How to build the perfect Mason Jar Salad!

 Written by the Food and Nutrition Team at The New York Foundling


What’s your new year’s resolution? Is it to have a well-balanced diet? Our Food & Nutrition Team that works within The Foundling’s Developmental Disabilities Division taught seminars to attendees on how to build the perfect Mason Jar Salad.


What is a Mason Jar Salad, you ask?  Well, it’s a salad layered in a Mason Jar! It’s arranged in such a way that you can assemble it the night before and at lunchtime the next day, you will have a perfectly crisp salad— just shake it up in the jar and  it’s ready to eat!  If you’re interested in making your own Mason Jar Salad, grab a 24- or 32-oz wide-mouthed mason jar and use this guide for layering:


1.) Start with dressing at the bottom of the jar. When the jar is packed, dressing will remain in the bottom and absorbent ingredients will not become soggy.  Dressings can be high in calories, so stick to 2 tablespoons.  This should be enough to distribute the flavor throughout your salad.


2.)Next, add hard vegetables that won’t soak up dressing. These will act as a barrier for everything else you add.  Hard vegetables include carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and bell peppers.


3.) Now you can add any beans, grains or pasta. If you’re using grains, such as quinoa and brown rice, or pasta, stick to about ¼ cup.  If you’re using beans, you should use about ½ cup.


4.) Next up is your protein or cheese (crucial for satiety). This layer should be about ½ cup total, so choose wisely.  You can do 1/4c cheese 1/4c protein if you wish to have both while still keeping the calories down.  If you plan to make your salads more than a day in advance, leave out anything from this layer 4 through layer 7 and just add them the night before to make sure they are fresh.


5.) Any softer vegetables and fruits you wish to add are next. Examples for this layer include tomatoes, berries, mushrooms, and avocado.


6.) Next are salad toppers, including nuts, seeds, and croutons. These can be caloric, so be selective and use sparingly.  Just a small handful should suffice.


7.) Last but not least is the star of your salad – the leafy greens. This layer should make up roughly half of your jar, so don’t skimp and leave room.  Pack them in tightly so that all the ingredients in your salad stay in place (and remain crisp) during your commute.


8.) Once you take out your salad for lunch simply shake it vigorously so all of the dressing distributes. Dump it out on a plate or enjoy within the jar an extra-long fork!


You can even incorporate leftovers from dinner.   Just remember that a flavor profile (combination of ingredients that have complimentary flavors) is important to ensure that you are satisfied after you’re done eating, lessening the chances that you will snack throughout the day.


Click here to read the team’s previous guest blog post about how to make the perfect smoothie!

*Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The New York Foundling, its funders, regulators, donors and/or employees.

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