Mason jar lunches are having a major moment. Once reserved for hipster cafes and country wedding décor, mason jars are a practical and affordable option for packaging everything from salads, to DIY noodle soups, to overnight oatmeal parfaits. Besides making food look like works of art, they are more sustainable than plastic wrap and paper bags, and naturally free of the questionable chemicals found in plastic Tupperware.
These five recipes are a lunch-time trifecta: they’re easy to assemble, nutrient-dense and packed with plant-based protein, and will leave you energized and ready to take on the afternoon ahead.
All of these recipes serve one as written, but can easily be doubled, tripled, or quadrupled. Enjoy!
Satay soba noodle salad
This creamy, slightly spicy noodle salad is a delicious change from lettuce-based options. A single ½ cup serving of edamame contains 6g fiber and 10g protein, keeping you satiated well into the afternoon.
- 1 tbsp. peanut butter
- 1 tsp. garlic chili sauce (like Sambal Oelek)
- 2 tsp. rice vinegar
- 1 tsp. soy sauce
- 1 tsp. hot water
- 1 cup soba noodles, cooked
- ¼ cup thinly sliced red bell peppers
- ½ cup shelled edamame
- 1 carrot, shredded
- ¼ cup spinach leaves, shredded
- 1 scallion, sliced
Whisk together the peanut butter, chili sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, and hot water in the bottom on a quart mason jar, until smooth. Layer the noodles, peppers, edamame, carrots, and spinach leaves. Top with scallions and cover. Place in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Greek chopped salad
To make this Greek-inspired salad even easier, stock up on the olives, artichokes, feta, and roasted peppers at the olive bar in the deli. If you’re only planning on making 1-2 jar lunches at a time, this is a great way to get exactly what you need, at a fraction of the cost.
- 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- ½ tsp. dried oregano
- ¼ cup sliced Kalamata olives
- 3-4 canned artichokes, sliced
- 1 roasted red bell pepper, sliced
- ½ cup chickpeas
- 3 tbsp. chopped red onion
- 3 tbsp. crumbled feta
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1-2 cups lettuce greens
Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, and a pinch of salt and pepper in the bottom of a quart mason jar. Layer in the olives, artichokes, roasted red bell pepper, chickpeas, onion, feta, tomato, and then lettuce greens to the top. Cover and place in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Vegan sushi roll in a Jar
Sushi for lunch just got easier. This deconstructed bowl features all of the healthy favorites: seasoned brown rice, toasted nori, edamame, tofu, and creamy avocado. To save on prep time, purchase pre-baked tofu in the refrigerated produce or deli section of your supermarket.
- ¼ cup brown rice
- 1 tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 tsp. soy sauce
- 1 sheet toasted nori, cut into strips
- ½ large avocado, diced
- 1 tsp. lime juice
- 1 large carrot, shredded
- ¼ cup shelled edamame
- 2oz. baked teriyaki tofu, cubed
- ¼ cup peeled and seeded cucumber, sliced thin
- wasabi, pickled ginger and/or sesame seeds, for topping
Place the brown rice and ½ cup water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and let cook until rice is tender and water is evaporated. While still warm, stir in rice vinegar and soy sauce. Let cool to room temperature.
Place half of the nori strips on the bottom of a quart mason jar. Layer with half of the brown rice and press down. Toss diced avocado with lime juice, to prevent browning. Add in half of the shredded carrots, edamame, teriyaki tofu, and cucumber, and press down until packed. Add in the avocado, then repeat with rice, carrots, edamame, tofu, and cucumber. Layer with the rest of the nori sheets, wasabi, ginger, and sesame seeds, if using. Cover and place in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
Vegan burrito bowl mason jars
Enjoy all the flavors of a veggie-packed burrito, without the heavily caloric tortilla wrap. Protein-rich quinoa and seasoned black beans played a starring role in this easy-to-assemble lunch. A serving of avocado offers a variety of vitamins and minerals as well as fiber.
- 1 tsp. garlic clove
- ¼ large avocado, pitted
- 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice, plus more to taste
- 1 tbsp. water
- 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 1/8 tsp. fine sea salt, or to taste
- 2 tbsp. diced white onion
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- ½ tsp. chili powder
- ½ tsp. dried oregano
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1/8 chopped fresh tomato
- 1/3 cup cooked black beans
- 1/2 cup cubed sweet potato
- 1 tbsp. salsa
- ¼ cup cooked quinoa
- 1 tbsp. pepitas
- ½ cup chopped romaine lettuce
Place the garlic clove, avocado, lime juice, water, salt and 1 tbsp. of the olive oil in a small blender and puree until creamy and smooth. Place in the bottom of a quart mason jar.
Heat a small, non-stick skillet over medium heat and add the onion, garlic, chili powder, oregano, cayenne, tomatoes and black beans until onion is tender, about 5-8 minutes. Set aside to cool and wipe out the pan.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the potato cubes, then cook until seared on every side, about 4-5 minutes. When the potatoes are browned, reduce the heat to medium-low then cover with a lid and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Layer the filling ingredients into the mason jar in this order on top of the avocado dressing: black bean mixture, sweet potatoes, 1 tbsp. salsa, ¼ cup quinoa, 1 tbsp. pepitas, and ½ cup chopped romaine lettuce. Tighten the lid and place in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
Vegan miso cup o’noodles
If you love instant ramen, then you’ve got to try these simple noodles in a jar. This is completely customizable to whatever frozen vegetables or noodles you’d like. Since the hot water won’t be enough to cook the items completely, make sure you boil and drain the noodles ahead of time. To prevent them from becoming mushy, rinse with cold water before placing in the jar.
- 2 tsp. white miso paste
- 1 tsp. soy sauce
- ½ cup mixed frozen vegetables (peas, carrots, corn, green beans)
- 1/3 cup baked teriyaki tofu, chopped
- 1 cup cooked ramen noodles
- ½ cup sliced spinach leaves
- 2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
Whisk together the miso paste and soy sauce and place in the bottom of a quart mason jar. Layer in the frozen vegetables, tofu, ramen, spinach, and cilantro. You don’t want the ingredients to be fully packed, as you want space for water to be added.
Before serving, add in hot water and stir to dissolve the paste at the bottom. Let sit for 3 minutes before eating.