I just hopped on the salad-in-a-jar bandwagon. Finally. As with many things in life, I'm a little late to the game, but this one definitely falls into the better-late-than-never bucket.
While any type of salad certainly works here, classic Greek salad — loaded with tomatoes, cucumbers, salty kalamata olives, and creamy feta — is particularly suited for getting packed in a jar. The great thing about this salad is that the lemony vinaigrette keeps its place on the bottom of the jar, while all the other ingredients get layered and packed on top, so everything stays dressing-free until you toss the salad in a bowl.
It's the order of ingredients that's important
If you're wondering how a salad packed in a jar along with the dressing doesn't get soggy, it all has to do with the order of ingredients. The dressing, in this case a lovely tangy vinaigrette, gets added to the jar first, while the remainder of the ingredients are layered from firm and hearty on the bottom to soft and delicate on top. That leaves the lettuce getting added to the jar last, and not touching the dressing until the salad gets poured out into a bowl when you're ready to eat.
Greek salad is all about the toppings
Sure, I love greens as much as the next person — actually, I really love leafy greens — but I put them on the back burner when it comes to salads like this, because Greek salad is all about add-ins. The crisp cucumbers, sweet tomato, salty kalamata olives, lots of creamy feta, and of course a tangy vinaigrette that ties it all together. That's where the heart and soul of this salad is. And, if you want to make your salad a little more filling, I recommend tossing in some leftover chicken.
It's a make-ahead affair
This might just be the ultimate make-ahead lunch. You can make a single salad for tomorrow's lunch, but why stop there? Go ahead and fill enough jars to make lunch for the next few days. Made with chicken, the salad will be good in the refrigerator for a few days, and up to five days if you don't include chicken.
How To Make Greek Salad in a Jar
What You Need
1 to 4 tablespoons vinaigrette
1 cup cooked chicken, from 1 medium chicken breast
1/2 cup cucumber, peeled and seeded
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted
1/2 cup chopped tomato
1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 cup salad greens, chopped
For the vinaigrette:
Salt and pepper
Wide-mouth canning jars with tight-fitting lids: pint jars for side salads, quart jars for individual meal-sized salads, 2-quart jars (or larger) for picnics and potlucks
Large bowl, to serve
- Make the vinaigrette: In a small jar or other container with a lid, combine the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, oregano, and oil, along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Screw the lid on the jar and shake to combine.
- Salad dressing on the bottom: Add 1 to 4 tablespoons of the vinaigrette to the bottom of the jar. Adjust the amount of dressing depending on the size of the salad you are making and your personal preference.
- Add the meat (optional): Next, if you plan to include meat in your salad, add the chicken that's been cut up into bite-sized pieces.
- Cucumbers: Next, add the cucumbers to the jar.
- Cheese: Next, add the crumbled feta cheese to the jar.
- Olives: Next, add the pitted kalamata olives to the jar.
- Onions: Next, add the sliced red onions to the jar.
- Tomatoes: Next, add the chopped tomatoes to the jar.
- Salad greens: Finish with adding the chopped salad greens to fill the jar.
- Storing the salad: Screw the lid on the jar and store the salad in the refrigerator for up to three days if you included chicken, or up to five days if you're not including chicken.
- Tossing and eating the salad: When you're ready to eat, unscrew the lid and pour the salad into a bowl. As you pour the salad into the bowl, the dressing will coat the ingredients. If not, use your fork to gently toss the salad.
- You can also leave out the chicken, and substitute with additional cucumbers, tomatoes, and salad greens.