Perfect for a summer picnic or a lunch on the go, this make-ahead salad in a jar is fun, colorful, healthy, and bursting with sweet and savory flavors!
With summer going on, I like to have a lunch break outside, enjoying the nice and warm weather. It must be something I kept from Sweden: take as much sun as possible before the boring grey days of fall/winter hit you. Also, it’s a great way to make a proper break, and enables you to come back to work in the afternoon with a fresh mind. I don’t know about you but I always come back with new, creative ideas when I take a break, whether I am all alone or not.
So, leave behind you the classic lunch boxes to warm up in the microwave and make yourself a salad instead? You find salad too healthy or boring? Make them fun, colorful, and in a Mason Jar! It’s like making yourself a little surprise, prepare your me-time for a lunch date with yourself. Or with someone else of course! One idea I find very fun is the following. Let’s say you have lunch with 4 of your colleagues: prepare 4 Mason Jars for all of you the first day (this apricot & feta quinoa mason jar salad), and the following days it will be their turn to provide you with their Mason Jar salad recipes. It’s a great way to discover new ideas too, as everyone has its own culinary inspiration and tastes.
You have endless of possibilities when it comes to Mason Jar Salads. Just search for it on Pinterest and you’ll soon be overwhelmed with so many recipes. So why do I come up with a different one today? Just because this one is my own inspiration, my own kind of fun, and I figured you might like it, as I am crazy about it already, served in a jar, or just as a regular salad to share with your family.
There are actually 2 Mason Jar Salads that are favorite of mine: the first one is this apricot & feta quinoa salad, and the second one is the Greek zoodles with sun-dried tomato pesto and spiced roasted chickpeas (vegan, gluten-free). The recipe you have on the blog for the last one is not made in a jar, but you would simply need to stack the different ingredients (zoodles, pesto, olives, chickpeas) on top of each other in a jar, and it will make a beautiful Mason Jar Salad.
As for the apricot & feta quinoa salad version I created for you today, it’s a sweet and savory salad, fully vegetarian and naturally gluten-free. Packed with protein thanks to the quinoa, this salad is also loaded with vitamin, fibers, and calcium. The use of dried apricots make it very summery too, while the feta cheese gives some freshness to the whole salad. I also like the little crunchy taste brought by the slivered almonds (you could go for whole almonds too if you wish).
The lemon-curry dressing is the little something that takes the salad to the next level. While you already play with sweet and savory flavors in the salad, this slightly spicy curry dressing brings a soft touch that combine them all together beautifully, with a touch of acidity brought by the lemon juice. Your summer lunch breaks have never been so fun!
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 10 dried apricots, cut into small pieces
- ½ red onion, minced
- 2 tbsp slivered almonds
- 4 tbsp feta cheese, crumbled
- 1½ cup fresh baby spinach
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp apple vinegar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp mustard
- ¼ tsp curry powder
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- For the salad: in a large mixing bowl, combine already cooked quinoa, apricots, and minced onions.
- For the dressing: whisk together all the ingredients in a small bowl, and season with salt and pepper.
- Mix the quinoa salad with the lemon-curry dressing.
- Assemble the mason jars: pour some quinoa salad up to ⅓ of each jar, top with slivered almonds, crumbled feta, and fill up with the fresh baby spinach leaves. Put on the lid, and refrigerate until serving.