Lunch In A Jar!
I am challenged everyday by clients, who can’t find time to prep and eat their veggies. Making every excuse in the book. It’s either they don’t want to eat their veggies because it’s not as appealing as their colleagues macaroni pie and Bar-B-Que chicken covered in garlic sauce. (yup sounds yummy)! However, that macaroni sitting in your tummy may not look too pretty two hours later, feeling bloated, tired and perhaps craving something sweet.
We have seen the pics on FB of Smoothies in a jar, how fabulous and delicious they look.
Now imaging layering dressing, then individual ingredients, in a jar! What a brilliant way to pack your lunch – either for the office or for picnics, or even pre-preparing for a lunch party.
What is surprisingly impressive is how well salads keep in the jars, provided you choose the ingredients with care. It still will be better for you, and better tasting, than those mayonnaise-loaded salads, available on the run.
And yes, those pretty stripes of colorful veg do make healthy food as appetizing as an ice-cream sundae. With a home-made savory salad jar, you can see at a glance what proportion of carbs, veg and protein you have by looking at the width of the stripes – it’s a food pyramid in a jar!
So why a jar, and not the time-honored Tupperware box? It’s partly aesthetics, mostly practicality. The container needs to be tall, to layer up the ingredients, as keeping the constituents reasonably separate is what helps them stay fresh-tasting, and wide-mouthed jars are perfect.
STEP-BY-STEP SALAD-IN-A-JAR FORMULA
Packing a salad jar is a combination of chemistry and engineering. Here’s my six-step guide to salad jar construction.
Start with the dressing in the bottom, making sure it is punchy enough to season and flavor the whole jarful.
Next add hard, robust vegetables such as root veg or cabbage. This should be stuff that will benefit from marinating in the dressing, cut thinly enough to soften nicely. It will also lift the rest of the ingredients out of the liquid, preventing slimy salad-dressing-saturated disasters.
Third in line is the fairly firm veg that won’t mind the weight of a few more ingredients on top. Green beans and peas are perfect.
Now it’s the turn of brown rice, rice noodles, quinoa or couscous, or whatever starch you want to add. Low carb-ers can leave this out. Another layer of vegetables can go on top, more delicate things such as roasted squash.
A layer of protein such as cheese, chicken or fish – jars are great for leftovers. Season it lightly and add a shake of seeds as well (sesame are good go-tos) to boost flavors.
Finally, fill the top of the jar loosely with fragile salad leaves and herbs, where they won’t get squashed.