Learn how to make healthy meal prep salads in less time, using the right storage containers, fresh produce, and protein. Healthy meals are easy when you plan ahead!
If making salads isn’t your favorite thing to do…and you think the process takes too much time, I’m here to help. The secret to enjoying healthy salads at home is to prepare several at a time. That way you are doing everything just once, instead of 3 or 4 times! It’s a huge time-saver, and so rewarding when you place those beautiful salads in your refrigerator.
Meal prep salads are brilliant, and there are countless ways to personalize them with ingredients you love. What follows is a basic salad with vegetables and protein. Included are variations, but it’s definitely a recipe that can be adapted to your own tastes.
Prep day: gather the ingredients for mason jar salads.
- 4 wide mouth quart size mason jars or meal prep containers
- salad dressing of your choice
- chopped English cucumber
- chopped carrots
- red onions
- cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes
- pulled rotisserie chicken or chopped chicken breasts
- feta cheese, cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, blue cheese, or goat cheese
- hard-boiled eggs
- bacon bits
- romaine lettuce or leafy greens of your choice
- mini croutons
Additional ideas for fresh vegetables and additions.
- green onions
- black beans
- cooked + chopped sweet potatoes
- brussels sprouts
- green or red bell peppers
- creamy avocado slices
The easiest way to assemble your salads is to line up the containers, and fill them in layers. The order of assembly is important. A good rule of thumb when filling the jars is to leave the top third available for the lettuce, and fill them all the way to the top.
- The dressing should go in first, so it’s on the bottom. (This will guarantee that your lettuce doesn’t get soggy.)
- Next are the hard vegetables: carrots, cucumber, onion, tomatoes, celery, etc.
- Now it’s time to layer the soft items. Chicken, cheese, hard boiled egg, fruit, avocado, etc.
- Last is the lettuce. It should always be the last item to go in the jars.
Cap the mason jars tightly and place them immediately in the refrigerator. Depending on the freshness of your ingredients, they will last for up to a week. (The fresher your ingredients, the longer they can sit in the refrigerator.)
When you are ready to dig into one of your delicious salads, remove it from the refrigerator, and turn the container upside down. Let the dressing flow through the salad layers for a few minutes. Dump the salad into a bowl. Make sure to scrape all of the dressing out of the jar with a spatula. Season, toss, and enjoy!
Weight Watchers Points
My daughter helped me calculate the Weight Watchers points for one jar of this salad. If you use fat free Feta cheese, and leave out the bacon bits, each jar is just 3 points. It’s a filling and healthy meal, and it won’t “eat up” a bunch of your daily points!
Salad Prep Tips
- A great way to avoid a soggy salad is to thoroughly drain your salad greens on a clean cotton kitchen towel, paper towel, or use a salad spinner. Make sure the greens are dry before adding to your containers.
- For best results use very fresh ingredients.
- Bottled salad dressing is perfectly fine. I use it all the time. If you prefer homemade dressing, a super easy idea is to combine 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil with 1/4 cup of one of the following: apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, or lime juice.
- Successful meal prepping depends on an accurate grocery store list, so make sure to write everything down!
- The ingredients and amounts listed in the recipe card below are simply suggestions. Meal prep salads should be made according to your family’s tastes.
- A quart sized mason jar salad is definitely a meal. The jar can also be divided into 2 or 3 side salad servings.
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More Salad Recipes
- Honeycrisp Apple Salad Recipe
- Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
- Honeycrisp Apple + Romaine Salad
- Fresh Citrus Salad with Orange Vinaigrette
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How To Make Meal Prep Salads
- 8 tablespoons Bolthouse Farms Ranch Salad Dressing (2 tablespoons per jar. Or use salad dressing of your choice.)
- 1 1/2 cups cucumber (chopped)
- 1 1/2 cups carrots (chopped or shredded)
- 1/2 large red onion (chopped)
- 24 grape tomatoes
- 12 oz. chicken (cut into small chunks)
- 4 oz. feta cheese (crumbled)
- 4 eggs (hard boiled + chopped)
- 3/4 cup bacon bits
- 1 tablespoon mini croutons
- 2 romaine hearts (cleaned and chopped)
- 4 quart sized wide mouth mason jars
- Prepare all ingredients.
- Begin layering the ingredients in 4 mason jars.
- At the bottom of the jars, add the salad dressing.
- In layers, add cucumber, carrots, onion, tomatoes, chicken, feta cheese, egg, and bacon bits.
- Add the chopped romaine last.
- Cover tightly and refrigerate.
- To serve, dump the entire jar into a bowl.
- Using a spatula, scrape out all of the dressing.
- Season to taste, add the mini croutons, toss, and enjoy!
This meal prep recipe is sure to become one of your favorite salads, so definitely share it with the whole family.