A few days ago, I was sitting in the backyard, catching up on some articles on Zite and found a great idea for salads in a jar at Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body. I loved the idea - the jars are so cute - and wanted to give it a try for myself. My only issue? I didn't have any spare jars. I do, however, have an abundance of clear plastic containers, so last night while putting together today's lunch, decided to give this salad concept a go.
I got started with my salad dressing, putting just over two tablespoons of an olive oil vinaigrette into the bottom of my container, before layering in my ingredients. I wanted a salad that would be full of flavor and filling, without being too heavy. I also didn't want to rely on too many salad ingredients - I like to keep my salads simple. That being said, for this layered salad, I chose to put chickpeas on the bottom, followed by a layer of baby carrots and tomatoes, then baby spinach, and topped it all off with a hard-boiled egg.
It looked delicious and I was tempted to try it right then and there, but it was for lunch, so I popped it in the fridge overnight. This morning I packed it in my lunch bag, surrounded by a few ice packs. Five hours later, I shook it up to distribute the dressing and then dove in... and realized I probably should have seeded my tomato. You see, my spinach leaves were coated as much in tomato seeds and juice as they were coated in dressing. BUT - and this is a big but here - it didn't make my salad any less tasty or filling, it just made the flavor of the dressing a little less pronounced. The best part? My spinach wasn't wilted OR soggy, and the chickpeas were pretty flavorful after being in some vinaigrette dressing for more than twelve hours.
I enjoyed my salad with a side of yogurt to help amp it up just a bit and hold me over until late afternoon. Would I make this lunch again? Oh yes I would. I love how visually appealing it was to layer everything together as it made me even more excited for my meal come lunch time. It was incredibly convenient to not have to pack a separate container of dressing this morning, and I loved having my salad ready for a quick and easy grab-and-go lunch. I imagine the possibilities for this kind of salad are endless, and I can't wait to try it again.
What is your favorite packed lunch?