We all need to eat lunch every day. I mean, I guess some people don’t feel the need, but I definitely do.
Figuring out what to eat three times a day can be exhausting! Especially if you’re trying to eat healthy and not spend your entire life cooking/chopping vegetables. Solution: batch prep. Make a bunch in advance.
Layer the rainbow in a jar or any other container. When you’re ready to eat, shake and pour into a bowl!
The beauty of mason jar salads is that the dressing stays in the bottom of the jar, so the salad will last up to 5 days without getting mushy or over-marinated. Or, you can store the salad in any container, and keep the dressing on the side.
It doesn’t get healthier than this. Or more delicious. I would know, I just barely finished off a jar as I type this.
It’s a large salad that will definitely fill you up (it’s 4 cups of whole foods!), yet is relatively few calories since it’s mostly vegetables. To boot, it’s DECLICIOUS and GORGEOUS. Anything with mango, crunchy red peppers, cilantro, green onions, and a dressing with peanut butter, ginger, and garlic is going to be worth it.
If you’re trying to lose weight, I can’t recommend this principle by Chef AJ enough. Anyone who wants to sustain weight loss must understand this principle of calorie density. This salad is the epitome of filling up your stomach volume-wise without overeating calories. All the chewing it requires is good for you, too!
Admittedly, this requires a lot of chopping. You can make it a little easier by buying pre-grated carrots and cabbage if you’d like. Then, turn on your favorite podcasts or music and get to work. It’s very gratifying, and every day you eat one of these salads you’ll be thankful you made the effort.
Make this your own! Add bean sprouts, chickpeas, seasoned tofu, or leave out anything you don’t like (just don’t skip the cilantro and green onions, in my opinion!). Use almond butter if you have a peanut allergy, it’s also delicious. Or, just any vinegrette if you’re not a nutty person. (I’m clearly a little nutty!)
This is also the perfect salad to take to a potluck or gathering. It goes well with almost any other dish. It’s visually appealing and super delicious and healthy without being “weird.” My go-to potluck item is a quinoa salad, for that reason, actually. I always bring home an empty bowl.
If you’re doing the Daily Dozen challenge, this one salad will give you 1 beans (peas or edamame), 1 fruit, 1 cruciferous vegetable, 2 other vegetables, 1 nuts and seeds, 1 whole grain, and 1 herbs and spices. That’s 8 servings in one meal!
Either make one giant salad to eat throughout the week, or prepare individual containers. Flavorful, crunchy, and beautiful to eat!
- 1/2 small head of red cabbage (3 cups, chopped)
- 6 carrots (2 cups, grated or chopped)
- 2 red bell peppers
- 1 large cucumber
- 2 cups frozen peas or shelled edamame
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 4 green onions
- 2 mangoes, or 2 cups frozen mango chunks
- 3 cups cooked quinoa or whole grain pasta or noodles
- 4 TBSP sesame seeds (optional)
- 1 cup chopped peanuts (optional)
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 1 tsp garlic powder (or 2 tsp minced fresh garlic)
- 1 tsp ground ginger (or 1 TBSP grated fresh ginger)
- 2 TBSP vinegar (rice, apple cider, or white)
- 2 TBSP soy sauce, tamari, liquid aminos, or coconut aminos
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 TBSP honey, maple syrup, or sugar (optional. If you avoid sweeteners, it's still delicious without).
Start by cooking quinoa or pasta, if not already cooked.
Chop all the vegetables. Thaw frozen peas and mangoes in warm water.
Stir sauce ingredients together until smooth. Add more red pepper flakes to increase heat to taste.
Either toss all together in one very large bowl, or make individual salads to store in the fridge for lunches throughout the week. Keep dressing separate to optimize freshness.
In jars or other meal prep containers, layer the folllowing:
1/4-1/3 cup peanut sauce
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
3/4 cup quinoa or pasta
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 cup peas or edamame
1/2 cup mango chunks
1/2 cup carrots
3/4 cup red cabbage
1/4 cup each cilantro and green onions
peanuts and sesame seeds
Stores well in the fridge up to 5 days. To eat, shake jar and pour into a bowl.