This recipe comes from two sources. First, a salad I read about on a menu and was really excited to try — until I was informed by our knowledgeable server that all the sauces and dressings at the restaurant were unsafe for me. How is it possible that not a single sauce was allergy-friendly? I don’t know. I was grateful to be steered away from food that would make me ill, and I ate my boring but properly cooked plain food instead. But I was still thinking about it, and figured I could absolutely whip up an awesome chopped salad. Secondly, after all the ingredients were chopped, it was so gorgeous that I thought I could use the “salads in mason jars” technique that is all over the food internets to make a) better photos, and b) lunch.
Keeping salad in a mason jar allows you to put the dressing on the bottom and layer the ingredients so they do not get smushed or soggy. Layer something that won’t absorb the dressing and get soggy on the bottom — I put the chicken down there. Carrots, celery, corn, bacon on top of that. Avocado under tomato (so the acid would keep the avocado green), a sprinkle of Daiya cheddar shreds (absolutely optional), and some sprouts on top. Instead of croutons, I’ve used roasted fingerling potato slices. I served it all over spinach, but use whatever greens you prefer. The dressing in this case is a super simple cilantro-lime vinaigrette, using frozen chopped cilantro (but use fresh if you’ve got it!).
Chop everything up. Add or replace ingredients as you choose — go for color. Think about your layers a bit, but layer it into jars and go to town. Lunch for days, in the time for one meal prep. It’s color, freshness, and portable flavor. This recipe makes about 4 pint jar salads (with the greens kept separate). You will likely have leftover potatoes and chicken.
Chopped Cobbish Salad, in a jar, gluten-free, allergy-friendly
- 4 teaspoons chopped cilantro (thawed, if previously frozen)
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 4 Tablespoons lime juice
- 6 Tablespoons best-quality olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- olive oil to coat
- seasoned salt or spice mix of your choice
- fingerling or other small potatoes, sliced thin or chopped small
- chicken breast
- mixed herb seasoning of your choice
- 6 slices bacon, cooked
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped small, or shredded
- 3 stalks celery
- 1 ear corn, cooked and removed from cob, or 1/2 cup defrosted
- grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1 avocado, cubed
- spinach or other greens
First, cook your cooked ingredients.
Roasted potatoes for “croutons”: Pre-heat oven to 425°F. Wash and slice. Toss potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoned salt or other spice of your choice. Bake 20 minutes or until crispy. I can’t tell you how many of these to make — I always make a full pan because they make great snacks.
Cook your chicken breasts. I prefer to grill them on my little electric grill, but you can always use this method.
Cook your bacon until crispy, drain and crumble.
Okay. Now on to the vegetables. You’re looking for about 1/2 a cup of each vegetable, divided up into 4 servings. Given that the corn and tomatoes are sort of pre-sized, aim to get everything else between those two sizes.
Now mix up your dressing — whisk or put all the ingredients in a jar and shake. Add about 1-2 Tablespoons of dressing to each jar, depending on how much dressing you like (and remember you’ll be putting this over additional greens). Then layer in the rest of the food. I put the sprouts on top so I could pack them in. Cap it, put it in the fridge, and look forward to your next meal. When ready to serve, I tipped the jars over and shook them a little. Put the greens down on a plate and pour over the rest of the goodies. I pulled the sprouts aside so that I could use them to swipe the rest of the dressing out of the jar.
The longest I’ve kept a jar salad around was 2 days — they might last a bit more, but I haven’t tried it yet.