Tired of your ho-hum salad day after day? From a great, crunchy croutons to an easy, creamy dressing, these recipes will have your family asking for more greens.
Check out the video above for four easy ways to upgrade your salad so it packs a punch.
Want more salad ideas? Check out this tutorial on mason jar salads:
Mason Jar Salad Tutorial
4 ways to upgrade your salad
Layer 1: The Dressing
The first layer of the mason jar salad is always the dressing. You can use any type of dressing you like. As I said I prefer a vinaigrette dressing but I do like a creamy ranch and blue cheese too. It completely depends on your preference. Also, like I said before the vinaigrette dressing will come out of the mason jar easier. If you use a thicker dressing you will have to give it a good shake and probably use your fork to scrape it out. I use between 2-3 tablespoons of dressing. Currently I use bottle dressings but you can certainly use homemade dressing if you want.
This layer is very important because it is used to shield the dressing from the lettuce and other vulnerable ingredients. In this layer you would use vegetables that can hold up to being in dressing for a week or so. Like I said think vegetables that would do well in a marinade or pickled. Vegetables I have used are tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, celery, carrots, peppers, and any other hearty vegetable you like.
This layer is where you will put beans and other less hearty vegetables like mushrooms, zucchini, sprouts, green beans, corn etc if you choose to use them. If you are using an avocado then that would be in this layer too. Basically, this layer acts as a second defense between the dressing and lettuce. You don’t want this layer marinating in the dressing but it will be fine should some of the ingredients get exposed.
Layer 4: Pasta and Grain Layer
This layer is where you add your pasta and/or other grain if using. At this point the other 1-2 layers should keep the dressing away from this layer. However, if by some chance dressing does make its way to this layer no worries everything should be fine. For pasta and grains you can use any type of pasta, rice, couscous, and/or quinoa. Really anything would work so get creative.
In this layer, I put meat, eggs, and cheese. I like to keep these ingredients away from the dressing because I do not feel they do well if sitting in dressing for a couple days or more. If you are using shrimp or other seafood I would add those ingredients to this layer. For cheese, I have used blue cheese crumbles, feta cheese, goat cheese, shredded cheese, and cubed cheese in my mason jar salad.
In this last layer, you want to put ingredients that would wilt or become to soft and soggy if exposed to dressing to soon. This definitely includes any type of lettuce or green. I also included nuts in this layer because I have found that the nuts at times lose their crunch if to close to the first layer. My favorite green to use are arugula, baby spinach, and field greens. But of course you can use whatever you prefer.