Let’s start off with a .gif today!
It’s the final post in my series of easy desk lunches (see this post and this post for the previous recipes) and it’s the simplest recipe of all. If you haven’t met salad in a jar before heres the TL;DR idea: dressing on the bottom of a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Layer up ingredients in a clever fashion so the leaves don’t wilt. Take the salad to work/school – stir & eat it out of the jar or tip onto a plate, toss & eat. It’s a great way to transport salads around and also they look bare nice.
The key point here is that you’re layering the ingredients in a way that keeps each component at its peak level of deliciousness until you eat it. Mainly, the leaves are kept FAR AWAY from the dressing. You’ve probably experienced the wilted leaves of a salad that’s been sitting in the fridge for a while. Or maybe even the disaster of salad dressing dripping out of your lunchbox –> into your bag –> all over everything. A frustration I feel Ross Geller would relate to really well.
I definitely always want some kind of starch heavy component to my salad so I’ve used buckwheat groats here – I like their soft texture and the fact they cook up so quickly. I’m also more of a zingy salad person instead of creamy (no Ceaser salad pls ew) and love adding acidic components. So a punchy orange & balsamic dressing with crisp apple matchsticks (I’m reaaaaally into apple matchsticks atm) and some jammy, roasted tomatoes keep me happy. For interest, a handful of sprouts/microgreens/mixed seeds/crumbled feta are the final touch. That was easy!
Instead of buckwheat: quinoa, pasta, roasted sweet potato, peas, sweet corn, chickpeas, lentils
Instead of balsamic vinaigrette: apple cider vinegar & honey, pomegranate molasses & lime juice, toasted cumin & lemon juice
Instead of apples/tomatoes: halved grapes, segmented orange, roasted squash, marinated courgette ribbons, grated carrot, chargrilled bell peppers, spiralised beetroot
Instead of sprouts: chopped fresh herbs, crumbled feta, shaved parmesan, salted & toasted cashews, toasted sesame seeds, sliced spring onion, sliced olives
AND for extra inspiration check out my Thai-style salad in a jar!
- 5-7 cherry tomatoes, halved
- drizzle of olive oil
- 250ml water
- ½ a vegetable stock cube
- 50g raw buckwheat groats, rinsed well
- ¼ apple
- 1 small orange
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- large pinch of salt
- handful of baby spinach
- handful of mixed sprouts
- Preheat the oven to 200 C (400 F) and put the tomatoes cut side-up on a baking tray. Drizzle them with some olive oil and roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes until slightly shrivelled.
- Meanwhile bring the water to the boil in a small pot. Add the rinsed buckwheat and stock cube, stir together and then turn down the heat to simmer. Place a lid on and leave to cook for 20 minutes then drain and place back into the pot. Cover with the lid again and leave for 10 minutes to absorb any excess moisture.
- Take the apple and slice it thinly. Cut out the core and then cut the slices into matchsticks. Cut the orange in half and squeeze the juice of one half over the apple matchsticks, tossing to coat.
- Squeeze the juice from the other orange half into a small jar. Add the balsamic, mustard, olive oil and salt to the jar. Fit the lid and shake the jar to emulsify the dressing.
- Take a large jar with a tight-fitting lid and pour the dressing into the bottom. Layer the cooked buckwheat on top, followed by the roasted tomatoes, apple, the spinach and finally the sprouts. Seal with the lid.
- To eat: pour the salad out into a bowl and toss to coat with the dressing.