The weather is getting warmer here in California, and it makes me so happy! One of the biggest reasons I love summer is all the great produce that we get at our Farmer’s Market–especially the berries. I also happen to love the Strawberry Poppyseed salad at Panera Bread, which is only available in summer as well. Just thinking about that delicious combination of strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, and mandarin oranges with poppyseed dressing made me decide right then and there that I’d make a copycat version for my mason jar salads this week–and so I present to you, the Strawberry Poppyseed Mason Jar Salad!
To make this salad a little more filling for lunch, I also added some cooked white quinoa. I love the way quinoa soaks up the flavor of anything around it, so I layered it right in between the dressing and the sweet, sweet berries. Oh my goodness–it was so good!
The dressing for this is also absolutely out of this world! I found several versions of strawberry poppyseed salad dressing, and I combined a few recipes to make it taste great and be healthy for you as well. Instead of lots and lots of dairy, I added just a splash of milk and a tablespoon of mayo–just enough to give it a little creaminess. I also love the contrasting bite of the onion and garlic against the sweetness of the berries.
Last but not least, I used canned pineapple and mandarin oranges for this salad, but feel free to sub out frozen or fresh. Picking ripe pineapple isn’t my strong point, so I decided to go with the canned to ensure sweetness. I also was being incredibly lazy, and even though we had a full bag of mandarins in our house, I used the canned kind. Just make sure if you do go with canned that you use the “packed in water” and “no sugar added” kind of fruit, so you aren’t added layers of extra sugar into your healthy salads.
Just a few quick mason jar salad reminders:
- layer your ingredients from wet to dry: dressing always should be as far away from the greens as possible to ensure crispness and freshness
- after your dressing, add anything that would benefit from soaking up the flavor of the dressing–think fruit, quinoa, chicken, or beans (usually any kind of protein you’re putting in your salad)
- the middle layers should consist of any “tougher” veggies–think broccoli, onions, etc–or cheeses or nuts. I like to think of these as insulation between the wet ingredients and the greens
- pack the greens in last–and REALLY pack them tight! The tighter the fit, the less chance you have of those ingredients shifting and ruining your precious lettuce
- Feel free to sub in any kind of greens instead of the romaine–spinach would be especially good with this, but you could also use arugula, kale, or mixed greens
Strawberry Poppyseed Mason Jar Salads
You will need 5 wide-mouthed mason jars with lids.
Makes 5 salads total (will keep for up to 10 days in the fridge).
For the salad dressing:
- 1/2 C white vinegar (apple cider will work too)
- 1 T sugar (or you can substitute honey or agave or stevia, etc)
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 T dried minced onion
- salt + pepper to taste
- 1 C frozen strawberries
- 1/3 C extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tsp. poppy seed
- 1 tablespoon light mayo
- 1/4 c skim milk
For the salad:
- 5 cups romaine lettuce, shredded
- 2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
- 1 C blueberries
- 1 C strawberries, sliced
- 1 can pineapple chunks, canned – drained
- 1 can mandarin oranges (in water)- drained
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed (optional)
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
1. Combine the first six dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor. Process on medium speed until combined and smooth. With the blender running on low speed, add the olive oil and blend until emulsified. Pour into a jar or other container. Stir in poppyseeds, milk, and mayonnaise. Cover with lid and shake jar until combined. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, and mandarins.
If using, sprinkle the fruit with flaxseed and chia, then lightly toss with a spoon to coat.
3. Divide each set of ingredients evenly between your five jars, layering in the following order:
- salad dressing (2-3 tablespoons)
- quinoa (I used three heaping spoonfuls per jar)
- fruit salad
- romaine lettuce
Cover tightly with lids and store in refrigerator for up to 10 days.
When ready to serve, shake the jar to distribute the dressing, then pour salad onto a plate. Enjoy!