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Big news – I’ve been working on new, improved keto & low carb meal plans for you! I’m so excited to share them with you once they are ready. And as a sneak preview, here’s one of my favorite healthy low carb meal prep lunches – a Greek Mason jar salad recipe with chicken!
What is a Mason Jar Salad?
You may have seen Mason jar salads on Pinterest or elsewhere. And if it seems like a gimmick-y idea for people with nothing better to do, think again. Healthy Mason jar salads are so convenient for low carb meal prep!
Basically, a Mason jar salad is any salad that you can make in a large glass jar, usually in advance. They are perfect for healthy meal prep, with the right ingredients.
Greek mason jar salad with chicken is one of my favorite Mason jar salad recipes. It’s quick, easy, low carb, keto friendly, stores well, and makes a delicious meal all by itself.
Seriously, this salad is just so versatile. It’s ideal if you’re looking for low carb high protein meal prep, thanks to the chicken. And, you can always decide to add more of it.
At the same time, it’s also wonderful for low carb and keto diets too. I regularly make Greek mason jar salad with chicken as my go-to easy low carb meal prep recipe.
What Size Mason Jar for Salad?
What size Mason jar for salad partly depends on how big you want your salad to be!
You have a few decisions to make when choosing a jar for your Mason jar salad:
- Wide mouth or regular? This is not too important for a salad, but a wide mouth jar makes it a little easier to get the ingredients layered in there nicely, and later it’s easier to get them out. Either will work. If you also want to re-purpose your jars to make homemade avocado mayo, definitely go with the wide mouth!
- What volume? You can choose either 16 oz or 32 oz. I highly recommend wide-mouth 32 oz jars like these, because greens take up a lot of space. And, a larger size gives you more flexibility. On the other hand, if you are thinking about making smaller side salads in Mason jars, get the 16 oz size like these (or these 16 oz wide mouth ones).
- Lids. Most Mason jars come with standard tin plated steel canning lids, which is fine for salad. If you’ll be using your jars for other things, opt with the regular mouth jars, which have more lid options. With those, you can get special lids, like colorful straw lids or even spice lids.
For this Greek Mason jar salad recipe, I used these jars.
Before I start putting anything in the jar, though, I like to gather and chop all the ingredients first. This allows me to assemble multiple Mason jar salads at once and save time! Below is how much of each ingredient I used for each Greek Mason jar salad.
How To Make a Mason Jar Salad Recipe
The process for how to make Mason jar salads is super simple. The key is to layer the ingredients in the correct order. Everything else is just chopping.
Once you know the layering part, how to make a Mason jar salad is very straightforward. Not all of these layers are included in my Greek Mason jar salad recipe, but I want to share the order with you anyway:
- Salad Dressing. Whisk the ingredients together first, then pour into the bottom of the jar. I tried just shaking them up in the jar, but don’t recommend this. You end up with dressing all over the sides and it does end up coating other ingredients a little, which we don’t want for storage. Keeping the dressing at the bottom prevents the other ingredients from getting soggy.
- Hard or Acidic Vegetables. The bottom layer of these veggies will be sitting in the dressing, so make sure it’s something that can handle it. Some people don’t include tomatoes in this category and prefer to add them the day of eating, but I find that tomatoes fare fine in an acidic dressing like balsamic vinaigrette, especially if the tomatoes are firm to begin with. Even though they are soft, their acidity allows you to layer them toward the bottom, and that keeps other veggies crisp. If you don’t want to put tomatoes on the bottom, go with crisp veggies in this bottom layer, such as cucumbers, raw zucchini, onions, carrots (in moderation for low carb), bell peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, and celery. Otherwise, veggies that people marinate can also do well here (whether they are marinated or not), like red cabbage, olives or artichokes.
- Meat, Fish or Poultry. Proteins go in the middle. We don’t want them swimming in dressing, but there is no concern with crushing them. Add any kind of cooked protein that you like. For this particular Mason jar salad, I usually use simple baked chicken breast.
- Eggs and Cheese. Hard boiled eggs and cheeses can be fragile, so we place them after the heavy meat or poultry. If you have both egg and cheese, it doesn’t matter which is first. My Greek Mason jar salad recipe has feta cheese, but no eggs.
- Soft Vegetables & Berries. These are veggies that generally won’t fare as well sitting in dressing, and they also might not handle being compressed with heavy ingredients on top of them. Avocados, fresh berries, and mushrooms.
- Greens. Greens like lettuce, spinach, or kale should be last or almost last. You don’t want them anywhere near the dressing until you’re ready to serve the salad. Leaving them toward the top keeps them crisp and fresh!
- Nuts and Seeds. Some people add nuts and seeds before the greens, but I prefer to add them after. Why? Because the layer before the greens can get damp from condensation during storage, making the nuts/seeds soften. Placing them on top of the greens keeps them extra crunchy! My Greek Mason jar salad doesn’t have any nuts or seeds, but you can easily add some on top if you want to.
How To Make a Mason Jar Salad for Healthy Low Carb Meal Prep:
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Why does this order matter so much? Because the right order of Mason jar salad layers makes sure that your ingredients stay fresh! That’s a must for a great salad in a Mason jar, because chances are you are going to make it ahead.
Greek Mason Jar Salad as Easy Low Carb Meal Prep
This Greek Mason jar salad with chicken makes for unbelievably easy low carb meal prep! Make as many as you like at once for the week ahead.
How To Make a Mason Jar Salad Ahead
Simple follow the instructions on the recipe card below to make ahead this Greek salad in a Mason jar. The instructions are for one serving, but you can change the number on the recipe card for the number of servings you want. Then, just divide the ingredients evenly among multiple jars.
Viola – you just made several low carb meals in one go!
How To Store Mason Jar Salads
The most beautiful thing about Mason jar salad recipes is that there is nothing additional needed to store them. Simply close the lid and pop them in the fridge! They will keep for about 3-5 days, depending on what ingredients you add.
I’ve kept this Greek Mason jar salad for five days with no problem.
If you are making a salad in a Mason jar with ingredients that degrade easily, like avocado, you can add those on the day of eating.
How To Serve Salad in a Mason Jar (vs. a Bowl)
There are two ways to eat Mason jar salad: in a bowl or right out of the jar. As nice as it sounds not to clean extra dishes, most of the time I recommend the bowl.
Either way, start by turning the jar upside down and shaking vigorously. This will help mix the ingredients and disperse the dressing. Then, open the lid and pour into a bowl, which will finish mixing everything.
You can try shaking only and eating right out of the jar, but it won’t work very well if your jar is packed tightly. If you want to go this route, use a large Mason jar and don’t pack it too full, so that there is room for the ingredients to move around. I do like this method to save on dishes to wash!
Healthy Low Carb Meal Prep: Greek Mason Jar Salad Recipe:
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Healthy Low Carb Meal Prep: Greek Mason Jar Salad Recipe with Chicken
This Greek Mason jar salad recipe with chicken makes for super easy low carb meal prep! Just a few common ingredients & 10 minutes prep time.
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- 3 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil (or 2 tbsp for less dressing)
- 1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar (or 2 tsp for less dressing)
- 1/2 tsp Sea salt
- 1/4 tsp Black pepper
- 2/3 cup Grape tomatoes (halved)
- 2/3 cup Cucumbers (chopped)
- 2 tbsp Red onions (diced or sliced)
- 3 oz Chicken breast (grilled or baked in the oven, cubed)
- 1/4 cup Feta cheese (crumbled, optional - skip for dairy-free, paleo or whole30)
- 1 cup Romaine lettuce (chopped, packed to measure)
RECIPE TIPS + VIDEO in the post above, nutrition info + recipe notes below!
Vigorously whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, sea salt, and black pepper, until it forms a balsamic vinaigrette dressing (emulsifies). You can also shake in a small container instead. Pour into the bottom of a large glass jar.
Layer the remaining ingredients in the order listed - tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, chicken, feta cheese (if using), and romaine lettuce. Do not mix together.
Cover the jar with a lid and refrigerate until ready to eat, up to 3-5 days.
When ready to eat, shake the jar vigorously to mix everything together. Pour into a bowl to eat.
Serving size: 1 mason jar salad (entire recipe)
Which Mason jar to use? I recommend these jars. See the post above for more detail on types of jars.
Want to make this for healthy meal prep? Change the number of servings on the recipe card to 4 (or any number you want), then divide ingredients evenly among multiple jars as you go through the steps.
Note about balsamic vinaigrette dressing: If you prefer less dressing, use 2 tbsp olive oil and 2 tsp balsamic vinegar instead.
NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVING
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database. You can find individual ingredient carb counts we use in the Low Carb & Keto Food List. Carb count excludes sugar alcohols. Net carb count excludes both fiber and sugar alcohols, because these do not affect blood sugar in most people. We try to be accurate, but feel free to make your own calculations.
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