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Pinchin' Pennie$ in the Kitchen: 7 Steps to Making a Salad in a Jar (FN1886)

Making an easy, on-the-go meal never has been simpler. Tap into your creative side and make your own salad in a jar recipe. Invite kids to help prepare them. Add the salad dressing of your choice and layers of tasty ingredients, and shake together when ready to eat.

Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., Food and Nutrition Specialist

Ashley Gehl, Dietetic Intern, NDSU Extension


Salad in jars

Safety Tips: Thoroughly rinse vegetables and/or fruit before cutting and adding to your salad. Water speeds spoilage/wilting of salads, so spin lettuce and vegetables in a salad spinner and/or pat dry with paper toweling. Store salad in refrigerator at 40 F. For best quality, use the salad in a jar within three to four days* of preparation.

* If using cooked meat, use salad within three days of preparation.

Equipment: 1-quart jar for a single serving; 2-quart (or larger) jar for multiple servings

The calorie content per half cup of each ingredient, or per amount indicated in description, is shown in parentheses.

1. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons (or to taste) of your dressing of choice to the jar. See the calorie information on the label.

• Salad dressings add flavor to your salad and help with nutrient absorption, so don’t be afraid to expand your horizons and try something new.

Tip: Pre-made salad dressings tend to contain excess sodium. Try making your own salad dressing to avoid excess sodium while adding a personalized flavor. See the NDSU Extension publication “7 Tips for Choosing and Using Healthful Oils and Fats”.

2. Choose one or a variety of vegetables. Add ½ cup of vegetables for texture, flavor and nutrition. Here are some suggestions:

• Diced, canned, drained and rinsed beets (25)
• Sliced fresh red or green bell peppers (10)
• Chopped fresh broccoli (15)
• Chopped fresh carrots (26)
• Fresh cauliflower florets (13)
• Diced fresh celery (8)
• Canned corn, drained and rinsed (55)
• Edamame, prepared from frozen (94)
• Fresh cut green beans (13)
• Sliced fresh mushrooms (8)
• Cubed steamed/baked russet potatoes (60)
• Sliced fresh radish (9)
• Cubed steamed/baked sweet potatoes (57)
• Diced fresh/canned tomatoes (30)
• Chopped steamed/baked zucchini (11)

Tip: Enhance the flavor by roasting vegetables in a 400 F oven with olive oil and desired seasonings before adding them to your salad.

3. Choose one or more fruit(s) if desired. Add ½ cup of fruit to add fiber, additional nutrients and a touch of sweetness. Examples of fruit(s) are:

  • Chopped fresh apple (33)
  •  Fresh blueberries (42)
  • Canned, sectioned grapefruit (44)
  •  Fresh grapes (33)
  • Fresh mango pieces (50)
  •  Fresh orange slices (42)
  •  Fresh raspberries (32)
  • Sliced fresh strawberries (27)
  • Fresh or canned pineapple chunks (41)

4. Choose one grain if desired. Add ½ cup of cooked and cooled grain of choice to balance the flavor.

• Cooked pearled barley (97)
• Cooked brown rice (120)
• Cooked couscous (88)
• Cooked penne whole-wheat pasta (72)
• Cooked quinoa (111)
• Cooked white rice (103)

Tip: Add quinoa to your salad creation to increase fiber and protein content for an extra-satisfying salad.

5. Choose one or more proteins. Add ½ cup of protein to your salad.

• Beans and legumes (canned or cooked; drained and rinsed)


– Black (110)
– Kidney (96)
– Pinto (99)

• Chopped baked/grilled chicken (115)
• Canned, drained and rinsed chickpeas (100)
• Fish

– Baked/grilled cod (45)
– Baked/grilled salmon (77)
– Baked/grilled tilapia (55)
– Canned, drained tuna (66)

• Chopped hard-cooked whole egg (105)
• Boiled lentils (115)
• Medium cooked shrimp (39)
• Cooked ground turkey (85)
• Low-sodium turkey breast lunchmeat (44)
• Cooked ground beef (89)
• Diced baked ham (142)

Tip: Use lean meats and trim away extra fat for optimal nutrition. Be sure to cook meat to a safe internal cooking temperature.

6. Choose one leafy green vegetable. Add 1 cup of leafy green vegetables to serve as the base of your salad. Examples include:

• Chopped fresh arugula (5)
• Chopped fresh cabbage (22)
• Chopped fresh kale (33)
• Shredded fresh romaine lettuce (8)
• Chopped fresh spinach (7)
• Fresh spring mix (8)

7. Choose one or more toppings. Toppings enhance flavor, interest and nutrition in your salad creation. Add about 1 tablespoon of each desired topping. Calorie content shown is per tablespoon.

• Crumbled blue cheese (30)
• Plain croutons (8)
• Dried cranberries (25)
• Crumbled feta cheese (25)
• Nuts

– Sliced almonds (33
– Chopped pecans (47)
– Chopped walnuts (48)

• Canned, sliced, drained and rinsed olives (13 )
• Roasted unsalted pumpkin seeds (18)
• Raisins (33)
• Shredded cheddar cheese (29)
• Roasted unsalted sunflower seeds (47)

For more information about nutrition, food safety and health, visit this website.

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May 2018

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