So Long, Seamless: Here's Your New Go-To Work Lunch

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V EMBEDPhoto: Courtesy of Kitchen Konfidence.
Two and half years ago, when I was only a few months into dating my boyfriend Jorge, I asked him to bring me back glass jars from his San Francisco trip. I'm quite fond of Weck jars from Heath Ceramics, which, at the time, were a bit of a rarity.

Jorge obliged my request and returned with two bagfuls of jars. With such a wide variety of glass beauties at my fingertips, I started looking for new ways to use my cherished jars. Now, I’m jumping on the salad-in-a-jar bandwagon.

Here’s the basic idea: salad ingredients are layered inside a large canning jar in such a way that the greens stay crisp and fresh. Liquids at the bottom. Greens at the top. With this framework in place, you can make a number of jarred salads on the weekend to enjoy throughout the week. Familiarize yourself with my layering technique and then get the recipe for the salad in a jar containing white beans, fennel, and chorizo.

Here’s the breakdown:

Layer 1: Salad Dressing. Any liquid ingredients must stay at the bottom of the jar to keep the greens fresh. Be sure to keep your salad in a jar upright while transporting to avoid a premature toss.

Layer 2: Hard Vegetables. Onion, fennel, bell pepper, carrot, and celery can all sit in the salad dressing for several days — and still retain a pleasant texture.

Layer 3: Beans and Grains. Cooked beans add energy-boosting protein and nutrients while grains like rice, barley, and farro provide substance.

Layer 4: Proteins. Cured meats like salami and chorizo can sit in the jar for several days. Proteins like diced chicken, canned tuna, and hard-boiled eggs should be added the day you plan on eating the salad.

Layer 5: Nuts and Seeds. Chopped almonds, walnuts, and pistachios add nice crunch. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds are easy lower-calorie additions.

Layer 6: Greens and Herbs. Soft greens and herbs should be layered away from liquids to maintain a desirable texture.

Other add-ins: Softer fruit and vegetables, like avocado, tomatoes, and strawberries, grated cheeses, and croutons are best out of the jar, and can be added right before eating the salad.

fennelPhoto: Courtesy of Kitchen Konfidence.
Infused with the flavors of Spain, the salad below is an incredibly satisfying example of the aforementioned layering strategy. But, don’t feel constrained by the ingredients below. Get creative! Jar salad variations are practically endless.

White Bean, Fennel, And Chorizo Salad In A Jar
Serves 1

Ingredients:

For the sherry vinaigrette:
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 scant tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 dab of honey (about an 1/8 of a tsp)
1/2 garlic clove, minced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:
Sliced fennel
Sliced red onions
Cooked white beans (rinsed if from a can)
Sliced Spanish chorizo, casing removed
Chopped Marcona almonds
Baby arugula (or other salad green)
Fresh parsley leaves

Instructions:
1. Add extra virgin olive oil, sherry vinegar, dijon mustard, honey, and minced garlic to a small canning jar. Season with 2 pinches of salt and several turns of black pepper. Cap the jar, and shake until ingredients are well-combined. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. The vinaigrette should be a bit over-salted since it will be providing the salt for the other salad ingredients as well.

2. Put 2 – 4 tablespoons of sherry vinaigrette in the bottom of a large canning jar (26 – 32 oz.). Add ingredients to taste in the following order: sliced fennel, sliced red onions, cooked white beans, sliced Spanish chorizo, baby arugula, and fresh parsley leaves. You’ll want about 1/3 of the jar filled with toppings (like the fennel and chorizo), and 2/3 of the jar filled with greens (arugula and parsley). Cap the jar, and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

3. When you are ready to eat the salad, shake up the contents in the jar, then transfer to a large plate.

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It takes just a quick scan on Pinterest to fall into the rabbit hole of food blogs. But, Brandon Matzek's Kitchen Konfidence is one we'll gladly get lost in. Ahead, the San Diego-based chef and photographer shares everything from his killer bacon jam hand pies (!) to a braised beef taco recipe that's to-die.