The trendiness of mason jars doesn't seem to be fading, and I think that's partially because of their practicality. Not only are they cute and easy to decorate, but they can also be used for a variety of purposes. In this case, of course, I'm talking about stacking a salad.
When my sister first told me about making mason jar salads, I thought the purpose of the mason jar was purely for its appearance (I mean, I'd choose a mason jar over Tupperware any day!). But then she explained that the stacked salad technique serves a purpose—it keeps the greens separate from the dressing. Instead of worrying about packing a separate container of dressing, you can have it all ready to go in a jar—the dressing sits on the bottom and the greens are on top. Additionally, you can prepare all of these in advance, making weekday mornings infinitely easier.
This particular recipe is extra tasty because of the delicious combination of components involved. The homemade greek dressing is smooth and garlick-y. A mix of celery, red onion, bell pepper, and chickpeas adds a fresh and crunchy element. Cooked farro drizzled with olive oil adds a robust and earthy heartiness, and the arugula is the perfect peppery green. A variety of toppings (olives! feta! pumpkin seeds!) makes every bite exciting.
Because there's a fair amount going on here, I'd suggest preparing the components on Sunday. That way, you can either assemble the jars that night and be ready to go for the week, or you can refrigerate everything separately and make one each morning if you're using the same jar. Don't be intimidated by the ingredient list—once everything is prepared, you're done for the week!
The dressing and the chickpea mixture are first to go in, followed by the farro.
The arugula sits atop of the farro, ensuring it's no where near the dressing and has no chance of getting soggy.
Then comes the black olives, chunks of feta, toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and some dried cherries, if you please.
And voila! Not only is this the cutest lunch I've ever made, but it just might be the tastiest as well. When you're ready to eat, just shake the jar and stir everything around with a fork. Depending on how wide the mouth of your jar is, you might consider transferring it to another bowl to ensure everything gets nicely mixed around.
Greek-Style Mason Jar Salad
Makes enough for about 3 salads—can be easily doubled! Use either a 24-oz. or 32-oz. jar.
Farro (or substitute grain of your choice)
- 1 cup farro
- 3/4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- sprinkling of sea salt
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tbsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- few grinds freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. agave nectar or honey
- 1 can chickpeas, drained
- 3 small stalks celery, thinly sliced crosswise and roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup chopped red onion
- 1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
Greens and garnishes
- Arugula (a couple handfuls per salad)
- 2 tbsp. pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or a combination of the two
- dried cherries or cranberries, sliced kalamata olives, Feta cheese (optional)
Cook the farro according to package instructions. Mix in the olive oil, garlic and salt. Set aside to cool.
For the dressing: Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients until emulsified.
For the chickpea salad: In a medium-sized mixing bowl toss together the chickpeas, celery, red onion, red pepper, and parsley. Stir in enough of the Greek dressing to lightly coat the salad. Toss, then set aside.
For the toasted seeds: In a dry skillet set over medium-low heat, toast the pumpkin seeds and/or sunflower seeds for a few minutes until golden brown and fragrant, stirring frequently. Let cool.
To assemble your salad: Layer the chickpea salad at the bottom of the jar, along with an additional tablespoon or two of dressing (enough to lightly coat the salad when you turn the jar upside down). Top with cooled farro, then arugula, then whatever combo of toppings you choose (I used them all—seeds, olive, feta, and dried cherries).