Sunday, September 28, 2014

Salads in Jars for #10DaysofTailgate

Unless you are an avid football fan, tailgating is all about the food; rib-sticking dishes like sliders, brats, wings, chili, anything with barbecue sauce. After a few nibbles helpings of these favorites I crave a lighter, healthier bite and head for vegetables... something crunchy beyond the crudités and dip. Toss a penalty flag, call a foul and any eject all soggy, wilted, overdressed salads from your tailgate party. Go with a fresh approach - layered salads in glass jars. You can adapt one of your favorite recipes, experiment with a new recipe, or play around with interesting ingredients just for fun. The secret, if there is one, is in the layering. 

Begin by spooning 2 to 3 generous tablespoons of the salad dressing into squeaky clean containers with lids, like my repurposed 13-ounce jelly jars. Top this with a layer of firm, crunchy vegetable(s) that won't soak up the liquid. Add additional ingredients, pressing each layer firmly as you go to minimize the exposure to air. Leafy greens and fresh herbs work best on top. Note: fill your jars completely; don't leave empty air space on top as I did in some of these photos. Screw on the tops and that's it. The salads are good to go, or chill and hold. 

Salads in jars are quick to prepare once you have your ingredients prepped. Think mise en place. They store well, staying fresh in the fridge for several days, and are easy to stack and transport to any event or even to your work desk. Score! Shake to distribute the dressing and enjoy straight from the jar, or empty the contents into a bowl if you prefer.  

I like to set out a variety of ingredients and build new combinations, change up the dressings, try different herbs and toppings. Go ahead, get creative and play with textures and flavors. 

Greek Salad in a Jar
Build this salad with fresh local produce for an extra flavor boost. Salty feta and licoricey basil really pop this classic.

Salad Ingredients:
Diced hothouse cucumber, green onions or red onions, yellow and orange bell peppers, halved grape tomatoes, diced or crumbled feta cheese, fresh basil or flat-leaf parsley, pitted olives or pine nuts if you like.
Whisk together 1/2 tsp Gourmet Garden garlic, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard, 2 oz red wine vinegar, salt & pepper to taste. Add 4 oz of good olive oil in slow dribbles and keep whisking until emulsified.


Minty Orzo Salad in a Jar
Mint and honey balance the slightly bitter bite of kale (or radicchio) in this pasta salad.

Salad Ingredients:
Chopped celery, roasted red peppers, cooked orzo, purple kale or radicchio ribbons, green onions, goat cheese, fresh mint leaves and pecan bits.
Whisk together 1 Tbs honey, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1 tsp dried mint, 2 Tbs white balsamic vinegar, 3 Tbs good olive oil, salt & pepper to taste. 

Here are some other ideas for recipes to adapt to a salad in a jar presentation:

(Click here for a further look at mason jar salads at Shockinglydelicious.)

#10DaysofTailgate is approaching its end. Have you checked out the prize packages and entered yet? Click HERE to view our generous sponsors and enter the giveaway. 

Here's what the rest of the team brought to the table today...

‘Da Bears in ‘Da Blankets by Sew You Think You Can Cook
Jalapeno Popper Deviled Eggs by Debbi Does Dinner Healthy
Philly Cheese Steak Eggrolls by Cooking In Stilettos
Ketchup & Mustard Glazed Meatballs by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Duck Bacon, Pear, Brie Baked Wontons by A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures

Buffalo Chicken Sliders by girlichef
Chipotle Ranch Chicken Wings by Cheese Curd In Paradise
White Chicken Chili by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Saucy Maple Leaf Duck Sliders by Making Miracles
Three Pepper Burgers by Eliot’s Eats
Chipotle Mustard Pork Chops by The Pajama Chef
Cherry Chipotle Drumsticks by Summer Scraps

Salads in Jars by OnTheMove-In the Galley


  1. I have always been intrigued by salads in jars. Never tried it. But you have spelled it out perfectly. I will definitely give it a try. Thanks!

  2. Stupendous! I love that you posted pics and links to your other great salad recipes!

  3. Thanks for sharing! I love these ideas and they're perfect for grab and go lunches too.

  4. pinned! love the idea of the minty orzo salad.


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