There are few things I like better than having cooked quinoa, brown rice, farro or any per tasty grain in my fridge. It creates an instant base for so many dishes – salads, stir frys, breakfast, you name it.
Just make a double batch of rice or grain the next time you are cooking and then you will be able to use ½ for your meal and stock your refrigerator with the other ½.
I happened to have leftover red quinoa on hand when I was starting my lunch meal prep last week and began thinking about an Asian style salad in a jar when I came up with this yummy salad. It takes minutes to make and is endlessly versatile. Mix and match vegetables and sub in any cooked grain for the quinoa. You can also play with dressing flavors by changing the nut butter or even using tahini.
If you haven’t tried packing your salads in a mason jar, you have got to try it. The dressing goes in the bottom and by strategic layering you end up with a crisp salad and don’t have to worry about an extra container for the dressing. Not to mention the fact it is beautiful to look at. Trust me if you put one of these in the refrigerator at work, everyone will be jealous!!
Chopped Asian Salad in a Jar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
Juice of ½ lime
3 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons cashew butter (or natural creamy peanut butter)
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger ( use the kind in a tube for an easy shortcut)
1 whole peeled and seeded cucumber, cut into small pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 cup cabbage salad mix, chopped
½ cup cooked red quinoa (you can also use regular quinoa, brown rice – whatever you have handy)
Mix all of the dressing ingredients together in a small jar, whisking and shaking until smooth. If the dressing seems too thick, just add a bit of warm water and shake again.
Begin with two wide mouth mason jars. Evenly divide the dressing between the two jars.
It is important for the next layer to be something that won’t absorb the dressing. You also want to think about color, so in this case I started with the edamame, it you could also start with the peppers.
Now divide the ingredients between the two jars, gently layering in the edamame, carrots, yellow pepper, cucumber, cabbage slaw and top with the quinoa. Cap with a reusable plastic lid and you have lunch for 2 days.
If you are craving a bit of protein, top with some chopped chicken or shrimp
To serve, simply pour the salad out into a bowl, mix to incorporate the dressing and enjoy!