Make these easy Chicken Salad Mason Jar Salads for make ahead lunches during the week! With grapes, apple, toasted pecans, and a creamy poppy seed dressing, these healthy meal prep salads are sure to become a favorite!
Mason jar salads are my latest obsession.
For one, they’re so pretty! But more important, these ready-to-go salads in jars make it easy to eat a healthy lunch on busy weekdays. I’ve been prepping some mason jar salads on Sunday or Monday each week, so we have healthy lunches ready to go for the first half of the week. (Depending on what you put in your salads, they will last for 3-5 days. This one, with chicken, stays fresh for 3 days after you cook your chicken.)
The idea for these mason jar salads came to me when I was making my easy chicken salad recipe. I thought that chicken salad would make an incredible flavor for a meal prep salad and wow was I right!
I tried it, and we loved it! The flavor of these salads is spot on, and packaging individual portions in mason jars makes these salads convenient for grab and go lunches.
I made my Chicken Salad Mason Jar Salads in 16 ounce mason jars, because I have a ton of them in my kitchen. I couldn’t fit quite as much lettuce as I wanted in the 16 ounce jars, so I’m thinking of investing in these 32 ounce jars. Because there will be many more mason jar salad recipes in my future, I’m sure. 😉 In the meantime, I just add a little more lettuce to my salad when I serve it.
Speaking of serving, if you’ve never eaten a salad in a jar before, you don’t actually have to eat it in the jar. I like to shake it up, so the dressing mixes in, and then pour it into a big bowl for serving. It’s much easier to eat that way.
When it comes to mason jar salads, the possibilities are endless. I’m working on another salad in a jar recipe that I think you’ll love… we ate it for dinner Monday night after I tested the recipe and it was delish! Recipe to come. 🙂
How to layer a salad in a jar:
- Put the dressing in the jar first.
- Add crunchy veggies on top of the dressing. We’re using celery in these salads. This keeps the rest of the salad from getting soggy!
- Add your protein, in this case, the chicken.
- Next goes the softer veggies and/or fruit. Here we have apples and grapes… yum!
- Top with your greens.
- Finally, add the toasted nuts last to keep them crunchy.
- Seal the jars with lids, and store in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to eat, shake it up, pour it into a bowl, and enjoy!
More favorite make-ahead lunch salads:
Kale Salad with Quinoa and Blueberries
Quinoa and Roasted Broccoli Lunch Bowls
No Mayo Broccoli Salad
Chicken Salad Mason Jar Salads
For the salads:
- 2 boneless skinless chicken half breasts (about ¾ pound)
- 3 ribs celery (chopped)
- 1 apple (chopped)
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 cup grapes (halved)
- 8 leaves romaine lettuce (chopped*)
- ½ cup pecans (toasted)
For the dressing:
- ¾ cup Greek yogurt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
- salt and pepper
Cook the chicken:
Heat a medium or large skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Add the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cook until browned on one side, 2-3 minutes. Flip chicken and brown on second side, about 2 minutes. Pour in water so that it reaches halfway up the sides of the chicken; cover skillet with lid. Continue cooking chicken until it is cooked through (it should read 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer). Remove chicken to a plate to cool.
Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the salads:
Whisk together dressing ingredients. Taste and add a bit more honey (1/2 teaspoon) if desired. Divide dressing evenly between four 16-ounce mason jars.
Toss the apple pieces with 2 teaspoons lemon juice.
Once the chicken is cooled, chop it into bite-sized pieces.
Divide the remaining salad ingredients between the four mason jars, in this order: celery, chicken, apple, grapes, lettuce, pecans. Seal jars with lids and refrigerate. When you’re ready to eat your salad, shake it up in the jar to mix in the dressing, pour into a bowl or plate, and enjoy!
Salads will last for 3 days in the refrigerator.