How to Make a Mason Jar Salad

Mason jars are perfect for canning and preserving, but these handy glass jars can go far beyond this functional task. These days, Mason jars have been repurposed for household décor, drinking glasses and, yes, portable containers for packing salads. This handy salad-in-a-jar idea has ignited into a full-on trend seen on many social media platforms, including Facebook and Pinterest. And why shouldn’t it be? Mason jar salads offer so many fabulous rewards: a boost for eating healthy, vegetable-rich salads, sustainable, earth-friendly packaging, and a stylish way to pack a delicious meal on-the-go. Plus, the sky’s the limit in terms of how creative you can get with these fabulous packable salads.

The steps to layering your Mason jar salad are perhaps the most crucial part of the packing process. First goes the dressing, followed by the vegetables and/or fruit, grains and/or beans, crunchy nuts, seeds or dried fruit, and finally the leafy greens. If you follow this order, the ingredients stay separated just enough to avoid getting soggy. When you’re ready to eat, screw on the lid, give it a good shake and pour the salad into a bowl.

Follow this mix-and-match Mason jar salad guide to get creative with your salad fixings. Simply pick an ingredient from each column to layer into your Mason jar.

Dressing Vegetables and/or Fruits Grains and/or Beans Nuts/Seeds/Dried Fruit Leafy Greens
Balsamic vinaigrette Snow peas Farro Walnuts Baby spinach
Lemon tahini dressing Avocado slices Chickpeas Peanuts Radicchio
Soy ginger dressing Mandarin oranges Quinoa Almonds Mache
Cilantro lime vinaigrette Red bell pepper Black beans Sunflower seeds Romaine
Creamy avocado dressing Bell peppers Millet Dried cranberries Kale
Red wine vinaigrette Mushrooms Lentils Cashews Arugula
Raspberry walnut vinaigrette Peaches Brown rice Raisins Butter lettuce
Basil cumin vinaigrette Cauliflower Kidney beans Hazelnuts Red oak lettuce
Sesame dressing Artichoke hearts Barley Macadamia nuts Herb lettuce blend


And here's a light and refreshing recipe for a chopped kale and barley salad a la Mason jar.


Mason Jar Salad: Chopped Kale and Barley Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Recipe developed by Sharon Palmer, RD

Serves 4

Salad ingredients:
4 cups kale, chopped
1 cup barley, cooked
3 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 medium cucumber, sliced

Dressing ingredients:
½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
½ tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon pomegranate juice
Salt & pepper to taste


  1. Prepare all of the ingredients. Begin by pouring 1 tablespoon of salad dressing into each jar.
  2. Divide the tomatoes and cucumbers equally among the jars.
  3. Place a quarter cup of barley into each jar.
  4. Add the kale to the jars, packing in as much as possible. Close the lid. Keep refrigerated until ready to eat. Shake well before serving.
Sharon Palmer
Sharon Palmer, RD, is a Southern California-based registered dietitian and author of The Plant-Powered Diet. Read her blog, The Plant-Powered Dietitian and follow her on Facebook.