Asian-Style Salad Jars: Your Next Weekend Food Prep! [RECIPE]
I cannot believe it’s September already. Where did the summer go!? As I sit here looking out my living room window and writing this post, I can see the leaves on one of the trees turning from lush green into golden-yellow and pinkish-red. Soon enough, all I’ll be seeing out my window is bare, leafless trees! And then it gets cold. And then it’s winter. Some of my favorite fruits and veggies are out of season, and therefore more expensive. And that makes for a very, very, sad Elyse.
Along with the month of September comes the busy school year – the commencement of not only school, but all extracurricular activities. Whether you’re a college student, a parent of elementary age children, or a careerperson, this recipe is a great way to make sure that your lunches are healthy, fresh, and delicious! (And pretty!!)
In order to eat clean & healthy as much as possible (80-90% of the time), you should probably cook your own food. You don’t always know what restaurants and cafes are putting in your food! EAT ALL THE VEGETABLES. ALL THE FRUIT. ALL THE PROTEIN. ALL THE TIME. FOREVER. NO TREATS FOR YOU!
HOWEVER, if you’re a normal functioning member of society and go to school/work/have kids, you know that to cook three wholesome meals a day can be just a little egregious. On the other hand, downing a quick cheeseburger and fries, while convenient, leaves you feeling sluggish and unsatisfied later on. Food prepping is the way to go, my friends! It can be a tough habit to develop at first, particularly if you don’t like to cook, or can’t be trusted with sharp objects, like me. (True story – I recently cut my thumb helping my neighbor cut potatoes. Oops!) In the end, it is well worth the effort.
I saw the idea for salad jars from this youtube video from BakingMadGymAddict and I fell in love! I’ve really got a thing for mason jars. They’re so old-fashioned looking, functional, and they make me feel cozy! Literally, perfect for any seasonal food – tea, coffee, salad, oatmeal, fresh fruit, anything!
This particular youtube video, the Ultimate Guide to Salad Prepping in a Jar, had some really great tips for whenever you want to use this particualr food prep method:
- Salad dressing on the bottom
- Wetter, heavier ingredients on the bottom
- Lighter, drier ingredients and greens on the top
- Use pre-washed greens to make sure that you don’t get any excess moisture in the jar
- To help absorb any extra moisture, fold up a paper towel into a small square, place it in the lid of the jar, and screw it on tight!
- When packing in the greens on top, gently ball them up and use up as much of the negative space as possible
- Make sure all of your veggies have dried after washing them (you may need to assist in speeding up the process). If using cherry tomatoes, don’t slice them before putting them in the jar since they are a very moisture-dense food.
- A prepped salad jar will stay fresh for 4 days – possibly more depending on the ingredients. You can prep up to 4 at a time if you eat one each day! :)
- I purchased my 1500 mL mason jars from Hobby Lobby ($2.69 ea.), but I’m sure you could find them at other craft stores as well. Try not to get anything smaller, otherwise you won’t have enough room!
I had a lot of fun making these salad jars and taking these photos – plus I got to go to Hobby Lobby and pick out all kinds of fun things! BONUS! I probably spend too much money there. I don’t have a problem or anything. But wait, like – can I just live there please? Can I have all the things in Hobby Lobby? Kay.
I spent a lot of time working on my food photography skill set today, so you are going to ogle these photoes and you are going to LIKE IT. Plus, look at all the gorgeous fresh vegetables!!!
I was really excited to use fennel seed and celery seed – I’ve never cooked with them before and was excited to see what kind of flavors they would bring to my culinary repertoire!
For visual reference, this is the part of the bok choy that we will be sautéing
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup coconut aminos (If unable to find the aminos, 1/4 c. low sodium soy sauce)
- 1/4 cup rice cooking wine or rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons arlic powder
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 4 chicken breasts, raw
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed
- 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- Dash of salt & pepper (to taste)
- 2 Tablespoons rice cooking wine
- 3 Tablespoons coconut aminos
- 1 cucumber, sliced (cut slices into fourths)
- 1 package of baby corn (about 1.5 cup) chopped into chunks
- 4 stalks of Bok Choy (stalks chopped & leaves chopped - separately)
- 1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped
- 3 bell peppers, chopped
- 1 1/2 cup snap peas, cut in half
- 1 cup matchstick carrots
- 1 radiccio
- 1 package of baby arrugula
- 1 package of water cress
- 1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews (chopped)
- 4 1500 mL mason jars
- Cutting board
- Grill or oven
- Bowl (for chicken)
- Frying pan
- Spatula/wooden spoon
- Leak-proof container (to shake vinaigrette)
- Combine olive oil, coconut aminos or soy sauce, rice cooking wine or vinegar, sesame seeds, garlic powder, and sesame oil in a small, leak-proof container. Vigorously shake the container until mixture is blended well.
- Store in refrigerator until further notice.
- Combine garlic powder, onion powder, ginger, fennel, celery seed, cloves, sesame seeds, salt, & pepper in a small dish and gently sift until combined.
- Place chicken breasts in a separate bowl. Poke them all over with a fork.
- Add coconut aminos and rice cooking wine/rice vinegar. Use a your hands or a spoon to incorporate all the juices.
- Lightly dust the chicken on both sides with the seasoning blend, and grill or bake until finished. (about 20-25 minutes in the oven at 425 degrees, or 17-20 minutes on the grill at medium-high heat)
- Place the chicken on a plate in the refrigerator to cool. Once chilled, dice chicken into small pieces.
- Drizzle a little olive oil in a skillet and set at medium heat. Add your chopped sweet onions and sautee until they begin to caramelize. Add chopped bok choy leaves and sautee until they wilt - no more than 2 to 3 minutes. Store the bok choy on a plate in the refrigerator to cool.
- Utilize the time while your chicken is cooking to start chopping your vegetables. Don't forget to check the chicken! :)
- 2 Tablespoons vinaigrette
- Baby corn
- Bok choy stalks
- Bell peppers
- Bok choy/onion sautee
- Snap peas
- Diced chicken
- Matchstick carrots
- Water cress & arrugula
- Chopped cashews (optional)
- You might have to a tiny bit of finagling to get the lettuce in at the end - use up as much 'negative space' as possible without crushing your greens too much!
- You may also have to, at times, gently press your ingredients down into the jar so they use as little space as possible. Don't worry, your salad will still taste delicious :)
I hope you all enjoy this recipe and can incorporate it into your weekly food prep! Or if you don’t food prep already, hopefully this will give you a way to get started!! I love food prepping because it helps me feel productive and focused, and it makes me feel confident that what I’m putting into my body is good for me! Put good in, get good out!!
What would you like to see more of on Run 2 Your Own Beat?
Email me at email@example.com with questions, comments, and suggestions!