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Meet your new go-to lunch: meal prep Mason Jar Salads! They’re easy, fresh, and flavorful; highly transportable, customizable, and pretty much everything you want in a salad, conveniently layered into a jar.

4 meal prep salads in mason jars

Why You’ll Love Meal Prep Mason Jar Salads

  • The Perfect Meal Prep Lunch. They last in the fridge for days, they’re easy to put together, and they’re super satisfying. What more can you ask for?!
  • Colorful and Flavorful. These are salads you will look forward to eating! All those colorful ingredients layered into the jars makes you want to grab a fork and dig in—plus, each layer brings different flavors and textures to the table, giving you a nice variety in every bite.
  • Customizable. I share some specific salad ideas for inspiration below, but also some mix-and-match ideas to help you come up with your own.
Overhead view of chickpea mason jar salad in bowl

How to Make Mason Jar Salads

While you could just throw everything into a jar and hope for the best, mason jar salads require a little bit of strategy.

Putting the dressing on the bottom keeps your lettuce and crunchy bits from getting soggy; plus, when you dump the jar into a bowl, that means the dressing will pour over everything else.

Any size of jar will work, depending on how big (or small) you want your salad, but I use a wide-mouth quart-sized jar because I like a BIG salad. Pint jars are good for smaller salads. No need to buy jars, either—jars from pasta sauce, jam, mayo, etc., will work.

You can choose a few options from each category (well, except for the dressing—stick with one there!), but be sure to layer everything in the order outlined below for perfect meal prep salads.

Salad dressing in mason jar

Layer 1: Dressing

Add about 2 tablespoons of store-bought or homemade dressing. Here are some dressings that I love using in my mason jar salads:

Chickpeas and cucumbers in mason jar

Layer 2: Sturdy Veggies and/or Legumes

These are vegetables that can stand up to (or are improved by) soaking in dressing:

  • English or Persian cucumbers
  • Thinly sliced red onions or shallots
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Shredded or sliced carrots, radishes, or beets
  • Thawed frozen peas or corn
  • Broccoli or cauliflower florets
  • Diced or sliced bell pepper
  • Whole grape tomatoes
  • Diced or sliced celery
  • Shredded cabbage or Brussels sprouts
  • Chickpeas, black beans, lentils, edamame, and other legumes
Chickpeas, feta, and cucumbers in mason jar

Layer 3: Proteins

You don’t need a protein if you’re serving your salad alongside a sandwich or leftovers, but I always like to add something from this category if my meal prep salad is going to be my entire lunch.

Layer 4: Grains

Again, not a must, but a good-to-have if you’re making it a meal!

Chickpeas, feta, cucumbers, peppers, and herbs in mason jar

Layer 5: The Accoutrements

Consider this the layer of ingredients worth getting excited about. 

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Dried fruit
  • Fresh fruit that won’t brown (mango, plums, citrus, blueberries)
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Cooked crumbled bacon (Baked Bacon, Air Fryer Bacon)
  • Cold leftover roasted vegetables
  • Tortilla or wonton strips
  • Croutons
Chickpea salad in mason jar

Layer 6: Greens

Pack these into the remaining space at the top, but don’t pack them in too tightly, or they won’t be crisp and fresh.

  • Romaine
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Spring mix or other bagged salad greens
  • Shredded Brussels sprouts or cabbage (if you prefer more raw flavor and crispiness; to mellow the flavor and texture, add them in the second layer)
4 mason jar meal prep salads

My Favorite Recipes for Mason Jar Salads

You can make almost any salad into a meal prep mason jar salad, but these are the ones I have on frequent repeat:

Asian mason jar salad

Asian Cabbage Salad. I change up the original recipe by adding whole wheat noodles and add a little extra oil to the dressing to thin it out. If you’ve ever had Ramen Salad (a Midwestern staple!), you could totally add some of those ramen noodles too for extra crunch.

Mexican mason jar salad

Black Bean Corn Salad. To bulk up this recipe, I add romaine lettuce. The frozen roasted corn from Trader Joe’s would be fan-freaking-TASTIC in this Mexican-inspired salad.

Mediterranean chickpea salad in jar

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad. This is another where I add romaine; really, you can do this with any bean salad recipe to take it from a side dish to a full meal. Letting the chickpeas sit in the dressing marinates them and makes them extra delish!

Italian chopped mason jar salad

Italian Chopped Salad. For a flavorful, filling salad, this Italian chopped salad recipe can’t be beat. It is just so good, with olives, chickpeas, mozzarella pearls, salami, and a zippy vinaigrette. If you’re not a fan of the bite of raw red onion, place it directly in the dressing to mellow it.

3 meal prep salads in mason jars

More Salads to Assemble in Mason Jars

Overhead view of chickpea mason jar salad in bowl

Mason Jar Salads

5 from 3 votes
Learn how to make meal prep mason jar salads for quick and easy lunches and never eat another sad desk lunch again! The tips and recipes you need.

Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 10 minutes

Servings: 1 salad

Ingredients
  

Layer 1: Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons salad dressing

Layer 2: Sturdy Veggies

  • English or Persian cucumbers
  • Thinly sliced red onions or shallots
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Shredded or sliced carrots, radishes, or beets
  • Thawed frozen peas or corn
  • Broccoli or cauliflower florets
  • Diced or sliced bell pepper
  • Whole grape tomatoes
  • Diced or sliced celery
  • Shredded cabbage or Brussels sprouts
  • Chickpeas, black beans, lentils, edamame, and other legumes

Layer 3: Proteins

  • Chicken
  • Tofu
  • Drained canned tuna
  • Cubed ham
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Deli meats and charcuterie meats

Layer 4: Grains

  • Farro, quinoa, rice, couscous, wheat berries, or pasta

Layer 5: The Accoutrements

  • Shredded, cubed, or crumbled cheese
  • Nuts
  • Dried fruit
  • Fresh fruit that won’t brown (mango, plums, citrus, blueberries)
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Cooked crumbled bacon
  • Cold leftover roasted vegetables
  • Tortilla or wonton strips
  • Croutons

Layer 6: Greens

  • Romaine, spinach, kale, spring mix, shredded cabbage or Brussels sprouts

Instructions
 

  • Add 2 tablespoons of dressing at the bottom of a mason jar.
  • Layer the ingredients in the order listed above.
  • To serve, turn the jar upside down and empty it into a bowl and toss with the dressing.

Notes

TO STORE: Mason jar salads will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, depending on the ingredients you use.

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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6 Comments

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  1. I’m usually not a huge salad person, but these Mason Jar Salads are converting me. There’s something so satisfying about building your own salad in a jar, and the ingredients stay so fresh. And, it looks so pretty layered in the jar.5 stars

  2. So happy I found your website. I am looking for healthy alternatives for lunch to help with my fitness/weight loss goals. You did great with this post! It’s easy to follow, love it! Thank you, Erin! I will keep myself updated with your new recipes.5 stars

  3. I finally tried Mason Jar Salads, and I can’t believe I waited this long! The layering is genius. Plus, it was so fun to customize! I threw in some leftover grilled chicken for extra protein, and it was delicious.5 stars