-sized meal. Sometimes I'll add hard-boiled eggs, rice, or carrots, but I usually keep it simple just due to time.

The recipes usually call to add salad dressing to the bottom of the jar, so you need to stack the contents in layers so that the most absorbent items are at the top of the jar and don't soak up all the dressing. I don't add the dressing until I eat so it likely isn't a requirement to layer, but I do it anyways. I like the look.

I generally make up four jars  once a week and take at least three of them to work for lunch. Prep takes no more than 20 minutes (not counting cook time for the protein if needed). I got a Food Saver vacuum sealer for Christmas a couple of years ago and I use the accessory attachment with a mason jar attachment that sucks out the air from the jar. I've had no problems with them being fresh for a full 7 days in the fridge though they are usually eaten before that.
A small selection of images from Googling jar salads.
If you use lettuce in the jar, it has to be a lettuce without high water content or it will go mushy pretty quickly. I tried a spring mix once and it only lasted a couple of days, so I stick to romaine.

I love eating these salads for lunch. I've had many comments from co-workers about how it looks so much better than the burger they picked up. I keep two or three salad dressing options in the fridge at work so in the morning I just have to throw the jar, a fork, and some sort of plate into my lunch bag and I'm ready to go.

I don't know how long they would stay fresh if they aren't vacuum sealed. If you find this type of meal attractive, then I think a Food Saver (with accessory) would be a worthwhile investment.

Do you have any simple go-to quick meals for when you get home from the barn late and haven't eaten?

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