Noodle and salad jars are an interesting trend that provides a new way to prep and transport your favourite flavours. I must say I was reluctant to jump on the jar bandwagon, but I have found they are quite useful. Jars are easy to transport, leak proof and easy to wash. By constructing your layered foods in a certain way you can increase the shelf life of the product. Often making a salad gives it roughly 3 days until the leaves become disgustingly soggy and the cucumbers dry out. I have found the technique below the best way to prep salads and noodle dishes that use fresh produce in advance. Make 4-5 of these and you have lunches for the week. I have three variations I have used, but they are easily interchangeable depending on what flavours and produce you have in the fridge or you enjoy using most.
To start your noodle/salad jar you need to make sure they are clean, then place your sauce at the bottom. You can pretty much use whatever you feel like, you just want to ensure if you are making a salad jar you use a ‘free flowing’ sauce such as a dressing or salsa, rather than a paste. Below are what I have used:
- Miso paste + sweet soy
- Tsp Thai red curry paste + 1/4 light coconut milk
The next step is to add your carbohydrate source, for my noodle jars it’s obviously noodles. I used wholemeal hokkien noodles, but brown rice vermicelli are also a good option. My ‘mexican’ style salad jar has the beans both refried and black beans, you can also use rice/quinoa at this step.
Following your carbohydrates you want to add your protein source. I don’t have any in my noodle jars, and as I used beans as my carbohydrate source for my salad jars I’ve technically got my protein source there too. Other options for protein sources include; boiled egg, cheese, shredded chicken/pork, chickpeas/beans, fried tofu, sliced cooked minute steak.
After your protein source you can start adding your veggies, this step should include first placing your “wet vegetables” in particular tomato and cucumber. Once they are placed add your heavier vegetables such as chopped carrot, veggie noodles, capsicum, snow peas etc.
The next step is to top up your jars with light, leafy veg. I like kale, spinach, red cabbage, but sliced bok choy, Chinese broccoli/celery work well too. Finally top those light veggies with your favourite herb combinations. Following the Mexican and Asian themes I chose to use coriander. Other herbs that work great in salads are dill, mint and basil.
At this point your salad jars and noodle jars are good to go! Store in the fridge, sealed until you are ready to eat them. When you want to serve your salad jar, pour into bowl and stir. Alternatively with the Mexican one you can grab a small potato/sweet potato, prick it with a fork and microwave on high for 6-8 minutes until cooked, slice open and pour your contents over the top and you have an easy filling lunch option!
The noodle jars are slightly different. When ready to eat pour boiling water into the jar covering the veg for smaller jars and half way for larger jars. Close the lid and let sit for 2-3 minutes. When you’re ready to eat, stir it through and wallah! When using a paste with coconut milk ensure you mix thoroughly to disperse into the liquid.
Let me know what your favourite salad jar combinations are in the comments below 🙂