Hands down, the best way to pack your salad for lunch is in a mason jar. Sure, your coworkers might roll their eyes just a little (at first). But when they figure out that your lunch looks gorgeous, your lettuce is crisp and delightful, and your jar doesn’t leak, they’ll come around.
The best thing about this technique? You can make a week’s worth of lunches all at once. It takes a tiny bit of planning, but then you’re done. Try not to be too smug…
Start with the dressing at the bottom of your jar. It’s key to separate this from the fragile greens to keep things from going soggy. You can use any type of dressing that you like—homemade if you’ve got the time, but don’t stress out about it if you’re in a rush. A couple of tablespoons should be perfect.
Next, add hearty vegetables. Think things like cucumbers, broccoli, asparagus, carrots, celery, beets, and peppers. Any veggies that would survive pickling are probably going to do fine here.
After this layer, add more delicate veggies like mushrooms, zucchini, sprouts, and corn. If you like beans or avocado in your salad, you can add them here as well (quick tip: toss your avocado in lemon juice to keep it from going brown in the jar).
If you want grains or pasta in your salad, add these next. We love quinoa, but any grain will work well.
After the grain layer, add any meat, eggs, or cheese that you’re using in your salad.
Finally, add your greens and nuts. Lettuce works perfectly, but don’t limit yourself! Try baby spinach, arugula, mixed greens, or kale as well. Nuts are added in this layer so that they don’t lose their crunch over time.
You’re done. Put the lid on your jar, and refrigerate. When you’re ready to eat, give it a good shake and empty it into a bowl.