Getting more vegetables into kids’ tummies (and your tummy too) can be a challenge especially when they tend to turn their noses up to all things green … or yellow … or red … or orange. One thing we’ve always found with “picky” eaters is that it’s more than possible to get them to eat their veggies with gusto with some clever mommy marketing. So that leads us to our latest veggie-filled recipe for Make-Your-Own Salad in a Jar. It’s cool. It’s fun. And it’s playful. Any time you lay out a bunch of ingredients and ask the kids to “create” a meal with what’s in front of them, they’ll be hooked on green, yellow, red, and orange for good. And that’s the point of this recipe.
For this month’s Recipe Redux, we were challenged to “raise the bar on food in a jar.” We’ve done several posts over the years on canning — from pickles to strawberry jam — and we recently shared a recipe for homemade granola layered with yogurt and fruit in mason jars, so we decided to go in a different direction this time by using Mason jars as vehicles for a nutritious make-your-own salad. This salad is perfect for school lunches (more on that in a minute) or a lunch any adult can bring to work.
For our Make-Your-Own Salad in a Jar, we used quart-size Ball jars. We then set out a bunch of salad ingredients: lettuce, baby spinach, croutons, roasted chicken, peeled and thinly sliced jicama, diced red bell peppers, cubes of reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, white kidney beans, Mandarin oranges, toasted pecans, shredded carrot, and dried cranberries.
Our awesome Boston University interns, Lauren and June, were on hand to build the perfect salad in a jar. Start with one to two tablespoons of your favorite salad dressing. Layer with the “solid” ingredients next , and then top with salad greens. When you’re ready to eat, shake up the jar to coat everything with the dressing. For school or office lunches, you may want to pack along a cute bowl or plate, because eating straight from the jar can be a bit tricky; most plastic forks are not long enough to reach the bottom!
The sky is the limit when it comes to the make-your-own ingredients. Here are a few others to consider: flaked canned tuna or salmon, lightly toasted walnuts or any other nut, roasted beets, cooked grains like quinoa or farro, diced tomato, chopped hard boiled eggs, sliced mushrooms, and diced avocado. Oh, we’re having fun now!
We can’t wait to see what our fellow Recipe Reduxers came up with for raising the bar on food in a jar