One of my favorite dance teachers growing up had a little phrase she reminded herself of whenever her choreography didn't quite work out in bodies as well as it did in her head: KISS, or Keep It Simple, Stupid (or "Silly," for the 8-and-under classes). She'd walk around the studio whenever the class somehow was facing the back corner of the room with our legs in a jumble whispering to herself, "Kiss, Kirsten, Kiss." Can you imagine a more compassionate or encouraging way to tell yourself you'd messed up and need to fix it? I couldn't then and still can't. When the mason jar salad phenomenon hit a while back, KISS came to mind. What could be simpler, and more stupid-proof, than putting your greens in a jar with dressing and shaking? It seemed to be the perfect solution to transporting healthy meals to work or school, plus super fun. And Pinterest-pretty. For some reason, though, I resisted. Maybe it's because I'm obsessed with bowls, or I was doubtful of exactly how much salad I could cram in a skinny jar. (My size belies just how much salad I can, and need, to eat to be full.) Rather than remain blinded by my unfounded bias, I decided to give this newfangled jar business a whirl. What was the worst that could happen? I can say, from my skeptic's mouth, that nothing bad whatsoever happened. Only good. Here's a combination of pretty standard salad fare, made all the better because it was shaken, not stirred. Depending on how long you plan to store your salad in the jar, you may want to layer strategically: greens on top will prevent sogginess, and if you plan to dump your salad out in a bowl putting the dressing in first (on the bottom of the jar) will mean that the dressing comes out last, more like, well, dressing. But if you're eating it right away, as I was here, the layering need not be so specific. Will you give your mason jars a new purpose? What are your favorite layers? Please share, and let's continue the revolution!
YIELDS 1 salad
- 4-5 leaves Swiss chard, chopped
- 1/2 cup carrot, diced
- 1/2 cup cucumber and celery, diced
- 1/4 avocado, diced
- 1/4 cup cooked lentils
- 1 garlic clove, sliced thin
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika, cumin, or other spice of your preference
- 1 tablespoon white miso paste
- 3 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoon German mustard (or any variety)
1. Chop all vegetables and set aside. 2. In a medium sauté pan, combine lentils, garlic, olive oil, and spices. Cook uncovered over medium heat until the garlic is browned and the lentils are crispy. 3. Prepare the dressing: whisk together miso, lemon juice, and mustard. You'll have extra dressing, so you can also double the quantity to have even more left over. 4. Combine the greens, chopped vegetables, and lentils in layers in your jar. (I used a wide-mouth 18-oz. jar for ease of fork-use.) Pour dressing over the top of the ingredients, cover, and shake. Shake in all directions--up and down, side to side, rolling it around--to coat the salad as thoroughly as possible. Refrigerate until ready to eat.
Also by Jennifer: Classic Tabouleh Salad
Related: Vegan Endive Apricot Salad
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Photos: Jennifer Kurdyla