What’s for lunch? Sometimes lunchtime is the brightest part of the day (until 5:00 anyway), so it really pays to give it just a few minutes of thought. Personally, I overdid the turkey-lettuce-and-tomato-sandwich-on-whole-wheat-bread-with-yogurt-and-an-apple-for-dessert YEARS ago, so I’m not much of a sandwich fan anymore. I do love me a good chopped salad with lots of creative ingredients though…
Salads are really easy to pull together for lunch, as long as you have everything prepped and ready to go ahead of time. So invest in some small glass or plastic bowls, and instead of chopping one cucumber, pepper or carrot for one salad, just chop 3 and store each in a clear bowl, so you can see the pretty colors when you open the fridge. Wash and chop an entire head or even 2, of lettuce, spin it, roll it lightly in paper towel and keep it in a large freezer bag. You can certainly make your own salad dressing if you like, (check my Salad Dressings and Spice Mixes Pinterest board for recipes and inspiration), but there are also many good quality brands on the market too. I’m partial to Brianna’s Salad Dressings – great flavors and clean ingredients.
Make sure you add something interesting to your salads – think about a theme like Asian, Southwest, Mediterranean, and sprinkle in some peanuts, thai basil, corn, black beans, chickpeas, feta cheese… Just experiment and have fun!
When packing your salad, layer the ingredients in a bowl or Mason jar. Start with the salad dressing on the bottom. Yes, trust me, it will keep things from getting soggy. Then add any heavier ingredients, like beans, artichoke hearts, or meat. Next add smaller chopped vegetables, or corn, and tuck your lettuce or other greens on top, far away from the dressing. If you like croutons, nuts or sunflower seeds, keep those in a little bag so they stay dry and crisp. When the clock strikes lunchtime, just shake up your salad, add the crispy stuff and enjoy!
At this time of the year, I’m ready for apples, red grapes and cranberries, so I love the flavors in this Smoked Turkey Harvest Salad.
Sweet, crisp apples. Honey, maple smoked turkey breast. Dried cranberries. Salty, smoked Gouda. Juicy red grapes. Toasted pecans. All dressed up in a Maple vinaigrette dressing. Isn’t it lunchtime yet?!!
[bctt tweet=”My favorite fall flavors – all together in this easy-to-pack #lunch salad #MasonJarSalads”]
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons real maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt or to taste
- 1 heart of Romaine lettuce
- 1 sweet apple i.e. Honey crisp or Gala
- 1 cup red seedless grapes sliced in half
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup toasted pecans chopped
- 3 ounces of smoked Gouda cheese
- 1/4 pound of maple smoked turkey breast from the deli
- To make the dressing, combine all ingredients into a small jar. Cover and shake well. Add extra salt and pepper if necessary, to taste.
- If you will be eating this salad immediately, place all of the salad ingredients into a large mixing bowl. If you will be prepping the ingredients for several salads for the week, keep each ingredient in a separate small bowl or plastic bag.
- Wash and dry the lettuce in a salad spinner or on paper towels. Stack the leaves together and slice or chop them into bite-size pieces, no larger than 1 1/2 inches.
- Quarter the apple and cut it into 3/4-inch cubes. If storing it for later, toss the cubes with fresh lemon juice to prevent browning.
- Cut the Gouda into 1/2-inch cubes
- Cut the entire 1/4 pound of turkey into 1-inch square pieces
- Place all ingredients into a large mixing bowl and toss together.
- Drizzle with salad dressing as desired, and toss to combine.
What fall flavors are you craving? Do you ever make Mason jar salads?