Thank you National Watermelon Promotion Board for sponsoring this post. Watermelon is the perfect portable food for enjoying wherever life takes you!
Mason jar salads are the perfect make-ahead, portable lunch. They are pre-portioned and have everything you need to simply dump onto your favorite plate or bowl and enjoy right away.
The layered mason jar salad concept has been around for awhile now. I love to make them the night before when I know I will have a busy, on-the-go day with not much time to think about a filling, nutritious lunch. I’ve been loving preparing a couple mason jar salads in assembly line fashion and then grabbing them for quick and easy lunches throughout the week.
With mason jar salads there are endless combinations. Here are a couple guidelines I always follow when assembling them:
- Dressing goes in first and always top that with 1-2 items that will not wilt or get soggy when soaked overnight in the dressing. Good options for the bottom layer include: tomatoes, watermelon, peaches, cucumbers, bell peppers, avocado etc. In this salad I used watermelon, my favorite summer on-the-go fruit.
- Delicate lettuce and herbs go on the top. Stuff them in well – it doesn’t look like there is much arugula and mint in the jar but when you open the lid it expands and really fills the bottom of the salad bowl or plate well.
- Ideally, use a wide-mouth mason jar (affiliate link). If you do not have a lidded glass jar you could use any storage container and simply store the dressing and any moist ingredients (such as watermelon) separately.
- I usually cook up a batch of quinoa to use throughout the week so I always like to add a layer of quinoa to my mason jar salads. Another good option for protein and texture is cooked lentils or canned beans.
With summer in full swing I was dreaming up salad combinations that epitomize summer. For most, watermelon is a summertime favorite. I love how incredibly refreshing and hydrating it is in the summer heat. It is 92% water and contains electrolytes, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium, lycopene, fiber, magnesium and amino acids. It packs in so much nutrition and happens to be the #1 budget friendly fruit.
Here are my favorite watermelon selection tips for the perfectly ripe, sweet and juicy watermelon…
- Pick it up – it should feel heavy for its size (means it is full of water).
- Inspect it – It should be firm, symmetrical and free of bruises, cuts or dents in the rind.
- Look at the underside of the melon – it should have a creamy yellow spot from where it sat on the field and ripened in the sun.
- Sniff it – a sweet aroma means a sweeter melon!
A brilliant red interior indicates a sweet melon.
Outside of these mason jar salads, here are some other ways I love to enjoy seedless watermelon:
- Watermelon “Pizza” (pictured above): Perfect for your red, white and blue entertaining! Cut a 1 inch thick round slice of watermelon and place on a plate. Cut into 8 pizza shaped slices then top with your favorite vanilla flavored plant-based yogurt and fresh berries. Serve chilled.
- Watermelon Slushie: Blend fresh watermelon with ice and serve immediately. I like to use a lot of ice to make it extra thick and frosty. You can flavor with mint, lemon or lime but it is also great on its own. It is a quick, easy and refreshing treat – similar to a slurpee but waaaaay healthier.
- Watermelon Juice: Place melon into a blender and process until smooth. Press mixture through a fine sieve, strain and discard the pulp. Serve chilled over ice.
- Watermelon Popsicles: Slice into wedges and stick popsicle sticks into the rind. My kids call these watermelon lollipops.
- Watermelon Salsa: Combine watermelon chunks with lime juice, jalapeño pepper, red onion, cilantro, salt and pepper. Serve with chips. Cucumber and mango also pair well with this.
Did you know, according to the Watermelon Board the entire watermelon is edible? The flesh, juice and rind. You can dice up the white rind and make a slaw out of it. I haven’t tried this myself yet but plan to this summer.
Now back to this mason jar salad recipe. This one is colorful and summery with arugula, watermelon and fresh mint. It is vegan, soy-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free and peanut-free.
If you give this recipe a try, please let me know! Leave a comment below, rate it above, and tag a photo @eatingbyelaine and #eatingbyelaine on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook so I can see your creations.Print
Watermelon, avocado, pine nuts, red onion, quinoa, arugula and mint all conveniently layered in a wide-mouth mason jar with a simple homemade balsamic dressing – portable and perfect to make ahead to take to work, school, the beach, park or anywhere you want a delicious meal on the go!
- FOR THE SIMPLE BALSAMIC DRESSING:
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh black pepper
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- FOR THE MASON JAR SALAD:
- 1.5 cups diced seedless watermelon
- 1/2 of one large avocado or 1 entire small avocado, diced
- 1/3 cup red onion, diced
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1 cup cooked quinoa (How to Make Perfectly Cooked Quinoa)
- 2 large handfuls baby arugula
- 8 large mint leaves, chopped
- In a small bowl whisk to combine the dressing ingredients well. Pour into one large, wide mouth quart sized mason jar
- Layer the ingredients from bottom to top in this order: watermelon first (on bottom), avocado, red onion, pine nuts, quinoa, arugula and mint. Cover with lid.