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I’ve been into Mason jar salads this year. Mainly because I made the investment into a dozen quart-sized jars. (Well, eleven. I broke one. They are glass, after all; that’s a real hazard. They are durable, but not indestructible.) But there are only so many weeks in a row that you can eat salads based on spinach or lettuce, at least for me. When I reach that limit, I turn to zoodles.
Zoodles are the perfect lettuce alternative. Like lettuce, they are pretty neutral in flavor and give your meal plenty of bulk without a lot of calories. When layered on the top of a jar salad, they stay fresh for a whole week. But they’ve got a few things on lettuce. 1) There’s no crunch factor to preserve; 2) zucchini doesn’t wilt or turn brown the way lettuce can; and 3) what is more satisfying: spearing lettuce with the tines of a fork, or twirling noodles around them?
There’s really only one way you can screw up jar salad zoodles, and that’s cutting them too thick. Because the zoodles are going to be raw, you want to make them as thin as you can. Otherwise, they won’t be flexible enough to twirl and will just be difficult to eat. For this application, I’ve made zoodles that were the right thickness using a julienne peeler, the thin side of my Vegetti spiralizer, and the fine spiralizer blade for my KitchenAid (note: it’s the one that comes separate from the spiralizer unit, in the “expansion pack,” if you will). Click here for more on how to make zoodles.
The only other thing to know about the jar salad is that the order in which you stack the ingredients is critical. Basically, you need to get the things most prone to wilting or losing their crisp (think herbs, cucumbers, greens if you decide to include them) as close to the top of the jar as possible, while anything wet or damp (dressings, tomatoes) needs to be at the bottom. As long as you keep the delicate ingredients dry, your jar salad can easily last 5 days in the fridge, if not longer. As an added precaution, I generally remove the seeds from cucumbers and tomatoes (except cherry/grape tomatoes–they stay pretty dry) to get rid of as much moisture as possible.
- 1/2 cup whole milk Greek yogurt
- 2-3 tsp curry powder, or to taste
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 lb sweet potato
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cucumber, seeds removed and diced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 2 medium zucchini or summer squash, cut into noodles with a julienne peeler or spiralized on the thinnest setting
- Wash the sweet potato, peel if desired and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Place in a covered microwave-safe glass casserole dish. Stem in the microwave until tender (I use the "potato" setting). Drain any water and spread the pieces out on a plate or sheet pan to cool to room temperature.
- Stir together the yogurt, 2 tsp curry powder and lemon juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more curry powder if necessary. Set aside while you prep the rest of the vegetables.
- In each of three quart-sized mason jars, layer: the dressing, chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, sweet potato and zoodles. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week, and shake before eating.