This post is sponsored by Samsung.
These Mason Jar Salads are an easy make-ahead meal, topped with hearty roasted sweet potatoes and protein-rich quinoa. They make a convenient packed lunch for the week, or a fast weeknight dinner!
I don’t know about you, but I find it challenging to eat cold salads when the weather cools down. Sometimes I’ll reach for warmer comfort foods, like this Sweet Potato Noodle Casserole or Instant Pot Vegetarian Bolognese, but I don’t want to avoid leafy green salads all winter long. That’s why I’ve been trying to find some more comforting salad options.
If you ask me, great salads are really all about the toppings, so here are some cold-weather salad toppings to help make your next salad a little more hearty and satisfying.
- Roasted root vegetables (warm or cold, they feel heartier)
- Sautéed veggies (like mushrooms or fajita veggies)
- Cooked grains, like quinoa or wild rice
- Beans or lentils
- Gingery salad dressing (ginger is a warming spice!)
- Sriracha or red pepper flakes, for an extra kick
This make-ahead salad recipe features several warming salad toppers, including oven roasted sweet potatoes, quinoa, and a spicy orange-ginger dressing. The combination is totally addictive, and you can prepare all the cooked toppings ahead of time for a convenient option all week long.
Something to keep in mind when making salads ahead of time, is that the order you layer them in is important. Here’s the order I use for adding ingredients to my mason jars:
- Salad dressing goes in first, so it stays at the bottom of the jar
- Sturdy vegetables, like cabbage, carrots, or celery, which won’t get soggy in the dressing
- Cooked grains
- Roasted vegetables
- Leafy greens go on top, so they won’t touch the dressing until ready to serve
Watch me prepare these salad jars below! (3-minute video):
This hearty vegan salad makes an easy packed lunch or fast weeknight dinner. Loaded with fiber and plant-based protein, and a spicy ginger dressing.
- 2 cups sweet potatoes , cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- sea salt
- 1 cup quinoa , rinsed
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh ginger (to taste, roughly a 1-2 inch knob)
- 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
- 1/2 head cabbage , shredded
- 2 cups carrots , shredded
- 4 cups mixed greens
- 4 quart-sized mason jars
Preheat the oven to 400ºF and arrange the potatoes into a single layer on the pan. Drizzle the potatoes with olive oil and use your hands to toss them in the oil. Sprinkle with salt and roast until tender, about 20 minutes.
Once the potatoes are in the oven, combine the quinoa and water in a small saucepan over high heat and bring it to a boil. Cover and lower the heat and allow the quinoa to cook until tender, about 15 minutes.
While the potatoes and quinoa are cooking, prepare the salad dressing. Combine the orange juice, vinegar, olive oil, honey, ginger, and mustard in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
You can serve this right away with the warm toppings, but for a make-ahead meal, allow the sweet potatoes and quinoa to cool before assembling the mason jars. (So that they don't steam the other veggies.)
To assemble the salads, add a 1/4 cup of dressing to the bottom of a mason jar. Then add the shredded cabbage, cooked quinoa, carrots, sweet potatoes, and leafy greens on top. Seal with a lid and store the salads in the fridge until ready to serve, up to 5 days.
When ready to serve, shake the jar to help distribute the dressing, then dump the jar into a large bowl and serve immediately.
Per Jar (if you only make 4 jars): Calories: 477, Carbohydrates: 67, Fiber: 9, Fat: 20, Protein: 10,
- This salad is VERY filling if you only make 4 jars. I think these ingredients could make up to 6 salads, depending on your appetite. (Here are the meal-sized mason jars I use.)
- If you love the taste of ginger as much as I do, use the full 2 tablespoons. It makes the salad a lot more warm and spicy! However, if you’re hesitant about ginger, start with just half that amount, or even less depending on your taste buds.
- As written, this recipe is properly combined. However, feel free to add any other extra toppings you like, such as dried fruit, nuts, or seeds.
As always, if you make a modification to this recipe, please leave a comment below letting us know what worked for you. We can all benefit from your experience!
Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite salad combination when it’s cold outside? I also love this Holiday Salad, which I make at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and this Brussels Sprouts Salad!
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Samsung. They sent us the amazing Family Hub fridge that you see in the video above. (We’re obsessed with it!)