Baby food isn’t the only meal that comes in a jar these days. If Pinterest is any indication, a trend is turning mason jars into the hottest breakfast, lunch, and dinner dish for any age. There’s a good reason for the hype, too: Preparing strategically layered, vibrant ingredients in a portable dish in advance means you (and your family) can dig in anywhere, anytime. You can eat right out of the super-cute, reusable glass Ball jar, then rinse it out and make another meal-to-go for the next day.
These containers also promote portion control. When your pumpkin pie comes in a pretty jar instead of a pan, you can’t slice off seconds. To top it off, putting a lid on it helps your food retain its shape and crispness for longer. For instance, when you create salads in glass jars, placing the heavy and wet items on the bottom and your dry, leafy greens on top will keep your kale, spinach, arugula, what-have-you from getting soggy.
Try these four fabulous combinations for every meal tonight, and then get creative with your own twists. Share photos of your beautiful jar concoctions on Twitter or Instagram with us @LiveSonima and use the hashtag #SonimaEats for the chance of a regram!
Yogurt Parfait with Tropical Fruit and Toasted Coconut
I love serving parfaits for brunch. They dress up the table and are a fun way to serve fruit. Putting them in jars with lids lets you make four breakfasts that are ready to go when you and/or your kids are. Just grab a spoon and head out the door!
1 cup cubed fresh mango (about 1 mango)
1 cup finely diced fresh pineapple
1 cup diced kiwi (2 ½ fruits)
2 cups vanilla yogurt
¼ cup toasted coconut (such as Dang)
4 12-ounce jars
1. Spoon 1/2 cup yogurt into each jar. Top with ¼ cup mango, ¼ cup pineapple and ¼ cup kiwi.
2. If serving immediately, sprinkle the toasted coconut on top. You can also refrigerate for up to a day and then top with the coconut before serving.
Makes 4 servings
Vegan Farro, Kale, and Sweet Potato Salad
This recipe takes chewy, hearty farro and upgrades it from side dish to main. The nutty grain soaks up the spotlight and the dressing, offering lots of flavor with each and every bite.
1 cup dried farro
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (2-3 small potatoes)
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ cup raw almonds, chopped
4 cups baby kale
4 18-ounce wide mouth jars with lids
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon apple cider
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped basil
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse the farro and sort through, removing any stones or debris. Place in a bowl, cover with water and soak for 25 minutes.
2. Place sweet potatoes in a baking dish and drizzle with the oil. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of the salt and the pepper, toss, and place in the oven for 25 minutes until tender. Remove from oven and let cool.
3. Place the farro in a medium pot with 2 ½ cups water and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook for 25-30 minutes until tender but still chewy. Drain any remaining water. Fluff and let cool.
4. Make the dressing. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Pour the dressing over the cooked farro and stir to coat evenly. Add the chopped almonds and stir again.
5. Place ½ cup of the farro into each jar. Top with ½ cup of the sweet potatoes followed by 1 cup of kale. Enjoy immediately or place lids on the jars and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 day. Transfer to a bowl before eating.
Makes 4 servings
Related: Farro Risotto with Peas and Asparagus
Bison Chili & Mac Jars
When you picture hearty winter dishes, mac-n-cheese and chili probably both come to mind. Why not combine the two and make the ultimate winter comfort food? This doubly delicious recipe is perfect for football parties, too. Set out individual jars or a large bowl of this mixture and let your guests build their own savory creations.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion (1 small onion)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
½ teaspoon crushed chipotle chili pepper (optional)
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground bison
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 (6-ounce) boxes of macaroni and cheese, such as Annie’s Shells and Real Aged Cheddar
11/2 cups frozen organic corn
8 12-ounce jars, wide mouth
Sour cream or plain 4% Greek yogurt
1. Heat the oil over medium-high in a large stockpot. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the cumin, chili powder, crushed chili pepper, cocoa, salt, and pepper and stir. Add the bison and cook for 5 minutes, breaking up with a spatula. Add in the beans, broth, tomatoes and bell pepper. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
2. While the chili cooks, follow the box instructions to make the macaroni and cheese; set aside.
3. Add the corn to the chili and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
4. Into each of the jars, add ½ cup of the warm macaroni and cheese. Top it with 1 cup of the chili and additional toppings as desired. Serve while hot.
Makes 8 servings
Vegan No-Bake Pumpkin Pie in a Jar
I’m always looking for treats that taste indulgent, but don’t throw me off my clean eating path. This one definitely fits the bill and is so easy! The avocado provides creaminess and heart-healthy fat, plus filling fiber. The pumpkin puree is loaded with vitamin A, which is vital for our immune system during these fall and winter months. For folks who can’t do dairy, the coconut cream is such a great discovery Use it on its own to top any holiday pie.
1 ripe, but firm avocado, pitted and peeled
1 cup pumpkin puree, chilled
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/3 cup sugar
1 13.5-ounce can coconut milk, chilled
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon coconut butter, such as Nutiva coconut manna
12 ginger snaps, crushed into small pieces
4 8-10 ounce jars
Tip: You can use a mortar and pestle to crush the cookies, or simply place them in a zip top bag and crush with a rolling pin. You don’t want crumbs. You still want to see pieces of cookie.
1. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat the avocado until creamy. Add in the pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, spice and sugar and beat until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap (let it touch the top of the pumpkin mixture so a film doesn’t form). Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
2. Open the can of coconut milk and drain off as much of the water as possible. Place into the bowl of the stand mixer and beat on high for about 5 minutes, until thick. Add in the powdered sugar, vanilla and coconut butter and blend again for 1 minute. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
3. When ready to assemble, place ¼ cup of the crushed ginger snaps into each of the jars. Top with ¼ cup of the pumpkin mixture, followed by ¼ cup of the coconut cream. Cover the jars with lids and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to one day. The longer you leave them in the refrigerator, the more the softer the cookie crumbs become.
Makes 4 servings
Photos by Grace Stufkosky