Are you bored with your lunchtime routine? I go through little spurts where I only want to eat one or two things—usually last night’s leftovers and/or a strange mix of whatever needs to be eaten up in the fridge. But then there are times when I’m just craving something different and fun.
I really love making salad jars for this reason. This one is kind of quirky and pairs flavors that you might not think to put together, but then it just…works. (Beets and olives? You bet!) My favorite part of these salad jars is the layer of avocado hummus in the middle.
So let’s talk about salad in a jar for a second, and discuss why they are pretty much the best.
First reason: They are so easy to take on the go—to work, the park, on car trips, etc. Second, they are fun to make (that’s totally a good reason!). Third, they’re pretty and we eat with our eyes. And last but not least, they can be made ahead of time. Bonus!
I usually put something hearty on the bottom of the jar. It could be beans, cooked whole grains (rice, quinoa, etc.), mushrooms, and the like. This is also where I add my vinaigrette. For this salad, I just used a little extra virgin olive oil and a good squirt of fresh lemon juice. Some of it soaks into the quinoa, and the rest pools in the bottom of the jar.
The next layer is my fresh (or roasted) veggies. Here I’ve included candy-stripe beets, carrots and fennel. All of them are tossed with a little lemon juice to keep them from browning (see third reason above). Next comes a big old dollop of avocado hummus. If you haven’t tried avocado hummus yet, what are you waiting for?! Put it on everything. It will boost the protein factor as well as adding in good fats and a lot of flavor.
Next come the sliced kalamata olives, followed by leafy greens (your choice), and a good sprinkle of nuts and seeds to finish it off. Layering in this way and finishing with the leafy greens helps keep them from wilting or getting soggy. Soggy salads are no bueno. From there, all that’s needed is a lid and it can hang out in the fridge until lunchtime.
Yes, it’s that easy to make a healthy, filling lunch ahead of time! When lunchtime rolls around I turn the jar over a few times to let the dressing coat all of the ingredients and then dig in. Or if you prefer, you could pour it out onto a large plate.
This well-rounded salad in a jar is pretty, portable, and perfect for lunch.
- 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup olive oil plus more for drizzling
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 medium or large ripe avocado, sliced
- Pinch of ground cumin or cayenne pepper (optional)
- Sea salt or other coarse salt, to taste
- 1 cup shredded veggies (I used beets, carrots, and fennel)
- 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice*
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
- 1-2 tablespoons avocado hummus
- 1-2 tablespoons sliced kalamata olives
- 2 cups leafy greens (your choice)
- 1/4 cup nuts and seeds
- Place the chickpeas into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the S-blade. Pulse several times to begin pureeing. Add the olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic. Pulse again until almost smooth. Next add the avocado. Pulse until completely smooth. Add cumin or cayenne pepper, if desired, and blend. Taste, season with salt, and add additional lemon juice if desired. Puree again until blended.
- Transfer to an airtight container and drizzle with olive oil to help prevent browning. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Add the shredded veggies to a medium bowl and drizzle with 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Toss to mix. Set aside.
- Add olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and quinoa to the jar. Top with veggies, then add avocado hummus, olives, greens, and nuts/seeds in layers.
- Top with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate until ready to eat. The salad can be made the night before, and it will keep for several days in the fridge.
*Can substitute the 1 tablespoon lemon juice with vinegar if desired.