Real talk: it’s hard for me to get excited about a salad… until I tasted this one.
Is it revolutionary? No. I don’t try to reinvent the wheel here. The only thing I aim to do is make lunch enjoyable, more enjoyable than something you’d buy at your favorite takeout spot. This salad recipe fits that bill perfectly.
It’s crunchy (hence the name), flavorful and most importantly, filling!
Note that these photos are from the chicken version of this meal.
The core elements of this salad are very basic ingredients:
Of course, you can customize this as much as you want! Here are some ideas.
Swap carrots for raw zoodles or beet noodles!
You can switch out the chickpeas for any other legume, cubed tofu or tempeh cooked in the same method as the recipe is written.
Not into spinach? Use kale, arugula, or another green mix instead.
Swap the apple for pear, sliced grapes or strawberries (or leave fruit out).
Don’t want to use feta? You can skip cheese entirely or use gorgonzola, blue cheese crumbles or goat cheese.
Can’t find/use pepitas? Sunflower seeds, walnuts, sliced almonds and chopped cashews would all work.
You have the opportunity to really make this salad your own, so do it! That being said, the recipe as written is so good that I can’t wait to make it again and I hope you try it.
Let’s talk about the dressing.
Clearly, I’m late to the mason jar salad party. Better late than never, right? Anyway, the reason why these jars are so awesome to me is that you don’t have to pack the dressing separately.
The dressing sits at the bottom of the jar, not touching other ingredients that could get soggy (more on arranging a mason jar salad below).
Here, we’re using a basic mustard, lemon and brown sugar dressing. It’s tangy, sweet an light — a perfect match for this crunchy salad.
Of course, you can use whatever dressing you like and don’t have to make your own! Add about 2 tablespoons to the bottom of your jars and you’re good to go.
How to arrange a mason jar salad:
Note that these salads fit in a 32 oz jar.
Let’s start from the bottom!
- Add the dressing. Putting it at the bottom of the jar keeps it away from the greens so they don’t get soggy.
- Add “hard” vegetables. In this case, carrots would be our hard veggie because they won’t get soggy from the dressing.
- Add the protein, which are chickpeas in this case.
- Add the greens. Now, you can really pack them in there because of your strong foundation of hard veggies an protein.
- Add soft veggies and fruits. This would be where cucumbers and tomatoes go if we were using them. In this case, it’s apples.
- Add the toppings. Here we have feta cheese and pepitas!
The trick is keeping the jar upright until you eat it to avoid dressing going where it shouldn’t go.
Before eating the salad, you can give the jar a good shake to toss everything in the dressing, then dump it onto your plate and enjoy! So easy.
What if you don’t have mason jars?
You absolutely can pack this into a normal meal prep container.
How to do it: Toss everything (for all the portions) in a large bowl without dressing. Then divide that between three meal prep containers. Store the dressing on the side to be used before eating the salad.
How to double or add more volume to this salad:
This salad is plenty filling, but an easy way to add more volume would be 1/4 cup of quinoa per container. This was actually going to be in the original recipe, but it was fine without it! You could also add zoodles, cucumbers or even pasta to make this more filling. Another option is eating it with a side of bread or inside a pita pocket or wrap!
To double this recipe, simply double the ingredients and get yourself some more jars or meal prep containers.
Storage & reheating notes:
This salad lasts in the fridge for up to 4 days. It’s not freezer friendly and it doesn’t need to be reheated!