I love salads in a jar. They take all the prep out of lunch, and they are so yummy and healthy. I’ve had a few people recently ask me about how to make them and what to put in them, so I thought I would break down our latest at-home salad in a jar “party.”
When I first heard of salads in a jar, I thought I wouldn’t like them. I have never been much for trying new foods, and I never used to put many toppings on my salads. I also didn’t think I liked many different dressings, and thought I would get bored quickly if I made several. I finally agreed to try out a salad in a jar party – where everyone brought their own jars and greens, plus 2 toppings to share. That way you get a large variety of toppings to choose from, without having to buy it all. I left with 7 salads.
They.were.awesome. The first one tasted so good, I couldn’t shovel it in my mouth fast enough! I sometimes ate more than one a day, and they were gone fast. My husband snuck a few bites too, and loved them. I went to another party to fill up, and then decided we should try making them at home ourselves.
Our only concern was cost. Would it be more expensive to buy everything ourselves, and would items go bad before we could use it all up? Well, we have now had 3 of our own “salad parties,” and I’m happy to say it has worked out so well! We like being able to stay at home, completely customize our salads, and even our kids have tried out some new toppings. Not only will I share with you how to make the salads, but I will also share the cost of making them. They come out to be about $1.00 each, and we have a great variety!
As for how to make the salads, it’s super easy. If you don’t already have mason jars, you’ll need to get some. The wide mouth jars are easier to pack. I’ve also seen people use recycled mayonnaise jars. You can get creative here. To start building your salad, put the dressing in first. Just put in as much as you use on a normal salad – maybe 2-3 tablespoons. Then add in toppings that you don’t mind getting wet. Maybe sweet peppers, onion, carrots. I like to put my broccoli and tomatoes in here because it mixes those flavors with the dressing, but some people may not like it if those get soaked. Once you’re done with fruit and veggies, add in any nuts and cheese. Lettuce comes last, so it doesn’t get wet. Done! Easy peasy.
I don’t follow any recipes. I just throw in whatever sounds good. You can do a southwest salad with spicy ranch, beans, corn, peppers, onion, and cheddar. You can do a greek salad with tomato, olives, onion, and feta. You can have a fruity salad with vinaigrette, or something more traditional with ranch, carrots, and broccoli. Get creative and try new things! I thought I didn’t like onion very much, but I put red onion in every single one of my salads now.
We bought almost every item at Aldi. I love love love Aldi. It saves me tons of money and time and sanity. I no longer have to coupon, and my groceries are cheaper than ever. The quality is great, and I don’t have to go anywhere else to buy food. We do, however, make an occasional trip to other stores if they have incredible deals – like when Schnucks had a deal on Kraft salad dressing for 98 cents each. They have it going again this week (June 29-July 5). All other items were from Aldi. Here is my detailed price list. I have put “x” (times) and “/” (divide) after each price to say how much we used during this “party.” From experience, I know the leftover items will be used before going bad – whether that be in more salads later on, or just to eat throughout the week.
We made 17 salads out of this. We have lots of toppings left, but this used up all of our lettuce. (Those marked by * are estimated prices, but I guessed high just to be safe.)
Artisan lettuce $1.99 x2 = $3.98
Iceberg lettuce head $0.69 x1 = $0.69
Blueberries $1.29 /2 = $0.65
Mandarin oranges* $1.49 x1 = $1.49
Strawberries $1.49 x1 = $1.49
Feta $1.79 x1 = $1.79
Red onion $1.89 /4 = $0.47
Black beans $0.59 x1 = $0.59
Baby carrots $0.99 /2 = $0.50
Sweet peppers $1.89 /2 = $0.94
Broccoli $1.69 /2 = $0.85
Corn $0.48 x1 = $0.48
Peas* $0.99 /10 = $0.10
Slivered almonds $2.99 /10 = $0.30
Sunflower seeds $1.99 /10 = $0.20
Tomato $0.99 /3 = $0.33
Cheddar* $1.69 /4 = $0.42
Dressings (6) – Kraft $0.98 (4), Aldi $1.29 (2) – estimating using half = $3.25
TOTAL cost of items used = $18.52
Divided by 17 salads = $1.08 per salad!
I was even surprised by how cheap it was. You may spend a little more or less, depending on what toppings you choose. These salads are so good, and can save you so much money. You can bring them with you on the go! Take them to work, bring them in your cooler to the ball field, or eat on a picnic. Eliminate some of your out-to-eat costs with these salads, which are probably healthier (and tastier) than your regular option!