Like you, I’ve been invited to all kinds of parties: wedding showers, baby showers, gender reveal parties, birthday parties, retirement parties. But I was intrigued when I was invited to my first Salad in a Jar Party. Salad? What? How is that something to celebrate?
I was eager to see just what a salad party was.
First things first – I reviewed the instructions on the invitation. I needed to bring:
- Mason jars (5, enough for salads for a week)
- My own greens (approximately a large bowl- or colander-full)
- Salad dressing
- 2-3 chopped and prepared toppings of my choice to share
I RSVP’d with the toppings I’d be sharing which were nuts, hard-boiled eggs, beans, and sliced peppers, gathered my mason jars, and off I went.
I was pleasantly surprised to find a room full of women talking about health and fitness and ways to keep their kids active and healthy. Felt as though I’d found my kindreds!
And then, we were off, making our salads (see step-by-step instructions below). Before I knew it, I’d made five healthy, ready-to-go lunches to enjoy for the work week ahead. It was so exciting to meal plan something other than my usual boring chicken breast and veggies!
I continued to batch-prepare salads on my own, and my husband got a little jealous of my mason jar magic. So we began to host our own salad parties! I included husbands, children, neighbors, you name it. We put the football game on in the background, making it even more husband-approved. Our children got involved making their own lunches, and they were excited about eating healthy veggies, to boot.
This past New Year’s Day, we hosted a get-to-know-your-neighbors salad party. It’s a great way to get acquainted and to jumpstart our “Get Healthier” resolutions. People loved it! Do you want to try? Here’s what you need to know:
Host your own Salad Party:
- Online invitations are easiest for RSVP maintenance and so invitees can see who is bringing which toppings, avoiding too much duplication.
- Remove some of the guesswork for your guests. Provide them with topping suggestions.
- Encourage guests to bring their own mason jars. I decided to provide them, and found 20-ounce plastic versions on Amazon that come with labels. Please note, these are plastic and are NOT dishwasher safe. Glass may be a preferred option, unless little ones are helping out or if you are concerned about breakage in transit.
- Ask guests to bring salad greens and favorite dressings to share. Having variety of dressing is nice so guests can try a something they may normally not have on hand.
- Have a few salad recipes printed out in case your guests want to try: Southwest, Keto-friendly, fruit-inspired salads, and traditional favorites are some ideas. Naturally, people can create their own, but a few inspired recipes go a long way.
- As guests arrive, group similar toppings together (nuts, fruits, veggies, etc.). Arrange buffet-style with proper serving utensils.
- Place all the greens together (maybe by the sink) and dressings nearby.
- Have labels or wax pencils out for your guests to label the jars either on the lid or the side so they can add any notes or just names on them.
- Encourage your guests to take their time selecting the dressing first and making one salad at a time, going in one direction so everyone can follow one another around the fixins.
Assemble your Salad in a Jar:
- Start with your favorite dressing. I provide a few tablespoon measures in case anyone is closely monitoring their quantities. Pour 2 Tbsp or just enough to coat the bottom of your jar.
- Layer hearty items first: beans, carrots, snap peas, cucumbers, you get the idea.
- On top of your hearty veggies go cheeses, meats, avocado.
- Top with nuts and whole seeds.
- Greens go last. Be sure to save room at the very top!
- Keep jars upright, and label them with your name (use stickers or a wax pencil on the top or side of your jars)
- Refrigerate when you get home. Shake it up when you are ready to eat. You can enjoy straight from the jar or pour into a bowl.
I’ve enjoyed salads on road trips, in my car on the way to see a client, or at my home office. It’s are a great way to eat healthy on the go or to elevate the middle meal of the day – and keep us from overspending on lunches in the new year. Win-win-win!
And what’s more, this activity is a healthy and fun way to get to know people in your community.