Put down that sandwich! There are so many benefits in bringing a homemade salad to work. It’s healthy, low-cost, and it will taste better than any over-priced sandwich from the shop down the road. The unfortunate reality, however, is that after being piled into a plastic container with a poorly fitting lid, by lunchtime that once-perky salad, so lovingly prepared, has usually turned into a depressingly soggy, limp mess.

Jar salads might be the perfect solution. They’re portable and will keep all of your ingredients fresh and crisp. They keep well, so there's the added bonus of making more than one lunch for the week in one go, instead of carving out time every evening or early morning. All you need is a glass jar with a tight-fitted screw-top lid.

How do jar salads work?

The key to a successful jar salad is in the layering. Rather than mixing everything together, the dressing sits in the bottom of the jar, with the rest of the ingredients layered on top, from robust to delicate.

The heavier, more resilient ingredients sit in and above the dressing, protecting the upper layers from going soggy. As long as the jar is kept upright, these ingredients will remain intact and at their best.

Some vegetables such as cucumber, cauliflower, carrot and fennel will even improve their flavour over time, as the dressing will help to marinate or pickle ingredients that sit at the base of the jar.

Give the jar a bit of a shake with the lid still on to disperse the dressing, then open and tip the whole thing into a bowl. Give everything a mix and you’re good to go.


Veggie taco salad

Coriander and lime dressing:

3 tablespoons Greek-style yoghurt

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

juice of 1 lime

large handful of coriander (cilantro), finely chopped

pinch of caster (superfine) sugar

sea salt

Other ingredients:

1 Lebanese (short) cucumber, diced

90 g (3 oz/1⁄2 cup) cooked black beans

2 tablespoons chopped jalapeños

3 tablespoons corn kernels

1⁄2 avocado, sliced, with lemon juice

2 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese

handful of chopped coriander (cilantro)

handful of baby English spinach leaves, to fill

1 tomato, diced

Alexander Hart's book has 52 jar salad recipes