Every year, it seems June turns into such a buy month. If you have kids it’s often the end of school projects, tests, sports, and events. If you don’t have kids maybe it’s more social and added activities to your calendar.
With our amazing Okanagan summer now upon us, the availability and flavours of fresh local produce is incredible. I wanted to inspire some ways to make sure you get a chance to eat those fresh foods, even when on the run. How? One way is JAR SALADS!
The benefits of jar salads are numerous. First, it is a super healthy whole food option. Plus, it is great for any budget - you can make almost week’s worth of meals for $10 or less, depending on what all you put in it. And lastly, it saves HUGE amounts of time and you make it once, and eat it 5 times.
If you haven’t tried jar salads already, I want to share some ways to help this to fit into your busy schedule.
Kids home all summer looking for food to eat while you are at work? Have these in the fridge for them to grab and eat. Better yet have them plan and make them each week. It is seriously so simple. You can google many ideas for these creations.
First you need a number of mason jars. I have many jars - they are great for any type of storage in the pantry, putting away left overs, etc. You don’t need the expensive glass locking dishes. These jars are fully sealed and can really be used for anything.
You can buy them new at most major stores, or I prefer to find them at thrift stores or garage sales, for cheap, like 25 cents. When I buy used ones, make sure no chips on the top area. I sanitize with hot water and vinegar then wash with soap. I prefer the 500ml or 1 litre sized jars. I use 5 jars per person in my home for all the weekdays.
NOTE: You can use metal lids (I buy new flat tops but you can use the metal rings over and over if they are not rusted. Or, there are BPA free white plastic lids at most stores where your find jars.
Now you have the jars, what to add in them??? Anything!
You want to have all your produce out and washed and chopped into bite sized pieces.
An additional topic I want to add in here is the value of making your own simple salad dressing. This is such a healthy bonus. You control the quality of your oils and the other ingredients. My favourite dressing is Maple Cider dressing and is just 5 ingredients that are usually on hand in any kitchen.
Making your own dressing is very inexpensive and tastes like heaven. See below for a 5 minute simple but amazing recipe which keeps in the fridge for easily 10 days. But…. it won’t last that long before it is eaten.
1.) Make or use your already prepared dressing. Put a few tablespoons in the first so it is at the bottom of the jar.
2.) Take your hardest veggies and put them at the very bottom. You don’t want soft veggies/fruit in the dressing or it will go mushy. Veggies such as carrots, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, swiss chard, grated raw beet, etc.
3.) Add any other veggies you have - lettuce, spinach, peppers, tomatoes, avocado, etc.
4.) Add in any left over cooked grains (optional) - quinoa, barley, rice, pasta, etc.
Optional items to add in at the time of taking them out of the fridge to take with you:
Nuts/seeds - cashews go really well in salads. Also pumpkin or sunflower seeds, etc.
Beans or chicken or steak or feta for some protein.
You can top if off with fruit like apple, mango, berries, etc.
Maple Cider Dressing
2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar (great for stimulating digestion and improving gut bacteria quality)
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp dijon mustard (regular mustard will do in a pinch)
3 garlic cloves minced
Pinch of Salt and Pepper
Put all ingredients into a 1 litre mason jar and mix. You can just whisk this, but I really like the creamy texture when I use an immersion blender (right in the jar) or blend in a normal blender. So yummy!!
Store in the dressing mason jar in the fridge.
Have a great week!