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Mediterranean Mason Jar Salad

Southerners love their Mason jars and Luke Saunders, founder of Farmer’s Fridge, offers up a new reason to use them. Combine a Mason jar with a salad, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a healthy lunch. Salads packed in Mason jars are easy to make, portable and stay fresh in the fridge. Just layer your choice of vegetables, greens, protein and dressing, then shake it up and dig in.

masonjarsaladDressing:
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
6 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. basil

Salad:
4 quarters of artichokes, canned
2 each grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1/4 cup English cucumbers, quartered and thinly sliced
1/4 cup canned Cannellini beans
1 Tbsp. parmesan cheese, grated
2 Tbsp. Kalamata olives, sliced
1.5 cups mixed greens
1 Tbsp. pine nuts, roasted

Begin by layering the quartered artichokes, followed by the grape tomatoes, English cucumbers, Cannellini beans, parmesan, Kalamata olives, mixed greens and pine nuts. To make the dressing, whisk together the red wine vinegar, water, honey, Dijon mustard, salt, black pepper, oregano and basil in a medium-sized bowl. While still whisking, slowly pour in the olive oil. Dressing can be stored in a 2-oz. portion cup on top of the salad.

5 Tips for the Perfect Mason Jar Salad

1. Prep the dressing early: Start salad construction by combining the dressing ingredients the night before to allow all the flavors to marinate and meld together.

2. Choose your greens: Instead of the standard romaine or iceberg lettuce, swap out the greens with something new. Experiment with varieties like arugula, kale and spinach. Each type of leafy green offers different health benefits, ranging from improving immune defenses, lowering cholesterol, strengthening bones, combatting heart disease and promoting healthy vision.

3. Start the jar with hearty veggies: By reverse layering salad ingredients within the jar, the salad will be right side up and ready to eat when the jar is flipped. Base layers of Mason jar salads should include the heartier vegetables that can take the weight of the other ingredients — when the salad is flipped onto a plate, the lettuce will be on the bottom and other vegetables will be on top.

4. Layer it up: After the heavy ingredients, pack the rest of the Mason jar with greens and garnishes such as croutons, berries, protein or nuts. To finish, store a separate container of dressing on top of the salad, screw on the jar’s lid and the salad is ready to go.

5. Know how to store the salad: To prevent the salad from getting soggy, pack everything into the jar as tightly as possible to keep ingredients from moving around. Leaving the greens for last creates a moisture barrier, making the salad able to stay in the fridge for a few days. Salads can be enjoyed on a plate or in a bowl, or ingredients can be shaken up and the salad eaten directly from the jar.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Farmer’s Fridge, a new healthy vending kiosk concept.

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