by Julia Mirabella
Food is art! If you don't believe that then just pick up a copy of Mason Jar Salads and More by Julia Mirabella and you'll become a believer. Just look at the book's cover. Aren't those jars filled with layered salads absolutely gorgeous? How jealous would your co-workers be if you pulled a Mason jar-filled salad out of the refrigerator for lunch? I would probably have a couple of people circling my desk...
This cookbook begins with the author introducing the idea of Mason jar meals and the benefits to preparing your meals in these iconic jars. These benefits include portion control, saving time and money, easy cleanup, and, most importantly, the safety that glass provides such as being easily sterilized in the dishwasher and not transferring toxins into your food. The top of the Mason jar also provides an airtight seal to prevent spillage. The author also demonstrates how to assemble the salads in the jars beginning with the dressing, adding ingredients that won't soak up the dressing, and finishing with salad greens.
Recipes are not limited to salads although you will find over two dozen salad recipes. The book is divided into five categories of recipes:
- Breakfasts: featuring smoothies and oatmeal recipes
- Salads: from classics such as Caesar Salad, Fruit Salad, and Cobb Salad to modern combinations such as Corn and Blueberry Salad and Pomegranate and Pear Salad
- More Lunch Ideas: pasta salads, chicken salads, potato salads, vegetable side dishes, rice dishes, and soups
- Snacks and Dips: salsas, guacamole, and hummus
- Salad Dressings: featuring ten different vinaigrette recipes
Mason Jar Salads and More opened my mind to the beauty and possibility of serving food in jars. I have several cases of Mason jars that I have only recently started using in my every day prepping and cooking. They're perfect for mixing up dressing and sauces. This cookbook will inspire anyone to pull out those jars and start layering tomorrow's breakfast, lunch, or snacks. The full-color photos are a feast for the eyes. See my favorite salad from the book, the Southwestern Salad, in the photo below. I want to eat it right now.
Photo courtesy of Ulysses Press
Colorful with lots of protein and antioxidants, this hearty salad will keep you satisfied until dinnertime. You can step it up a notch with a little hot sauce in your salad dressing if you want to make things interesting.
Makes 1 serving
3 tablespoons Lime Vinaigrette
1⁄2 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
1⁄2 red vine-ripened tomato, diced
1⁄4 red bell pepper, diced
1⁄4 yellow bell pepper, diced
1⁄2 cup diced avocado (optional)
1⁄2 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
2 cups mixed salad greens
1 ounce Cheddar cheese, grated
1 quart-size Mason jar
Start by pouring the vinaigrette dressing into the Mason jar. Then layer in the black beans, tomato, bell peppers, avocado, and corn. Finish with the salad greens and, finally, the Cheddar cheese. Seal and refrigerate until ready to use.
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
dash of hot sauce (optional)
3 tablespoons olive oil
Disclaimer: The publisher provided me with a review copy of the cookbook; however, the opinion expressed here is my own.