Introduction: Salad Jars 5 Day Meal Prep

About: Mostly harmless

You might recognize this: You're too busy/lazy to prepare a lunchbox, now it's lunchtime and the only food around you can get your hands on, is a sloppy sausage on a gas station with ingredients that only god knows...

Many people have no time in the evening to prepare a lunchbox, but you might have 1 hour before your work week starts and can prepare your lunch 5 days ahead?

With these salad jars i prevent myself from eating out - mostly bad, and unsatisfying food ( and did I mention often overpriced?)

The salads will last about 5 days in the refrigerator and due to the layering of the ingredients the salad leaves remain crisp and fresh.

The best part is, that you can go crazy with the ingredients, maybe there's a left over steak - put it in the salad!

here I describe my salad jar prep of this week.

It takes me about one hour to prepare 5 different salad styles, but I have to say I'm quite a routined chef and I can manage several steps at one time, if you're not, you might want to add 20 more minutes ;)

The 5 salads of this week:

chick pea salad - kebab style

winter salad - beetroot, apple, feta cheese and walnuts

BBQ salad with ham and mustard dressing

greek salad with olives and halloumi cheese

surprise salad from all left over ingredients

Step 1: Ingredients for All 5 Salads

first you'll need 5 jars with around 23 oz ( 700ml ) for a big and filling salad.

If you cannot transport the filled jar upright all the time, then it might be good idea to take the dressing in a small extra container with you.

NOTE: the following ingredients are what i used, if you don't have or don't like some of the ingredients, just adjust to stuff you have and like to eat :)

Ingredients for 1 person 5 day prep:

  • 5,3 oz pasta (150g)
  • 3,5 oz halloumi cheese (100g)
  • 7,0 oz precooked/ canned chick peas (200g)
  • 7,0 oz precooked/canned white big beans (lima beans) (200g)
  • 3,5 oz feta cheese (100g)
  • 3,5 oz canned corn (100g)
  • 3,5 oz greek yoghurt (100g)
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 beetroot
  • 1/2 red apple
  • a handful of frozen edame beans
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 mushroom
  • a handful olives green and black
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1/2 chili pepper
  • 3,5 oz salad leaves (100gr)
  • 1 handful walnuts
  • some pickled mild kebab chili peppers
  • 4 cherry tomatos

Spices and sauces:

  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cilantro
  • ground garlic powder
  • sriracha hot sauce
  • mustard
  • bbq sauce
  • balsamico vinegar
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • honey
  • dried peppermint leaves ( or from a tea bag )
  • ajvar relish

Step 2: Prepare the Cooked Ingredients

as I said, I'm quite routined in the kitchen, so it is no problem for me to manage 3 different skillets at one time without burning/overcook something. setting a kitchen timer is a big help!

If you don't feel that confident, take your time and don't stress yourself - the most crucial part are the pumpkin seeds - be careful not to burn them!

this has to be done (about 25 to 30 minutes) :

  • blanch the edame beans in cooking salt water for about 2 mins and chill with cold water
  • cook pasta in boilng salt water, strain and chill with cold water
  • roast pumpkin seeds
  • roast/fry mushroom, halloumi slices and chick peas until golden brown
  • roast chick peas with onions, garlic and spices ( cilantro, cumin and paprika)

This are the steps my way (all at the same time) about 15 minutes:

  • place a pot with water to boil on the stove ( add some salt when it cooks!)
  • while waiting for the water to boil: chop 1/2 red onion, 1 garlic clove, slice the mushroom and the halloumi
  • place 2 more skillets on the stove and preheat them.
  • roast pumpkin seeds in one skillet ( no oil! )
  • add about 3 tbsp oil and roast mushroom and halloumi slices as well as the chick peas in the same skillet
  • have an eye on the pumpkin seeds! they burn pretty quick
  • blanch the edame beans in the cooking pasta water for about 2 minutes
  • don't forget the pumpkin seeds - they are pretty sure roasted by now - set the skillet aside
  • turn halloumi and mushroom slices, and stir the chick peas
  • take out the edame beans and chill them with cold water
  • start too cook the pasta - set timer!
  • when halloumi is golden brown, take it out of the pan.
  • add the onion, garlic and spices ( cilantro, cumin and paprika) to the chick peas and mushrooms and roast for about 2 minutes, set skillet aside.
  • strain the pasta and chill it with cold water

Step 3: Chopping Time

chop all the remaining ingredients:

  • pepper
  • carrots and apple ( sprinkle lemon juice on them to prevent them from getting brown!)
  • red onion
  • tomatos ( i used green pickled ones)
  • beetroot - you might to use gloves if you mind the red colour on your hands
  • chili
  • salad leaves

Step 4: Assembling Kebab Salad

Fill the jar with the following layers

( first layer should be dressing if you don't want to carry it in an extra jar)

  1. chick peas kebab style
  2. 3 tbsp corn
  3. 2 tbsp olives
  4. pickled kebab chili peppers
  5. tomatos and a little red onion
  6. fill the remaining space with salad leaves
  7. if you like top with pumpkin seeds and kebab peppers

Close the lid and keep refrigerated

Step 5: Assembling Winter Salad

This is my absolut favourite I sometimes eat it a whole week ;)

Fill the jar with the following layers
( first layer should be dressing if you don't want to carry it in an extra jar)

  1. beetroot -marinate it with 1 tsp balsamico and 1tsp honey and a little salt
  2. carrots
  3. apple
  4. salad
  5. crumbled feta cheese
  6. walnuts
  7. top with honey and pumpkin seeds

Step 6: Assembling BBQ Salad

Fill the jar with the following layers
( first layer should be dressing if you don't want to carry it in an extra jar)

  1. take half of the cooked pasta and mix with 2 tbsp BBQ sauce
  2. 3 tbsp corn
  3. 3 tbsp edame beans
  4. 2 tbsp carrots add a little BBQ sauce in the middle if you like
  5. bell pepper and red onions
  6. ham
  7. fill with salad leaves

Step 7: Assembling Greek Salad

Fill the jar with the following layers
( first layer should be dressing if you don't want to carry it in an extra jar)

  1. 5 tbsp ( or more) white big beans (lima bean) , parsley, onion, chili, and a little salt and olive oil
  2. olives and kebab chilis
  3. halloumi cheese
  4. fill with salad leaves

this one contains a lot of salad leaves and will be served with a greek yoghurt dressing

Step 8: Assemble the Left Over Salad

Fill the jar with all the left over ingredients, and get a colourful surprise salad :)

Step 9: Dressing

here are the different dressing styles I serve the salads with

It seems a lot, but most of them use the same base: greek yoghurt

all 4 dressings together won't take longer than 5 minutes to prepare, but you can choose to serve all 5 salads with just one kind of dressing - that's all up to your taste!

Note: the BBQ salad isn't in need of any dressing due to the amount of bbq sauce added.

If you don't want to carry an extra container with dressing, add in the lowest layer to the jar.

kebab dressing:

  • 2 tbsp greek yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp ajvar relish
  • salt and pepper
  • garlic powder (very little )
  • 1 tsp dried peppermint

mustard dressing ( for the left over salad)

  • 2 tbsp greek yoghurt
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp sriracha hot sauce or chili flakes
  • if you like the taste: some honey

greek dressing:

  • 2 tbsp greek yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1tsp dried dill
  • salt and pepper

vinaigrette for the winter salad:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil (or walnut oil if you want to go fancy )
  • 1 tbsp balsamico vinegar
  • salt and peppar
  • evtl honey to taste

Step 10: Ready to Enjoy!

store the salad jars in the refrigerator and take it with you to work!

earn jealous glanzes or share :)

there are different styles to eat the salads:

pour everything in a bowl and combine all the ingredients

or add the dressing and give the jar a shake, then eat it layer by layer out of the jar.

Step 11: Combine Your Own Salads: Boring But Necessary Theory

The most important rule:

add heavy and durable ingedients first and light and delicate ones on the upper layers

following some guidelines for the layers as well as ideas:

1.layer dressing

- or choose to carry it in an extra container

2.layer - durable ingredients:

carotts, beans, grains, pepper bell, celery, fennel, beetroot, pasta, chick peas

3.layer - proteins

meat, tofu, cheese, fish, eggs

4.layer - watery vegetables / fruits

tomatos, cucumber, avocado, strawberries, grapes

5.layer- delicate ingredients:

salad leaves, rucola, spinach, herbs, edible blossoms

6. layer seeds and croutons

try to fill the whole jar loosely


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