Mason Jar 7 Bean Salad ~ these healthy layered mason jar salads are the perfect grab and go lunch. Put the dressing on the bottom, and flip them over when you’re ready to eat! Great for work, school, picnics, or just stocking the fridge.
Layered salads in jars are hot on Pinterest right now. I couldn’t figure out if they were a gimmick or not, so I decided to give one a try. When it comes to salads in general, I’m really lazy, so if I can somehow trick myself into making them ahead of time, it helps. Since I don’t eat nearly enough beans, and I’m guessing you don’t either, why not use all kinds of beans, and remake the old 7 bean salad? Having them all ready to go like this would be a big encouragement to me. I can see making up a bunch of these jars on the weekend and using them all through the week.
This mason jar 7 bean salad could go from parties, to picnics, to a work-day brown bag. Using glass jars is eco-friendly, and you don’t have to worry about plastic leaching into your food. They’re vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, nut free, healthy, and pretty! I think I’m convincing myself.
The original layered salad concept, I think, was to layer a green salad in the jar with the dressing on the bottom so it won’t wilt the lettuce, etc. It supposedly lasts for days in the fridge that way. When you’re ready to eat, flip the jar upside down to let the dressing coat the salad.
My lemon vinaigrette has lots of bright citrus flavor to stand up to the beans. If you make it in a small food processor the oil and lemon will become emulsified and the dressing won’t separate over time. All olive oils will solidify in the refrigerator, so let the salad sit out a bit before you serve it. You could also use a different kind of oil, like walnut, or flax seed if you want something that will stay liquid when chilled.
A couple of things to remember….you are going to need wide mouth jars for making layered salads-in-a-jar. Mason jars are cute, but not practical for this. I used wide mouth pint canning jars, that way they’re easy to layer and easy to get your fork into. Mine are Kerr, but Ball makes them, too. These jars are also perfect for jam making later this summer.
I put the onions in first, and then the dressing, so the onions can mellow out a bit, and the dressing stays separate from the rest of the salad. That isn’t so important with a bean salad, which is pretty sturdy, but if you were layering a classic lettuce salad, putting the dressing in first is crucial so it doesn’t touch the rest of the salad and make it limp and soggy.
I used a mix of canned, frozen, dried and fresh beans. I used frozen baby limas and edamames, dried red beans and chickpeas, canned black beans, black eyed peas, and fresh green beans. I also had dried French lentils waiting, but couldn’t fit them since I also wanted to include a couple of veggies in there, too, like yellow bell pepper and cucumber. I layered in fresh thyme leaves, but you can use any herb you want.
What do you think, are these worth bothering with? My final thought is that you might as well mix the salad together and then fill the jars. Not as cute, but more practical 🙂
Do you love bean salads as much as I do?
Layered 7-Bean Salad in a Jar
- assorted beans, either canned, dried, fresh or frozen (see above for the exact beans I used)
- colorful bell pepper, finely chopped
- red onion, minced
- English cucumber, the kind that comes wrapped in plastic finely diced. Don't peel!
- several sprigs of fresh thyme
- juice and zest of 1 lemon
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- Make the dressing: Put the lemon juice and zest in a small food processor. With the motor going, slowly drizzle in the olive oil (there is a small hole in the top to allow you to do this.) The dressing will emulsify. Stop the machine and taste periodically so you get it the way you like it. Add salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Do this with a whisk, if you like.
- Put a layer of red onion in the bottom of your clean jar.
- Add the dressing on top. Be careful not to splatter, I used a funnel.
- Begin layering your beans and veggies, pressing down slightly as you go. Keep the layers level, and try to use contrasting colors so it will look appealing. Add in the thyme leaves or sprigs as you go for flavor.
- Layer all the way to the top and then cap the salad and refrigerate until ready to eat.
- Flip the jar over before eating to let the dressing percolate down over the salad.
Make this mason jar salad your own ~
- Add chopped chicken or some leftover salmon for extra protein.
- Layer the beans with chopped greens or veggies too!
Thanks for pinning this Mason Jar 7 Bean Salad!
Questions and Reviews
Is the recipe for one jar or more.
Thanks Sue! making these now, they’re great for a quick summer lunch grab. Delivering a few to my elderly aunt who loved the idea when I was telling her about them – can’t wait to see how she likes them!
That’s so sweet Barb!
Could you give a list of all beans and veggies that can be used for this, not just what you used
Hi Nikki ~ the sky’s the limit on what you can include in a layered salad, but for this one I focused on beans only. Any fresh, frozen, dried, or canned bean that you love will work, just peruse your supermarket.
I love the Lemon Thyme Dressing. Thank you for sharing!
try adding jicama, it’s delicious in bean salads.
Love that idea!
I just bought Haulin’ Oats scrumptious breakfast oatmeal which are sold in mason jars. Now I have a reuse recipe that is beautiful to share at picnics with others! Thanks!
I love to buy food in pretty jars! There’s a certain type of expensive yogurt that comes in the cutest jars, and I’m collecting them…not sure what I’m going to do with them, but I can’t resist 🙂
I’m going to make this for my son. I do, however, think I will take the suggestion to mix the beans and dressing and then fill the jar. My son is away at college and needs things that are quick and practical. This will be a great surprise for him during the next visit to college. Thanks for the suggestion.
I agree about the beautiful “look” of these, but not the practical side. You end up making the salad in the jar and then dumping it out in a bowl to mix and eat it. Ha! Seems like a way to make more dishes to me. I love bean salad, but I’ve never used some of the beans you suggested. Gonna pin this one too.
i do this every day for my daughters lunch… although it DOES look better in a jar than a plastic container!
They’re making some really good plastic these days, though!