Salads in a Jar

Salads Long

Mixing Mason Jars with salad? This just sounded like something made for me and this blog. We are a big fan of both around here! I designed two different versions to try out this week, and both turned out pretty darn fantastic. Can’t complain about having lunch ready in less than 2 minutes on a busy week day. I will definitely be making these again and again.

The Salads in a Jar Rules are:

  1. Use wide-mouth quart jars for optimum size.
  2. Dressing and beans must be on the bottom.
  3. Then crunchy harder ingredients.
  4. Then softer ingredients.
  5. Then lettuce (be sure to use enough, this is a salad after all!)
  6. Top with seeds or nuts if you’d like.
  7. They appear to be able to be consumed for 3-6 days depending on how fresh the ingredients are and which ingredients you have chosen to use.

Here are my first two creations!

fiesta salad

Jar #1: Fiesta Salad (from bottom to top)

  • Non Dairy Creamy Herb Ranch (2-3T)
  • Black Beans (1/2 cup)
  • Cherry Tomatoes (a few)
  • Corn (1/4 cup)
  • Salsa (1-2T)
  • Chopped Green Onions (2T)
  • Cubed Avocado spritzed with Lime Juice (1/4 of an avocado)
  • Chopped Romaine (fill up the jar, pack it in!)
  • Pinch of Pumpkin Seeds or Sunflower Seeds

italian salad

Jar #2: Italian Salad (from bottom to top)

  • Balsamic Vinaigrette (2-3T)
  • Cannellini Beans (1/2 cup)
  • Chopped Artichoke Hearts (1/4 cup)
  • Cherry Tomatoes (a few)
  • Chopped Cucumber (1/4 cup)
  • Chopped Roasted Red Bell Pepper (2T)
  • Broccoli Sprouts (1T)
  • Thinly Chopped Basil (1T)
  • Spinach (fill up the jar, pack it in!)
  • Pinch of Pine Nuts

These are what I came up with based on what I enjoy eating in my salads. Make it your own and tailor to what you like in your salads. You can add in baked meat/tofu cubes (I added chicken to the top before serving), grains (quinoa, brown rice, etc), broccoli, carrots, etc…

Looking for a few new easy varieties of salad dressing? Here are two of my recent favorites.

Balsamic Vinaigrette: Blend 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil, 2t Dijon Mustard, clove of garlic, pinch of salt, a few grinds of black pepper and a dash of maple syrup. Taste and add salt until it sparkles. You can add a little water if you’d like it thinner.

Non Dairy Creamy Herb Ranch: Blend 1/2 cup cashews, 1 cup chopped celery, clove of garlic, 1/2 cup water, 2T freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2T red wine vinegar, 1/2t salt, a few grinds of black pepper, 1/2-1cup of various fresh herbs (I used chives, parsley, basil). Taste and add salt and extra lemon juice until it sparkles.

Do you prep salads ahead of time? What are your go to ingredients?

Salad Spree Round-Up

Woo Hoo! Spring is here and everybody is eating salad again. As I was pulling up an old salad recipe from my blog, I realized that with so many of you new to the Lean.Green.Kitchen site, you may not have seen all the salad recipes posted a year ago. So I’ve gone ahead and linked them all up into this Salad Spree Round-Up. May they give us ideas now that the days are getting warmer!

Mexican Caesar Salad Mexican Caesar Salad recipe

Spring Pearl Couscous Spring Pearl Couscous Salad recipe

Beet Orange Stack-Ups Beet Orange Salad recipe

The Simplest Salad The Simplest Salad recipe

Confetti Pasta Salad Confetti Pasta Salad recipe

Cherry Chicken Curry Salad Chicken Curry Salad recipe

Red, White and Blue Quinoa Salad Red White and Blue Quinoa Salad recipe

Fruit Salad with Lime & Mint Fruit Salad with Lime & Mint recipe Do you have a favorite??

Looking forward to posting some more salad recipes soon!

Mexican Caesar Salad

Mexican Caesar Salad

It is April and about time to roll back the soups and dial in the salads! Here is our first salad recipe of 2014 and it is a beautiful colorful one that will serve you well all spring and summer. This Mexican Caesar Salad is a twist on the original Caesar Salad, with bright colors and flavors – such as diced red, yellow and orange bell peppers, crumbled blue corn chips, and a green cilantro dressing. To pile on the nutrients, the dressing uses pro-biotic-packed kefir and pumpkin seeds for the creamy base. Plus romaine lettuce is a powerhouse all on its own!


Mexican Caesar Salad

Recipe: Mexican Caesar Salad


  • 1 head of romaine, chopped in bite sized pieces
  • 1 or 2 bell peppers (a variety of red, orange or yellow), small dice
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3/4 cup blue corn chips, crumbled
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup Cotija cheese, crumbled (optional)
  • fresh ground pepper (for topping)
  • minced cilantro (for topping)
  • a few blue corn chips crumbled (for topping)

For Cilantro-Kefir dressing (makes a little more than you will need):

  • 1/2 small can of diced mild chiles
  • 1/4 cup pepitas (raw or roasted pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 cloves garlic (roasted for a smoother flavor)
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 T red wine vinegar
  • 3 T Cotija cheese
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro (I used leaves and stems)
  • 1 cup plain, unsweetened kefir (can sub with mayo if you must)
  • water to thin if needed


  1. Toss all salad ingredients together.
  2. For the dressing, blend all ingredients except the cilantro and kefir until smooth. Then add cilantro and kefir and blend again until smooth. Taste and add salt for more sparkle and water for thinning if necessary.
  3. Toss salad with dressing. Crank a little fresh ground black pepper over the salad and sprinkle a little minced cilantro and blue corn chip crumbles over the top for presentation points.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4


Okay, I can’t help it. I’ve got to share this beautiful colorful fruit salad too. It’s so easy and makes a great addition to any fiesta!

Fruit Salad with Lime & Mint

 Recipe: Fruit Salad with Lime & Mint


  • 2 mangoes, cubed
  • 1 basket strawberries, sliced
  • 2 oranges, cubed
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 5 mint leaves, chopped fine


  1. Toss the cut fruit with the lime juice and mint and serve. Tastes even better if you let it hang out together in the refrigerator for a few hours prior to serving.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

Looking for more salad ideas? Here are a few:

Confetti Pasta Salad with text  Confetti Pasta Salad

Pearl Couscous  Spring Pearl Couscous

Beet Orange Salad  Beet Orange Stack-Ups

Simplest Salad  The Simplest Salad

Recipe: Lots of Red, White and Blue Quinoa Salad

Red White and Blue Note to self: Quinoa does not photograph well. But it sure tastes delicious!

This is my ode to independence. Bringing together many flavors for some sweetness and nourishment. Together the ingredients meld while still maintaining their independent awesomeness. Blueberry, beet, cherry and feta cheese flavors bursting in celebration of their authentic natures. What do you think? Is this metaphor working at all?

This salad would be a lovely base for a pork chop or a topper for a green salad. It’d be great for a picnic. It is a unique and strong flavor profile so I’d recommend serving it in smaller amounts as a side. And if you don’t like beets, just leave them out!

Recipe: Lots of Red, White and Blue Quinoa Salad


  • 1 cup red quinoa made according to package directions with stock or water, cooled
  • 2 boiled beets, peeled, cubed and cooled
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped cherries
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 3/4 cup cubed or crumbled feta


  • 1T olive oil or butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped cherries
  • 1T balsamic vinegar
  • 2t Dijon mustard
  • 1t salt
  • 1/2t pepper


  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions. Cool.
  2. Boil beets until a fork goes into them smoothly. Cool.
  3. Heat oil/butter in small sauté pan over medium heat.
  4. Add cherries and sauté until softened.
  5. Add balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard and saute for a few more minutes.
  6. Add salt and pepper. Sauce will be very salty. Cool.
  7. Toss everything together in a large bowl and chill in refrigerator.
  8. Add additional salt and pepper if needed.
  9. Can be served chilled or at room temperature.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time: 15 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8


Have a wonderful holiday weekend everyone! Here in Northern California it’s scorching hot, so remember to hydrate.

Salad Spree: Cherry Chicken Curry Salad

Chicken Curry Salad

It’s our final week of May’s Salad Spree! But not to worry, I love salads and won’t be able to contain myself from posting salad recipes throughout the summer.

This week’s salad is for my chicken loving friends. It brings together the beautiful flavors of dried cherries and curry and uses gut friendly Greek yogurt instead of the commonly used mayo. I highly recommend using organic chicken (this is an excellent use for leftover meat after roasting a whole chicken.) Enjoy it on lightly toasted whole grain bread or over a bed of greens with a little olive oil and lemon juice.

Recipe: Cherry Chicken Curry Salad


  • 2 cups Organic Chicken (cooked, cubed or shredded)
  • 2T Red Onion (minced)
  • 1 Green Onion (green parts chopped small)
  • 1/2 cup Dried Cherries (rough chop)
  • 2 stalks Celery (chopped small)
  • Handful of Spinach (chopped tiny)
  • 2T Parsley (chopped tiny)
  • 1/4 cup Organic Greek Yogurt
  • 1t Curry Powder
  • 1t Dijon Mustard
  • 1t Sea Salt
  • Juice of a Lemon
  • A few cranks of Black Pepper


  1. Mix first six ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
  2. In a little bowl mix the yogurt, curry powder, Dijon mustard, and sea salt.
  3. Toss the yogurt mixture in with the chicken mixture.
  4. Squeeze the lemon juice into the mixture.
  5. Crank the black pepper over the top to taste.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

Did you enjoy our Salad Spree? Which salads did you try? I’d love to hear all about it!

Salad Spree: Spring Pearl Couscous

Pearl Couscous

It’s Salad Spree Wednesday! Every Wednesday in May we are adding a salad to our summer salad arsenal.  This week’s recipe is a Spring Pearl Couscous Salad that makes a lovely side dish or a base for a light dinner if you add some protein on top. This is definitely one of those recipes where you can mix and match whatever produce you have on hand.

Pearl Couscous (also known as Israeli Couscous) is made of baked wheat and tastes a little like orzo pasta. It is different from classic couscous, including different preparation methods, so you can’t just substitute one for the other. Pearl Couscous can be found in the grain bins at most stores (including Whole Foods).

Here’s the recipe:

Recipe: Spring Pearl Couscous Salad


  • 1 cup Pearl Couscous
  • 2 cup Broth (veggie or chicken)
  • 1 Spring Onion (minced)
  • 1/2 cup Spring Peas
  • 1 small to medium Zucchini (small dice)
  • 2 cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 1/2t – 1t Jalapeño pepper (minced)
  • 1/2 cup Kale (chopped tiny)
  • 1 Lemon (juiced)
  • 2T EVOO
  • 2T Parsley (chopped tiny)
  • Salt & Pepper (to taste)
  • 1/4 cup Goat Cheese (optional)


  1. Bring the Broth to a simmer.
  2. Pour in the Pearl Couscous and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Before turning off the heat, add the Spring Onion, Spring Peas, Zucchini, Garlic, Jalapeño (amount determined by how much kicked you’d like in the dish), and Kale and stir for a minute or so to incorporate and soften.
  4. Turn off the heat and toss the mixture into a serving bowl.
  5. Stir in Lemon Juice, EVOO and Salt and Pepper. Don’t be stingy with the salt and pepper! Depending on the saltiness of the broth you may need lots or a little.
  6. Before serving, mix in the Parsley and top with the Goat Cheese.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 15 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

One more week for our Salad Spree!  I’ve got some ideas for our final salad… what would you like to see?

Salad Spree: Beet Orange Stack-Ups

Beet Orange Salad

Welcome back to the month of May’s Salad Spree!  Each week we are highlighting a new salad to add to our salad arsenal. This week’s salad is my answer to two questions I’ve heard more than once: 1. What do I do with the beets in my weekly CSA box? 2. What’s the best way to introduce my kids to beets? My answer is the Beet Orange Stack-Up. Easy, beautiful, pretty quick and full of orange sweetness to balance the earthiness of the beets.

Recipe: Beet Orange Stack-Ups


  • 2-3 small Beets or 1-2 bigger Beets
  • 2 Oranges
  • 1T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • pinch of Salt
  • crank or two of Ground Pepper
  • 1-2T finely chopped Parsley


  1. Prep beets by chopping off greens and tails.
  2. Bring saucepan full of water to a boil. Add beets and cook at a high simmer/low boil until you can poke a fork into the center of the beet.
  3. Meanwhile, cut two 1/2 inch rounds out of the center of each orange (4 slices total). Peel and set aside.
  4. In the blender combine the remainder of the oranges (no peel), EVOO, salt and pepper and blend to a smooth sauce.
  5. When beets are ready, peel skin off using a spoon (it should come off very easily) and slice into 1/4 inch rounds. Note: You can also dice the beets into small cubes for a more kid-friendly version.
  6. Stack-up the salad starting with the orange slice as the base, then beet slices and finishing with a few spoonfuls of the orange sauce. Note: Kids love the sauce, use more if you are introducing beets for the first time to make the salad sweeter.
  7. Top with the parsley and a last pinch of salt and pepper if desired.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 15 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

Now this salad will put color on your plate! Enjoy!

This post is linked to Sunday School at Butter Believer!

Salad Spree: The Simplest Salad

Simplest Salad

Welcome back to May’s Salad Spree, where each week we will be adding a salad to our salad arsenal.  Last week’s Confetti Pasta Salad was delicious and quite a bit of prep work.  Today’s salad could not be simpler, but there is a twist… you must find (or grow) beautiful fresh greens.  Because they are beyond highlighted here – they are honored!

Terroir is our foodie vocab word for today: The official definition is something like, “Terroir is a French word meaning ‘a sense of place,’ which is embodied in certain characteristic qualities, the sum of the effects that the local environment has had on the production of the product.” This means that foods from the earth (tomatoes, coffee beans, tea, cocoa, and most notably wine) contain flavors that are unique to where they have grown. Greens definitely have terroir.

This salad will connect you to the terroir where your greens were grown.  So you want them fresh as can be.  For those of you who receive CSA boxes, this is the salad you make the day you pick-up your box.  The salad you make for lunch right after visiting the farmers market.  The salad you make after picking your own beautiful greens from your garden. In my humble opinion, use the greens within three days for optimal results.

Here it is… enjoy!

Recipe: The Simplest Salad


  • The freshest, highest quality lettuce greens you can get your hands on (such as: Mixed Spring Greens, Romaine, Arugula or Spinach)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (use the good stuff for this one)
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper (fresh ground is best)

Add ons (totally and completely optional):

  • Candied Walnuts
  • Sun-Dried Tomatoes
  • Bleu Cheese (or other favorite crumbly cheese)
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Peeled Orange Segments


  1. Clean greens really well. Dry greens really well.
  2. Chop greens to desired bite size and place in mixing bowl.
  3. Lightly sprinkle olive oil over greens. Not too much!
  4. Lightly sprinkle Balsamic vinegar over greens. Not too much!
  5. Toss lightly.
  6. Pile greens on a serving tray. Give it some height so it looks all professional and awesome.
  7. Pinch a bit of sea salt and LIGHTLY sprinkle over the greens.
  8. Crank just a few cranks of pepper over the top.
  9. Add-ons: Plate the extras on the side all fancy like.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

If you set the table, use the lovely linens, and place a basket of warmed bake goods out, you can charge $8-$12 for this salad to start your meal! Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Bon Appetit!

This post is linked to Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays!

SALAD SPREE Recipe: Confetti Pasta Salad

Confetti Pasta Salad with text

Here in Northern California it is getting hot! And that means it is time to stop making so many soups and start making big salads. To kick-off salad season here at the Lean.Green.Kitchen, we are having a SALAD SPREE during the month of May. Each week we’ll be putting together a salad recipe to add to your salad arsenal for the upcoming months.

No better way to start off our SALAD SPREE then with a party salad.  This one is all about celebrating whatever you have in those veggie drawers in the fridge and in the pantry and making it work. This Confetti Pasta Salad could also be called Kitchen Sink Pasta Salad or Rainbow Dare Pasta Salad because it has a lot going on and a lot of flexibility.  The recipe below shows what I put into mine today.  Note: Salad clean-up is much easier than actual confetti.

Recipe: Confetti Pasta Salad


  • 10oz of smallish whole wheat pasta (or any smaller pasta, including gluten free)


  • 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (use your good stuff here!)
  • 1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Lemon Juice (freshly squeezed preferred)
  • 2 T Honey (warm it until it is pretty runny)
  • 1t Dried Oregano
  • 1T Dijon Mustard
  • 2 pinches Sea Salt
  • 1 pinch Black Pepper
  • 2 cloves Garlic

Confetti Add-Ins

  • 1 Bell Pepper (small dice)
  • 6 Baby Carrots (or 1-2 Big Carrots) (thin rounds)
  • 1 med Cucumber (small dice)
  • 1-2 Spring Onion (minced)
  • 1 stalk Green Garlic (thin half-rounds of white and green)
  • 2 handfuls Sugar Snap Peas (chopped)
  • 1/2 med Zucchini (small dice)
  • 12 Basil Leaves (chopped fine)
  • 1 can Artichoke Hearts (drained and chopped)
  • 1/2 cup Olives (sliced)
  • 8oz Garbanzo Beans (drained)
  • 1/4 cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes (juilenned)
  • 4 Kale Leaves (chopped fine) *This is a great place for hiding those leafy greens!
  • 1T Parsley (chopped fine for topper)

*You can choose whatever veggies, beans, and herbs sound good to you. The Rainbow Dare is a challenge to have as many colors of the rainbow represented in your add-in choices! Shredded chicken and feta cheese are also nice.


  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Let cool.
  2. Blend dressing ingredients together. I recommend using a blender for this to really incorporate the honey.
  3. Prep all the add-ins.
  4. Combine the pasta, the dressing and the add-ins. Toss gently and if you can stand it, let the salad chill in the refrigerator for a little while.

Preparation time: 30 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 6

This salad is my take on a recipe that I found on the internet over two years ago.  After much searching I found the original, so I could give proper due to Danica (who luckily named her pasta salad “Danica’s Pasta Salad” thus helping me find her!  Her original recipe is here:

Let the SALAD SPREE begin!