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Mason Jar Quinoa Salad with Green Thai-Style Dressing (GF and Vegan)

January 29, 2015

Mason Jar Quinoa Salad with Green Thai-Style Dressing (GF and Vegan) - Perfect for lunch on the go!

I’m heading off to Leeds again! I’m hoping my poor, London-adapted hands won’t freeze and then fall off.. My extremities aren’t used to *The North* haha.

While it’s only a 3 hour journey, my friends and I are catching an afternoon train which poses a dilemma: The dreaded travelling lunch.

Mason Jar Quinoa Salad with Green Thai-Style Dressing (GF and Vegan) - Perfect for lunch on the go!

I have to admit this is probably a dilemma mainly for me because I’m super picky when it comes to lunchy things. I’m really not into sandwiches so that basically cuts on-the-go lunch options in half. Then you’re left with mainly soup and salad.

Soup is awesome, but when you’re on a train jolting around and your thermos is kind of unpredictable it can be a lot less awesome and a lot more burnt-legs-ish. Now we are left with salad.

This can either be a really sad, depressing thing or we can forget about the boring, school salads of childhood and JAZZ IT UP to make it cool  B-)  (that’s a cool smiley face wearing sunglasses to prove it).

When I eat salad as a meal, not a side, I want it to be substantial so let’s face it: it’s basically gonna be cold carbs with some greenery mixed in; quinoa and roasted sweet potato are still delicious at room temp and keep well if you prep them ahead of time so they make up the base of this salad. Add in some leafies (baby spinach!), sweet crunch (pomegranate arils), extra veg (carrot) and a kick-ass dressing (sweet, sour and fresh) and you have yourself one dench travelling lunch. Tip it all out into a bowl or pack it loosely so you can eat it straight from the jar and you’re good to go.

Mason Jar Quinoa Salad with Green Thai-Style Dressing (GF and Vegan) - Perfect for lunch on the go!

Notes:

– The recipe for the dressing makes more than you need so store any extra in a jar in the fridge for salads, chicken or fish.
– Make sure you use a gluten-free miso paste if you need to!
– Quinoa can be replaced with loads of things: cooked rice noodles, mung bean noodles, chickpeas, lentils, edamame, pearl barley, buckwheat or freekeh.
– If you assemble the salad a day ahead, chill it overnight to take with you the next day. Keep it as cool as possible when you’re travelling or at work/school.

Mason Jar Quinoa Salad with Green Thai-Style Dressing

Ingredients

Green Thai-Style Dressing (makes excess):

  • roughly 1 cup coriander (cilantro), loosely packed / a large handful, stems and all
  • 1- inch piece of ginger , peeled (use a spoon to scrape off the skin)
  • 1/4 red chilli (or more to taste)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tsp dried lemongrass (optional)
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp apple juice , pomegranate juice or more coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar or honey
  • 1 tsp brown miso paste

For the salad:

  • 3 tbsp Green Thai-Style dressing (above)
  • 1 sweet potato , peeled + cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/3 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 small carrot , grated, julienned or spiralised
  • handful of pomegranate seeds (optional)
  • large handful of baby spinach leaves
  • coconut oil
  • salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F). Place a dollop of coconut oil onto a baking tray and put into the oven to melt (about 2 minutes). Meanwhile peel and cube the sweet potato then throw onto the baking tray and toss, covering it with the melted coconut oil. Sprinkle with salt and roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
  2. Place all of the dressing ingredients into a blender and whizz up into a smooth sauce. Pour into a lidded jar and chill until needed. (This recipe makes excess dressing).
  3. While the sweet potato is cooking, put the quinoa into a fine mesh strainer and rinse. Then tip into a small pot along with 2/3 cup (160 ml) water. Season with a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave it to sit, covered for 5 minutes.
  4. Assemble the salad in a jar:
  5. 1st layer - 3 tbsp dressing
  6. 2nd layer - carrot
  7. 3rd layer - quinoa
  8. 4th layer- sweet potato
  9. 5th layer - pomegranate
  10. 6th layer - as much spinach as you can pack in!
  11. Screw on the lid and chill until needed.
  12. Wehn you're ready to eat: shake the salad out of the jar into a bowl, or when assembling pack the layers loosely in a larger jar so you can dig straight in!

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  • Tori@Gringalicious.com January 29, 2015 at 9:52 pm

    This is a great idea for an on-the-go lunch and that thai dressing sounds incredible! Pinning!

  • Allyn January 29, 2015 at 10:15 pm

    It must be in the air, because I made a quinoa salad with roasted vegetables and a green dressing this week for our lunches too, though mine was more southwestern US inspired in flavor. I think your dressing might have to go on the next version.

  • Alycia @ foodblogit January 29, 2015 at 11:08 pm

    Wow! This is right up my ally. Thank you so much for sharing. I will be making this soon!

  • S. Lauren@ModernGranola January 29, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    This looks and sounds delicious. I’ve never heard of a green curry salad dressing before, so I’m pumped to try this out! Love your creativity!

  • Louise January 30, 2015 at 12:27 am

    Brilliant idea, and almost looks too pretty to eat! Do you have to keep the jar upright, or does the carrot keep the dressing from seeping into the rest and making it soggy?

    • Izy January 30, 2015 at 12:29 am

      Keep it upright! yep, the dressing is at the bottom with a ‘carrot barrier’ to stop everything from going soggy 🙂

  • Emily January 30, 2015 at 1:48 am

    Stunning pictures, and definitely giving the Thai dressing a try!

    Emily | ahemitsemme.blogspot.com

  • Lynn @ The Actor’s Diet January 30, 2015 at 3:13 am

    I love eating out of jars – I’ve never eaten a salad out of one!

  • Laurie January 30, 2015 at 3:55 am

    O my dear one !!! You have conquered the demon that looks desperately for goodness, and only comes up with processed ham and mayo lettuce wrap… Eureka !!! with just a few chunks of chicken, my protein quotient can be satisfied as well as the freshness I am craving. AND , we have Mason jars !!
    o, this is going to be lovely.
    laur in st louis, MO

  • Maryna January 30, 2015 at 5:59 am

    So cool!! Really, I like the combination so much! Not sure wether I am gonna take it with me, but it also makes an amazing lunch at home))

  • Agnes {Cashew Kitchen} January 30, 2015 at 6:25 am

    I HAVE to try that dressing! I have a thing for dressings. Especially thick ones you make in the blender <3 Yum!

  • Miranda | Miranda's Notebook January 30, 2015 at 7:02 am

    Yum! That looks really good – I love the idea of mason jar salads. Such a good idea for a lunch on the go! xxx

  • Pia January 30, 2015 at 7:11 am

    Another GORGEOUS post, Izy. No, seriously, keep it up and keep ’em recipes coming, along with the breathtaking photographs, of course 🙂
    And now, not to be picky, but I can’t help myself: you forgot to mention the sweet potato between the quinoa and pomegranate; just thought I’d let you know, in case you’d want to edit that.

    • Izy January 30, 2015 at 9:15 am

      Thank you!!

  • Millie | Add A Little January 30, 2015 at 7:13 am

    This looks amazing Izy!! Definitely trying this out for lunch and that dressing looks insane! I’m sure it would be great with zoodles too!

  • Lauren January 30, 2015 at 10:43 am

    Totally feel the dreaded travel lunch when you’re a picky healthy eater – but this has changed my mind, it sounds so good!

    Lauren x
    Britton Loves | Lifestyle Food Fashion Beauty – http://www.brittonloves.blogspot.co.uk

  • Laura @ Laura's Culinary Adventures January 30, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    What a fun on the go lunch! Cute presentation too!

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar January 30, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    100% need more fun salads like this in my life! So pretty!

  • Sophia@ NY Foodgasm January 30, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    This is such a GREAT idea!! LOVE!

  • Bea January 30, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    Love these layers IZY!Have a great time in Leeds!

  • J.S. @ Sun Diego Eats January 30, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    Had to look up what an aril was, but ok now I KNOW.

    “An aril also called an arillus, is any specialized outgrowth from the funiculus (attachment point of the seed) (or hilum) that covers or is attached to the seed”

  • Rebecca @ DisplacedHousewife January 30, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    This looks beautiful and I love the concept. I can’t wait to try this dressing…I love everything Thai!! xo

  • Millie | Add A Little January 30, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    This looks insane Izy – I’m a massive salad lover so I need to try this out and we need to have a salad picnic!

  • Eileen January 30, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    Yes to traveling salads! This sounds like an excellent combination. I might up the protein content a bit with some cooked white beans or chickpeas too. And then? NOM. 🙂

  • Valérie January 30, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    Great recipe and a nice alternative to my current salad routines. I only just discovered quinoa for myself and I am completely hooked! Looking forward to try your version soon.

    http://www.globalspicedblog.tumblr.com

  • Ala January 31, 2015 at 12:25 am

    Your trip just reminded me of that BBC version of North & South. Aside from Richard Armitage as John Thornton (SWOON), the whole trip to the “north” sounds so exhilarating and crazy fun. Go have a blast! Meanwhile, I have miso paste. I shall sit down with this gorgeous salad and NOM while popping in my BBC DVD….

  • Amanda | The Cinnamon Scrolls January 31, 2015 at 5:21 am

    Wow, sounds delicious! I’ll have to try that dressing post-haste! I love the combination of sweet potato and pomegranate – sounds delish. 🙂

  • genevieve @ gratitude & greens January 31, 2015 at 6:43 am

    I am super picky about lunch, too- especially if I’m taking it with me to go! I usually pop a salad with some roast veg + squeeze of lemon juice and olive oil in tupperware, and that works out pretty well. I have yet to truly appreciate salad in a jar because I like my salads well mixed but not mushy and soggy. With that said, it seems like you’ve solved the problem via carrot, which I LOVE! Have fun in Leeds and I hope your hands don’t freeze!

  • Trang's corner January 31, 2015 at 7:15 am

    It looks amazzzingggggg! So delicious! Need to try this recipe.
    http://www.trangscorner.com

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  • Matea January 31, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    Roasted sweet potatoes are a killer addition to salads! Yum!!

  • Thea @ Baking Magique February 1, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    I love the idea of a salad in a jar. I’ve seen them a couple of times on pinterest and they’re so cute! 🙂

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  • Steph K. February 2, 2015 at 4:29 am

    Love! I have a few large mason jars that need a purpose – and this is it!

  • Teffy February 3, 2015 at 1:37 am

    Oh it looks so beautiful! This must be the pretties mason jar salad I’ve seen!
    That dressing sounds soooo delicious, need to try it!

    {Teffy’s Perks} X

  • Brittany February 3, 2015 at 4:03 am

    Roasted sweet potatoes are the best salad toppers! I’m loving the looks of this traveling lunch.

  • Nik@ABrownTable February 3, 2015 at 5:31 am

    I avoid sandwiches at lunch too! Your salad has the best flavors and those colors are gorgeous 🙂

  • V February 3, 2015 at 10:04 am

    This is definitely my kind of food, thanks!

  • Sfora February 3, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    This looks delicious 🙂

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    I need to be way better about lunches on the go and this mason-jar one looks just up my (also sandwich-hating) alley!

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    Im absolutely loving the idea of a salad in a jar. Yeah I know it isn’t new but I must have had my head buried In the sand.
    Im on the case.
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