For the first time in our marriage, I'm having to make lunch for my hubby. Sandwiches get old so I'm trying to be creative. Since jars are hot right now, I thought I'd take a stab at a Mason Jar Pasta Salad. While the pictures aren't the best (It's been raining non-stop in Kansas City so it's been super dark in my home. I tried outside and got a little glare. Oh well), the salad was amazing.
The key to layering a salad in a jar? Put the dressing on the bottom of a quart-size jar. I used store-bought dressing for this because I was a little lazy, but it would be awesome with a homemade vinaigrette. Since it's liquid, the first layer is going to sink into the dressing so I made my first layer a logical one to find- sliced green olives. Then I dug through my pantry to see what I could find.
Artichoke hearts are one of my favorites. I like the kind that are not marinated because they're versatile. They're perfect to dress up a simple green salad for dinner and you can stuff them in chicken (I have a great recipe coming for that) and also they make a great dip with a little spinach, cream cheese, sour cream and herbs. They are perfect for pasta salad. (If you want other ideas, check out my Perfect Pasta Salad post).
The other thing I love right now? The bags of small peppers you can buy in the store. I'm not a green pepper fan but I love the red, orange and yellow ones. We buy them every week and use them on salads. I also cook with them because I have them on hand. While they're not cheap, they are full of flavor. I'll even eat one raw so I added those as well.
The rest of the ingredients? Stuff I had on hand. Amazing cheese and pasta from the pantry (I recommend tri-colored rotini). If I had some salami, chicken or cubed ham, I would've added meat but I didn't so this version is vegetarian. To eat, all you have to do is shake the jar so the dressing covers the ingredients and enjoy!
- 1/3 cup Italian dressing
- 1/4 cup sliced green olives
- 10 artichoke hearts
- 3 small red peppers sliced
- 1/3 of a large zucchini chopped
- Cubed cheese
- Handful of baby spinach
- 1 Roma tomato chopped
- 1/2 cup pasta
- Layer all ingredients in the jar starting with the dressing on the bottom. Shake to eat.