Thursday, September 25, 2014
Mason Jar Salad
I'm finally hopping on the mason jar salad bandwagon. Why has it taken me so long to catch on? I mean, I'm all about mason jars. Since my Granny cans, I have a pantry full of jars filled with all manner of preserved veggies, and after the veggies are eaten, I save the jars to store bulk grains, nuts, seeds, etc. I use mason jars as my water bottles with various-sized Cuppow lids. Omg, did you know they make Cuppow mason jar martini shaker lids now?
But for some reason, it took a new cookbook to finally get me turned on to the idea of stacking a salad in a mason jar and taking it to work for lunch.
Mason Jar Salads and More by Julia Mirabella is NOT a vegan cookbook. There are a number of vegan salads in the book, but other recipes call for cheese and meat. So if you're looking for a vegan mason jar salad book, this isn't it. Someone really ought to write one though! But the great thing about Mason Jar Salads is that most all the recipes are easily veganizable. Typically, when I see a non-vegan recipe, my brain instantly converts it to a vegan one.
Take for example, this Bulgur Wheat Salad from the book.
Chickpeas, red onion, cucumber, red bell pepper, bulgur, tomatoes, dill, and parsley are topped with feta in the book. But in my version, I subbed out tofu feta. And I made the tofu feta using a recipe in The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions. Basically, it's just tofu marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, fresh basil, and capers. It's delicious and probably way tastier than feta anyway.
At the very bottom of the jar, under all of those ingredients, is an easy Lemon Vinaigrette from the book —just olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. When you're ready to eat the salad, just give it a few shakes and dump into a bowl. Voila!
This was such a healthy and wholesome lunch. And somehow salad tastes better after it's been artfully stacked in a jar. Bonus: in keeping with my Mofo Pantry Raid theme, I finally got to use some of the bulgur that's been lurking in my pantry for ages. Also, Maynard was quite fond of the lemon vinaigrette, which I managed to spill on the counter.
There's a nice picture tutorial in the book on how to assemble a mason jar salad — dressing on bottom, hearty ingredients (like peas or beans) next, veggies above those, and salad greens on top so they don't get soggy. There are a number of mason jar salads in the book I can't wait to try — Corn and Blueberry Salad (with Lime Vinaigrette), Barley & Zucchini Salad, or the Spinach, Radish, & Quinoa Salad.
But the book is also filled with other recipes —non-salads — that can easily travel in a mason jar for lunch. One is Chicken & Vegetable Stir-fry, for which I'd sub out Beyond Meat vegan chicken strips. You make your stir-fry with fresh veggies using the recipe, and then you stack the fry on the bottom of the jar and the rice on top. There's a homemade Spicy Salsa that Julia recommends taking to work in a jar along with a separate jar of tortilla chips. She even covers breakfast with smoothies in jars — Banana & Almond Butter Smoothie, Blueberry Breakfast Smoothie, etc.
Now I just want to eat out of jars ALL THE TIME!