Summertime is a great season to be enjoying all the fresh fruits and vegetables at the markets.  Because it is usually hot, summer is also a great time to eat foods like fresh vegetables and fruits that are both cooling and hydrating. Salads can be great way to eat these, but how do you eat and prepare salads if you are on the go?

Well, I have to share one of favorite lunch ideas, and really, this is one I just can’t stop sharing! Have you heard of salad-in-a-jar? The basic concept is to make your salads ahead of time to save time in the week, but the idea is to use a mason jar to keep the contents separate until you are ready to mix them together.  The dressing goes on the bottom and the greens on very top to keep them from getting wilted and wet. Brilliant!

You can really be creative with this idea, but my favorite recipes to get started are found on this great recipe blog called The Yummy Life by Monica Matheny. I love that  she starts with cooked quinoa at the base, so you get some great protein and fiber in your salad and the salad dressing gets soaked up there. The recipes are also all gluten-free and vegan. Lastly, not only are the recipes yummy and varied, but she also has some excellent preparation tips.

Take this concept and run with it! The variations and possibilities are endless. You could use brown rice instead of quinoa or no grain at all. What some meat in there?—Then add some grilled organic chicken or smoked wild salmon. I also like to vary the nuts I add to my salads, so one day it will be walnuts and another pistachios. The vegetable choices are endless—green beans, celery, carrots, shredded beets—you name it! You could even add some seasonally fruit like berries or peaches for some added flavor. Lastly, I love that you can make these ahead of time and be ready to grab and go the rest of the week!

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

And for other salad-in-jar inspirations, check out the following:
http://backtoherroots.com/2013/04/09/salad-in-a-jar-101/
http://www.salad-in-a-jar.com/how-to-make-salad-in-a-jar-2
http://www.skinnymomskitchen.com/2013/02/12/my-thoughts-on-mason-jar-salads/
http://kblog.lunchboxbunch.com/2012/06/vegan-salad-in-jar-make-ahead-bliss.html

salad closeup

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