Make these on Sunday and they will keep all week in the refrigerator. Just grab one as needed. Make a variety so monotony does not set in. Don’t just make them for the children’s lunches. They are great adult food, too.
The guide for making a layered salad is simple. On the bottom, place dressing and liquids. Then add ingredients that hold up well when submerged in dressing like beans, cucumbers, radishes, onion, and hard cheese. They may even pickle a little in the dressing.
Next add heavier items that you may not want directly touching the dressing when stored. That might include some type of protein such as eggs, chickpeas, lentils or meat. On top of that add leafy greens and light ingredients that take up a lot of space like spinach, kale, chard, beet greens, and lettuces.
Then place a small amount of accent items such as nuts, seeds, dried fruit, croutons, and accent spices. And finally, on top place colourful ingredients to perk up the taste buds when you pop open the jar, for example fruit, herbs or nuts. Grains and pasta could also be placed near the top so they don’t get soggy in the dressing. Many schools are nut-free so be sure to follow the guidelines of your school.
Commit some thought to providing an interesting salad. Using variety in shapes, sizes, colours and flavours creates interest. Tear rather than cut salad greens to prevent browning on the edges.
Beet Green Salad with Peaches and Feta
beet greens, washed and dried
cucumber, diced or sliced
lemon juice, real or bottled
sliced raw almonds
canola or olive oil
tarragon white wine vinegar or any light vinegar
salt & pepper
wide mouth 1 pint Mason jar 500 mL
Amounts of ingredients will vary depending upon how many jars you wish to make.
A few issues back, I shared my recipe for tarragon white wine vinegar. If you made it, then it can be used here. Otherwise, simply use something light like cider or white wine vinegar. Rice wine vinegar would be lovely. Use one part vinegar to three parts oil, add a teaspoon or two of Dijon mustard 5-10 mL to help create the emulsion. Whisk vigorously. Add honey and salt & pepper to taste and whisk again.
To each Mason jar, add in the following order:
3 tbsp. vinaigrette dressing 45 mL
1/4 c. sliced or diced cucumber 60 mL
1/4 c. cubed feta cheese 60 mL
greens to fill almost full, well packed but not tightly packed
2 tbsp. sliced raw almonds 60 mL
peach, unpeeled, sliced and drizzled with lemon juice to prevent browning
The great thing about salads is that you can make them to suit your taste. If you like more dressing, add more. And so on with the other ingredients. If you can’t find feta, use another firm cheese like mozzarella. Be creative and try new combinations. I make salads like I make soups and use what is on hand.
At lunchtime, turn the jar upside down and shake so the dressing is distributed throughout. Open and enjoy!