In our world of drive-through fast food, Uber food delivery, grab and go at the supermarket and old school take-out, it’s fairly easy to eat. Eat well, eat healthy? Well, that is another challenge entirely. Eating healthy takes a bit of time.
Convenience was the theme behind this set of recipes, but not for daily eating, my assignment was to create recipes for a picnic. I needed something that was easily transportable and fun for a day of eating outside. The solution was food in a jar or premade so there was no prep at the part or on the beach. The other caveat, they had to be summer no-cook recipes.
I came up with salads in a jar, Italian smashed sandwiches, sandwich kebobs and chocolate mouse in a jar. Every recipe was chill, no cooking, just compiling for a no-sweat picnic.
I tested these recipes with friends at a pre-concert tailgating party at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado. If you haven’t been, its worth a plane ticket to see your favorite band in of the best venues in the world. It’s that beautiful.
After the article was published, my sister began using the salad recipes as a way to eat healthy in a hurry. She premade a bunch of these salads in a jar, stored them in the fridge and grabbed them on her way to work. The possibilities are endless. I’ve come up with a few more ideas since then, but feel free to create your own and share your ideas in the comments section. These will remind you of those popular one-bowl meals served at hipster, fast-casual restaurants.
Recipe: No Cook Picnic Foods & Salads in a Jar
Inspiration: No cook, healthy salads that can be made ahead for taking to work, school, tail gating or a picnic.
Tips: These salads are pretty straightforward, but I have a few tips to help make these as tasty as possible:
- Always put the dressing in the bottom of the jar. If you forget, don’t dump the dressing over the salad or you’ll have a soggy mess by tomorrow. These are meant to keep for up to 4 days.
- Place the heartier and heavier ingredients at the bottom of the jar. Chicken, shrimp, tofu, beef, pasta, rice, beans etc. go in the jar first. Next wetter vegetables and fruits like tomatoes, peaches, plums and avocados. Next add heavier veggies, such as cabbage, edamame, sugar snap peas and radishes. Finally lettuce or greens.
- Try to cut everything to a similar size. A medium dice is good. This will allow the dressing to coat everything when you give the jar a shake.
- Do not pack the jar too tight. Layer and leave some air, otherwise the ingredient will wilt and begin to ferment. Also, leave about half the jar available for the greens.
- Protect the fruit of veg from oxidation. If you are using a fruit or vegetable that browns easily, douse it with some diluted lemon juice or citric acid.
- To eat, shake up the jar to coat the ingredients with dressing. Eat directly from the jar or dump in a bowl.
Make Ahead Salad in a Jar Ideas
The following are suggestions, you can easily decide the quantity of the ingredient based on what you like and what you have on hand.
1. Steak and shake salad: 1. Your favorite vinaigrette, 2. chopped up flank or skirt steak, 3. blue cheese crumbles, 4. diced cooked new potatoes, 5. slivered red onion, 6. arugula greens.
2. Southwestern chicken and peach salad: 1.a 3:1 ratio dressing of extra-virgin olive oil and white vinegar, teaspoon of peach jam, 1/2 teaspoon finally diced jalapeño, salt/pepper (stir it up and pour in jar. Shredded chicken, cubes Monterrey jack cheese, diced peaches (preserved with lemon or citric acid), blueberries, diced green onion, diced poblano peppers, chopped pecans, torn kale and romaine lettuce.
3. Italiano: 1. Italian balsamic dressing, 2. diced nitrate-free salami or ham, 3. fresh mozzarella pearls (or diced fresh mozzarella), 4. chopped green olives, 5. diced cucumber, 6. cherry tomatoes halved, 7. cauliflower and broccoli florets broken up, 8. leafy red lettuce.
Recipes in this article:
2. Click here or on the image to the right to download Plum Asian Salad, Smashed Italian Sandwiches, Sandwich Kebobs, Fruit Infused Sparklers (available in pdf, no longer on the Live Naturally website).
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