how I make grab & go salad jars

by | Jan 17, 2020 | a slice of life, Recipes | 32 comments

I’ve learned that when it comes to healthy eating, I need to make it easy.  If I have healthy food on hand that’s visible, fresh, quick, and tasty, I will make better choices.  Well, editing the fridge and pantry helps, too, so I don’t have a stash of something that’s going to derail my efforts.

For the last few years, I’ve been making salad jars to keep in the fridge, so it’s easy and convenient to eat a quick veggie-loaded salad for lunch or as a side with a quick dinner.  I’ve also found that the glass keeps the lettuce and other veggies crisp for several days.

When I shared these salad jars on Instagram, I received tons of questions!  What do I put in the jars?  How do I eat them?  When do I add the dressing?  Etc.  So, I decided to make a video showing how I make my grab & go salad jars…


The funny thing is, shortly after I filmed the video Jeff came home and asked, “What is on your face?”  I looked at my reflection in my computer monitor and could see that I had a big, black streak down my right cheek.  “Oh man!  I hope that wasn’t there while I was filming!”

Well, it was.

If that had happened a few months ago, I would’ve deleted the video and made it again.  But, I don’t want what I share to always be the polished and pretty.  Yes, I want to share those things, but I want to share what’s real.  And today, it’s real that I had a big smear of something on my face.

So, we’re just going to laugh about it and roll with it.

The other thing I was asked about was where I got my jars and lids.  For the salads, I use the Ball 16 oz. Sharing Jars, but you can use any pint-sized canning jars or even larger quart-sized jars for salads-for-two.  The lids are white plastic lids that can be found in the canning section at Walmart.  You can only buy them in the store, but I found a very comparable set or regular and wide-mouth lids HERE.

My friend, Cheri, turned me onto these lids.  They are so much easier than the two-part metal lids that come with canning jars.  They have a large and standard size that can be used on many different sized canning jars.  I use jars to store single portions of soup, these salads, rice, homemade dressings or sauces, chicken salad, and other leftovers or things I pre-make for the week, so I get a lot of use out of jars and these lids!

Meal prepping has never been an area of strength for me, but I’ve really been working on doing more of it over the past year.  Between church and school activities, most of our evenings having something going on.  Preparing some healthy food in advance helps with making better choices when we’re tempted to just pick something up.

Does anyone else make salad jars?  What are your favorite ingredients to use?


  1. Rebecca

    So true — having the healthy choices easily at hand makes it much, much easier to eat well.

  2. Shirley Ann

    Hi Marian!
    The girls at my workplace were always amazed at my jar salads and I love the way you have put yours together…upside down! I start the other way…greek dressing in first, then whole grape tomatoes and chunks of cucumber and peppers, then chunks of leftover chicken breast and finally top the remainder of the jar tightly with lettuces.

    • Marian Parsons

      How do the cucumbers hold up? I’ve skipped using “wet vegetables and just add those later (like cucumbers & avocado), but does it work?

  3. Dori Johns

    We love salad jars, too, and my friend gave me a great idea that I use all the time: I buy 4-packs of diced fruit in little plastic cups, like peaches for example. Eat the fruit, wash out the cup, place a clean cup at the top of the salad-filled jar and put your dressing in the cup. The rim of the jar supports the rim of the plastic cup and you can still screw on the jar lid. The jars can be stored right side up and you get to pour the dressing on top of your salad instead of it ending up underneath the salad greens. p.s. your new fur kids are darling. 🙂

  4. Cyndi

    If you really want to keep them fresh, vacuum seal the jars. That’s how I store all my vegetables, cheese, bacon, pieces of left over onions. Basically anything that fits in a jar! Just make sure the lettuce is dried off.

  5. Michelle

    Another free way to accumulate those lids (although at a slower rate) is to save the lids from empty mayonnaise jars. They are exactly the same. Mine are all blue because I buy my mayo at Trader Joe’s!

  6. Jenn

    I just love that you had a streak on your face…not for embarrassment, but for relatability! I just started blogging about a year ago, and have fiddled around with video…it would have totally not been worth doing it all over just because of a smudge! You and the video are still beautiful and helpful!

  7. Pat

    Love your video and couch.

  8. Jan

    I love this whole idea and the salad dressing tip from Dori and the mayo jar tip from Michelle. I am doing this. Thanks!

  9. Alice

    I love the Salad Jar idea. I too am trying to make better choices ready and available. It seems that if I buy cookies and chips this is what I’ll eat. For me I need to keep it out of my pantry. Thank you for sharing!

  10. Julie Larson

    I totally agree with the use of glass containers. I have switched all my storage containers to glass or stainless. It has taken a bit of time to get used to the switch, obviously the glass weighs more, but I love using them. When I come home from grocery shopping I even put my sliced lunchmeat in a Pyrex rectangular dish (w/ a blue lid). It seems to last a few extra days without getting slimy or yucky especially as I try to buy the products that have minimal or no preservatives.

  11. Susan

    I love your blog!
    I grow a lot of peppers, from jalapenos to bell peppers. I discovered a way to utilize them without canning. I wash them well; cut them up into medium dice and place into my Ninja blender. I pulse them a few times and then add a couple of tablespoons of a good olive oil ; preferably a fruity one that you eat with bread. Add a small amount of white or red vinegar to your liking; fresh garlic( peeled) and salt to taste. Pulse just to combine. You can customize this solely to your palate. I pour the chunky mixture into sterilized pint sized canning jars(that have cooled) to the ringed top and use the white screw top lids to seal. You can make them salsa like or more pureed. I date the lids and put in the freezer. I love this added with fresh tomatoes on a salad or grilled chicken . Fabulous in cheese quesadillas, scrambled eggs or any pastas! Great added to any jarred sauces especially enchilada or pasta. The flavor is fresh and the colors stay bright.

    • SueA

      That is brilliant!

  12. Jenn Anderson

    Ball also sells plastic lids that are leak-proof. The white plastic lids that I got at Walmart would leak when the jar got tipped, but the Ball lids really don’t leak. They are sold in the store by the canning jars. They have both small and large sizes too. The mayonnaise lids do work though and so do Classico spaghetti sauce lids.

  13. Jennifer Erickson

    Love this!! I do a lot of canning and love using the jars for food storage. I have similar lids that I use, too. 😊

  14. Cheri

    Way to go with the jar salads! I’ve been using canning jars for food storage for many years (since the late 80’s when I started actually canning!) — the lids (and yes, even the mayo lids) are perfect! Two quart jars are also nice to have on hand when you have a lot of soup leftovers 🙂

  15. Veronica

    Great ideas thank you!!
    You made me laugh so much when you got the cats off the counter 😂
    I’m going to try your idea of the salads in a can. I get so lazy when is time to make salads for me and my girls, this is neat and exciting. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Kay

    A few years ago, I had taken a salad to work. While eating it, I came across a dead moth. Yuck! So now I ALWAYS wash my lettuce (even if the label says prewashed). I won’t make that mistake again!

  17. Kristin

    How delicious! What a great way to keep me on track during the week!

  18. Addie

    Ohhh…you are so cute with the black line on your face! I saw it before I read and thought something was on my screen. I hope that is the result of going back to painting again. In that case it is a badge of honor.
    To help keep the cats off the counter or anything else, a water spray bottle works great!!! They don’t like it and learn real quick. The way you are doing it now becomes a game and an attention getter.
    I LOVE and use Ball jars for all of my kitchen storage. I have completely ditched ALL plastic. It’s been about 5 years now and I couldn’t be happier. Have you ever tried to throw in a few green olives in your salad? I find they make the salad a bit more “meatier” and more filling.

    • Marian Parsons

      I haven’t tried green olives in my salad, but I should! I love green olives. I eat them a lot as a snack or with a veggie/cheese platter for lunch. I have switched to almost all glass, too. I have a few large plastic containers when I need them in a pinch and I have some lettuce/berry keepers that are plastic.

      As far as the cats, I use compressed air and that works pretty well, but I didn’t have it on hand when I was filming!

  19. Marilee

    This really is a great idea, but having family members who work in the grocery/restaurant industry and one RN, I feel it important to suggest that people wash the prepackaged salad fixings, even the ones that say they have been prewashed. Many times the prewashed salad fixings have been the e coli culprit, and e coli is a pretty bad thing. I wash all my greens and then spin off the water in a salad spinner, I also will leave the rinsed veggies in the spinner for easy access. Other good things to add as a topping are beans such as kidney or black beans, thus adding protein, and if they’ve been rinsed they can go right in with the lettuce, carrots, etc.

    • Marian Parsons

      Good to know! I guess I take the pre-washed sticker for granted, but washing them again is probably a good idea.

  20. Marilee

    Oooops. I should have added that when I leave the salad in the spinner I first pour out the water that has accumulated in the bowl.

  21. Amy

    Good video, especially for those of us wanting to simplify assembling salads to have on hand for a quick grab-go-eat.

    Unfortunately, the video was marred by your dropping your kittens from counter height to the floor. Please don’t make a habit of dropping your kittens as you did in the video. Kittens and cats are nimble and physically resilient, but being dropped as you did carries with it a high probability of injuring the kitten/cat.

  22. Michele M.

    Liked this idea so much I am going to try it.

    Thanks for the great idea and inspiration.

    Hubs and I both need to eat lighter and lose weight,

  23. RAH

    I like this idea. Thanks for sharing!

  24. Jean

    Thanks for the tips. I am going to try those salads. Were any animals harmed in the making of that video? 🙂

    • Marian Parsons

      Ha, no animals were harmed in the filming of that video. 🙂

  25. Rita

    Thanks for the video and some of the comments also had good tips. I’ve used those plastic lids for a couple of years. I can pickles and salsa and like to use the plastic lids when storing an open jar in the fridge. The plastic ones don’t rust or get yucky like the flats/rings do.

  26. Kathie Hood

    I love the idea of salads for my balance is poor, due to stroke and coma in Nov 2016 and this last summer I smashed my hip in a fall, and my sweet non cooking husband is shy of doing things in the kitchen and this looks like a non threat ifhealthy dinner. My only problem is finding the white caps that don’t leak. All the caps I saw leaked even the ball one caution you to take it the lining of the cap and then of course it leaks☹️☹️ Someone please help.

  27. Tamara

    I am just glad to have a home to be at in this time of stay at home. I love your blog.


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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