Whether you’re looking for healthy packed lunches to take to work or just want quick, nutritious meals to enjoy throughout the week, there’s nothing better than a salad in a jar! Loaded with fresh veggies, hearty quinoa, chicken, and chickpeas and tossed in a vibrant olive oil dressing, this Mediterranean Quinoa Salad in a Jar is one of our faves!
Learning how to effectively meal prep has been a total game changer for us! Not only does it make it easy to stick to our nutrition goals throughout the week, but it also prevents waste and saves tons of time. You can’t go wrong!
We love a tasty overnight oats recipe or even our DIY chipotle chicken
There are endless ways to make this
Why You’ll Love This Salad in a Jar
- They’re budget-friendly and quick to make.
- You can mix and match ingredients to fit your flavor preference and dietary needs.
- They’re perfect for making ahead of time and taking on the go.
- One jar is a single-serving so you can easily portion ingredients.
What You’ll Need
Fro this recipe, we drew inspiration from our popular Mediterranean Quinoa Salad using Middle Eastern flavors and loads of fresh produce. Here’s everything you’ll need:
Salad in a Jar
- Chickpeas – Also known as garbanzo beans, these are a staple in many Mediterranean recipes and add lots of texture as well as plant-based protein and fiber.
- Fresh Produce – A combination of red onions, grape tomatoes, and cucumbers adds vitamins, nutrients, fiber, color, and a satisfying crunch.
- Quinoa – A good source of complex carbs and a complete protein source, quinoa makes this salad in a jar ultra filling.
- Olives – We love olives and include Kalamata olives in this salad for a boost of healthy fats and a briny flavor. However, we know they can be a divisive ingredients. So, if they aren’t your thing, feel free to omit them completely.
- Cheese – Technically optional but highly recommended a sprinkling of feta adds a creamy texture that balances out the crispness of the veggies.
- Chicken – Again, this is optional but makes the salad filling. It’s also a great way to use up leftovers from when you make a whole chicken or roasted chicken and vegetables.
- Olive Oil – This forms the base of the dressing creating a savory, slightly peppery flavor and adding healthy fats.
- Lemon Juice – Helps cut through some of the heaviness of the oil, creating a refreshing well rounded dressing.
- Seasonings – Dried oregano, salt, and pepper create a slightly savory flavor that’s herbaceous and delicious.
Making the Best Salad in a Jar
Layering Your Salad
When it comes to making the best salad in a jar, the order of ingredients is crucial!
- Start with the Dressing. We always want to add the dressing to the bottom of the jar so it doesn’t seep down and cause the rest of the ingredients to become soggy.
- Add the Heaviest Ingredients. Next, add heavy items like chopped veggies, protein, and grains.
- Include Lighter, More Delicate Options. To finish, include any add-ins and lighter ingredients like olives, greens, and salad toppings.
Making this Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
Now that you know the basic order of importance, we can put it to use with this recipe specifically.
- To start, whisk your dressing in a bowl or in the jar itself.
- Next, add the chickpeas, tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, chicken, and quinoa.
- To finish, include the olives and your greens.
- Finally, seal your salad in a jar, and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to eat. Then, just invert it onto a plate, and enjoy!
Add-Ins and Variations
As mentioned, this Mediterranean Quinoa Salad in a Jar can easily be customized to fit all your needs and preferences. Feel free to mix, match, and substitute your favorite ingredients. For instance, some of our favorite variations include:
- Swapping Out the Quinoa. We like to use quinoa to boost the protein content of this recipe. However, any grain you like best will work. For instance, you could replace it with cooked rice, bulgur pilaf, or even pasta.
- Using a Different Protein. If you want to keep this recipe vegetarian-friendly, you can omit the chicken completely. However, if you’re a fan of animal-based protein, try including other options like hardboiled eggs, ground beef or turkey, and cooked shrimp.
- Replacing the Fats. Feel free to omit the feta to make this recipe dairy-free. Or, swap it out with any other cheese you prefer like goat cheese or Parmesan. In addition, you can also include avocado chunks, nuts, or seeds for even more healthy fats.
Common Questions About Salad in a Jar
On average, when stored in a sealed container, salads in a jar will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Technically, you can. However, the best way to enjoy this recipe or any meal prepped salad is to flip it over and dump it onto a plate or in a bowl. This ensures everything gets coated with the dressing.
Yes! Quinoa is naturally gluten-free. Just be sure to double-check the label, ensuring it comes from a certified gluten-free factory. Otherwise, you may run the risk of cross-contamination.
Meal Prep Salad Recipes
If you enjoy this Mediterranean Quinoa Salad in a Jar, be sure to try out more of our favorite salad recipes below!
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad in a Jar Recipe
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad in a Jar:
- 1/2 cup chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
- 1/2 cup grape tomatoes (sliced)
- 1/4 cup red onion (chopped)
- 1/2 cup cucumber (chopped)
- Optional: cooked chicken
- ½ cup quinoa (cooked)
- ¼ cup Kalamata olives (sliced)
- 1 cup spinach
- Optional: feta cheese
- Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a large mason jar.
- Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, chicken, quinoa, olives, greens, and cheese.
- Seal, and store in the fridge up to 5 days.
- To eat, invert the ingredients onto a plate, and enjoy!