These tomato and quinoa salad jars are giving a totally new meaning to 'packed lunch'! They are super fun and easy way to eat healthy and delicious meal!
Hello May! It's such a pleasure to finally have you back!
With all that crazy gorgeous weather we've been having, I must say, that over the last few days, I've been feeling like I'm living in some tropical island, and not the UK! Temperatures have been super hot, and everything outside just exploded with the colour, smell, and life in general!
So, naturally, outside dining and salads season is officially open, and today's recipe is just perfect for that!
If you never tried making your own salad jars, you are n for a treat! The idea for these came after seeing these Mediterranean Chickpea and Egg Salads on Half Baked Harvest few weeks back. As soon as I saw Tieghan's recipe, I knew I wanted to try it, and I'm keep seeing them popping up on Instagram, so I thought it's about time I try making my own!
Why to make a salad in a jar...?
You may be asking this question... If you do, here's few good reasons:
-they are cheap and money saving (plus you will have the prettiest looking lunch in the office);
- salad jars are time saving, they are absolutely ideal for a meal prep, you can easily make them on Sunday, then store in the fridge and just grab a jar to take to work with you on a weekday;
-they are healthy and really, really tasty! You know exactly what went into your salad, and it's so much better than any shop-bought equivalent!
-you can literally use any type of vegetables, fruit, seeds, pulses and proteins you like, they are perfect for using any leftovers too!
What I really liked about this recipe, was the fact that chickpeas are firstly marinated in the dressing, and then added with the rest of the ingredients. This quick process of soaking them in the dressing allows them to absorb all these delicious flavours, and prevents them from tasting too dry and bland. Way to go!
To assemble these tomato and quinoa salad jars, you just start layering the ingredients together. Start with cherry tomatoes, then add grated carrots and quinoa. Once you start adding chickpeas, the dressing will start running through, and will settle at the bottom of the jar.
Most of the recipes out there call for the dressing to be added first, as it will prevent the rest of the ingredients close to it to get soggy and unpleasant. But in this case, tomatoes and carrots are coping really well with being immersed in the marinate, and they will still remain their shape, taste and crunch in perfect tact.
Basically, first few layers should keep the rest of the ingredients from getting too soggy, and it's best to use the vegetables that cope well in vinegar (like tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, radishes, onions, etc).
Middle layers are best, when they consist of the ingredients that shouldn't necessarily 'swim' in the dressing, but it's also not the end of the world if they will (like beans, chickpeas, lentils, etc). And finally, the top layers are a bit more delicate ingredients, like cheese, pasta, salad leaves, rocket, etc. You don't really need to follow these steps, and feel free to experiment with your own salad jars, the above are just 'recommended' by frequent users!
Here's the best part- when you ready to eat, you just tip the content of your jar to a bowl, stir it together, and EAT!!! These tomato and quinoa salad jars are really the most convenient and easiest ways to make a healthy and delicious lunch. They can be prepared in bigger batches, and just imagine how much time you can save, when all you need to do in the morning is just grab a jar out of the fridge and off you go!
I hope you will enjoy them as much as I did, and as always, let me know if you have any thoughts!
Tomato and Quinoa Salad Jars
For the dressing/ marinate:
- 50 ml olive oil
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 large lemon
- 1 tbsp fresh dill chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh basil chopped
- ½ tsp red chilli flakes
salt and pepper to taste
For the salad:
- 250 g cherry tomatoes
- 1 medium carrot (grated or shredded)
- 300 g cooked quinoa
- 240 g chickpeas (1 can)
- 1 medium cucumber (sliced or chopped)
- 50 g vegan feta cheese
- 120 g rocket salad
- 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
- 1 medium avocado (optional)
- Combine all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl or a jar. Once combined, pour the dressing over the drained chickpeas, ensuring to coat them evenly. Set aside.
- Using glass jars, start layering your salad ingredients: tomatoes, carrots, quinoa. Spoon the chickpeas and any leftover dressing over the quinoa. Next, layer up your cucumber, feta cheese and rocket salad. Top up with some pumpkin seeds, sliced avocado and lemon wedge.
- The jars I'm using are 750 ml capacity