Mason Jar Veggie Bowls: A Week’s Worth of Healthy Lunches for $20
Last summer, I discovered (insert angel chorus here) Salad in a Jar!
Yep. It’s life-changing. I’ve been setting aside time on the weekends to prep lunches for the week. It’s been a great way to save some green, and eat my greens at the same time.
Well, now that it’s winter, I’m not super interested in salad. I want something warm. Heartier. Warming. But still portable.
There certainly are lots of options, like making a big pot of soup to eat during the week. But I was inspired to go beyond soup and try making a veggie bowl by the new Thug Kitchen Cookbook.
There’s a whole section in there about veggie bowls, and what I noticed was that a veggie bowl is very similar to a salad in a jar–could I adapt the veggie bowl concept to work in a mason jar?
Turns out, you can, quite successfully.
Mason Jar Veggie Bowls:
1: Grains. If you are gluten-free, choose a gluten-free grain. Rice is the standard/fallback, but you don’t have to use it if you don’t want to. Quinoa, buckwheat, barley, millet, kasha, the list goes on and on. I used Farro in my most recent experiment. If you are pressed for time, get one that cooks quickly, in 10-15 minutes. Brown rice, while quite healthy, will take almost an hour to cook. You’ll need about 2 cups of cooked grains for the week. The grain component of your jar should be about 1/3.
2. Protein. I use firm tofu in mine, but you have lots of other options. Leftover chicken or lean beef, even quickly-sauteed shrimp would rock. Vegetarian meat strips or seitan would also work really well. One package of firm tofu was enough for me for the week. You’ll want your protein component to be about 1/4 of your jar.
3. Veggies. You can do these raw, or you can quickly stir fry them. I have used a variety of different things, like yams I’ve baked and cut up, kale, shredded raw carrots, crunchy snow peas, edamame beans, mushrooms, basically whatever you like. The other day, I grabbed a handful of this yummy Superfood Salad I’d picked up from Costco, and stir-fried it quickly, and it went into my jar. You’ll want the biggest proportion in your jar to be veggies–1/3 to 1/2.
4. Sauce. This is where you really get to customize! I have been keeping my simple, by mixing together hoisin sauce and soy sauce (to thin it out). You could do a basic teriyaki type sauce with soy, rice wine vinegar, sugar, garlic, ginger, and a little cornstarch to thicken. Substitute Tamari to make it gluten-free. I also love a nice peanut sauce: peanut butter, soy sauce, a little heat, a little sugar. Here is a blog post that lists a bunch of different sauces you can play around with. You only need 1-2 tbsp of sauce.
That’s it–once you have all your ingredients, you just need to prep your jars. I used 500 ml wide-mouthed mason jars. Your grains go in the bottom, then your veggies, then the protein on top of that. Pour over a couple tablespoons of sauce, and garnish, if you like, with sesame seeds. Screw the lid on, and keep it in the fridge until you are ready to eat. You can warm this a little in the microwave, if you like, or just eat it cold, straight from the jar.