A few weekends ago, on Mother’s Day, my daughters gave me two mason jars, which I really love! I personally like using them as drinking glasses, but mason jars can also be useful for people who want to take easy-to-make, healthy meals to work. Breakfast and lunch can both be made the night before, stored in mason jars, and easily carried to work the next day. Here’s three recipe examples that show how versatile mason jars are:
1. Green Smoothie
Any smoothie recipe will do, but for the one above, I simply threw all of the following into a blender:
- A small handful of Japanese salad greens
- 1 kiwifruit
- 1/2 of a frozen banana
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 single serve packet of Green Smoothie powder (Japanese product)
2. Cherry Chia Breakfast Oatmeal
This was more like two and a half, or three, servings for me, but the nice thing about this recipe is that the chia seeds bind everything together so as long as you keep the jar in the refrigerator (with a sealed lid), you can eat it over a couple of days. Here’s how I made this fresh cherry oatmeal:
- Mix together 3/4 cup of oats, 1 cup almond milk, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and a dash of cinnamon to an airtight container. Gently whisk and refrigerate overnight or for at least 8 hours.
- Add about 1 1/2 cups fresh cherries and 1 tbsp maple syrup to a high-powered blender. Blend on high for 1-2 minutes or until completely smooth. Pour into an airtight container and stir in 2 tbsps chia seeds. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours.
- In 3 small mason jars, layer the oats and cherry chia mixture. Garnish with chopped cherries (or other berries) and almonds, if desired. Serve immediately or refrigerate for later.
3. Chickpea, Brown Rice, and Green Salad
The thing you want to remember with mason jar salads, is that the dressing should be at the bottom of the jar, then beans and hearty vegetables should be added next, followed by grains and pastas, then protein, and finally greens, nuts, and seeds. You can either eat your salad right out of the jar (after giving it a good shake), or you can transfer it to a salad bowl. Here’s how I made this chickpea, brown rice, and green salad:
- In a rice cooker, I added about 1/2 cup of brown rice, and a single packet of mixed beans (you can find various types of mixed bean combinations – for use in the rice cooker – at any Japanese store). Once the brown rice and bean mixture is cooked, let it cool slightly and give it some flavor by adding a little olive oil, salt, and a couple of pressed garlic cloves. Mix together and put aside.
- Make a quick dressing by mixing together a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a tsp stone ground mustard, salt and pepper, a sprinkle of Italian herbs (optional), and a tsp of honey.
- Drain and rinse 1 can of chickpeas, and mix together with some sliced green onions. Add enough of the dressing to give it a good coating.
- Now you can start layering your salad; start with the chickpeas (stir a little more dressing in if needed), then layer with the rice and bean mixture, followed by a handful of freshly diced tomato, your favorite greens, and a sprinkle of crumbled feta cheese.
[What’s your favorite Mason Jar recipe?]