How to Make the Perfect Salad You Can Take Anywhere

Mason jar salads are a fun, easy, and practical way for assembling and transporting salads. Our how-to video shows how simple it is to put together, and our graphical guide provides many salad combo ideas.

  • By Jess Dang
  • May 23, 2016

We couldn’t do a #Meatless Smarts series without talking about salads.

We’re huge fans of salads here for quite a few reasons:

  1. You can so easily pack in loads of healthy goodness into just one dish
  2. They can be made from any random assortment of veggies and proteins
  3. They’re quick and usually require no cooking – just a bit of prep!

And because of all these excellent reasons, we’re showing you how you can assemble any salad in a mason jar, so you can take all this goodness on-the-go while looking oh-so-chic.

Mason jar salads are exactly what they sound like – a salad contained in a mason jar!

Watch how it’s done with our video below and then get more smarts on all the components of making a mason jar salad.


Springtime Mason Jar Salad

Discover how fun and easy it is to assemble a mason jar salad with the best of spring's ingredients!

Why Mason Jars?

Mason jars (aka canning jars) are way better than standard Tupperware for transporting salads, because it’s taller than it is wide so ingredients can be layered vertically, with the dressing sitting perfectly at the bottom of the jar.

In other words, you don’t have to worry about a) soggy salad by lunchtime or b) having to pack two containers – one for the ingredients and one for the dressing.

You can also use other containers with a similar shape, like taller round takeout containers. We really like the Ikea Korken jars because you can’t lose the lid!

Regardless of container type, choose something that’s about 32 oz (or about a liter) for an entree-sized salad and has a wider mouth, which will make it easier to get ingredients in and out.

The Salad Ingredients

This is where you can get creative and customize your mason jar salad to your liking. Our Mason Jar Salad infographic below breaks down each possible layer of ingredients – you can choose to add more of one ingredient or omit it completely. The most important thing is how you assemble it, which we’ll cover in just a bit.

Making mason jar salads is also the perfect time to go through your fridge and pantry to see what needs to be used up, making this meal a great way to #reducefoodwaste. That random bell pepper or those few tablespoons of sunflower seeds that you don’t have enough of for a meal can be tossed into a mason jar salad. Leftover roasted vegetables and cooked grains and pastas can also be added into the jar – a great way to repurpose leftovers!

If you need some salad inspiration and want to try some specific combos, check out this salad guide, which has 50 different salad combos covering every season:


50 Simple Salads for Every Season

Create homemade dressings and experience a variety of salads all year long.

Since it’s spring right now, we picked one of the spring salads in our infographic to build a delicious, seasonal salad for the video above. Red bell peppers, cucumbers, garbanzo beans, pistachios, romaine lettuce, and feta cheese come together for a refreshing yet hearty meal redolent of spring!

We whipped up a quick and tasty sherry vinaigrette for the video, but if you want to create your own, learn the basic cooking formula of making a vinaigrette with our Cooking Formula for a Simple Vinaigrette download and video.

The Salad Assembly

When assembling salads, start with dressing at the bottom, so most ingredients remain fresh and untouched by the dressing. After the dressing base, simply layer ingredients by order of sog-resistance, meaning heartier ingredients that can withstand dressing go in first.

The best way to understand how to order your ingredients for ultimate freshness is with our graphical guide here:


How to Make a Mason Jar Salad

Take a simple, healthy meal anywhere you go with our how-to on mason jar salads.

Multiple salads can be assembled at the same time, meaning a healthy meal is just a few shakes away.

When transporting, just try to keep it upright so the dressing stays put. When you’re ready to eat, give it a shake to distribute the dressing. If you packed the salad real tightly, transfer everything into a bowl with a fork. It’s really that easy!

You can download and print out our handy mason jar salad infographic (for free!) to reference anytime you need a healthy, quick meal to take on-the-go. You can also purchase a professional print here. 50% of our merch profits get set aside to support food education.

Our final #meatless series resource is coming up next week, so don’t miss out! We promise it’ll be a fun way for the whole family to enjoy meatless meals. And if you haven’t already, check out the other smarts in this series – 3 Reasons to Eat More Meatless Meals and Our Guide to Vegetarian Protein Sources.

As always, we’re here to help you live simpler, smarter, and happier in the kitchen. Join our cooking community by signing up for our newsletter, and we’ll send you great cooking tips and resources that will help you gain confidence and live your best life in the kitchen.

Get our Meal Plans

The convenience of meal kits without the waste


Try our award winning meal plan service for free

Share the love!

Join our community

Enjoy free tips in your inbox

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
How can we help you in the kitchen?

Join our community

Enjoy free tips in your inbox

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Sign up for the Cook Smarts Newsletter

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Privacy Policy: We hate SPAM & promise to keep your email address safe.

Skip to content