Layered Ground Chicken Taco Salad in a Jar

I’ve been seeing more and more jars in salads. I think they’re totally adorable, but also practical when you pack them right. I love how you can easily customize each individual servings and how easy it is to make a few different salads all at once to have on hand in the refrigerator.

I recently gave this method a try with a ground chicken taco salad. I learned a few things in the process to maximize the benefits of packing salads in this way.

Tips for Packing Salads in a Jar

Be smart about packing order. Keep the heavy non-absorbent ingredients and the dressing at the bottom. As you layer, build the salad with the more delicate ingredients at the top. This keeps the greens separate from the dressing so the salad doesn’t get soggy. Try this assembly order:

  • dressing
  • hard vegetables
  • pasta/grains/beans
  • meats/cheese/egg
  • soft vegetables or fruit
  • nuts/seeds
  • greens and fresh herbs

Use the right jar. Look for wide-mouthed jars for easy packing. Pint size works great for individual basic salads. Quart size jars work better for larger main dish salads.

Seal it tight. Tightly sealed jars can keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. If you have a vacuum sealer that with a jar attachment, vacuum seal after assembly to keep the salad even fresher.

Wait on the perishables. Anything perishable – meats, eggs, diced avocados, diced tomatoes should be added the day you plan to eat the salad.

This Ground Chicken Taco Salad in a Jar can be customized however you like. The recipe below contains ingredient suggestions, but feel free to mix things up if you like different add ins to your salad – or make up something else entirely! I always use Ranch Dressing (Marzetti® Simply Dressed® Ranch Salad Dressing is my favorite) and salsa in my taco salad because I love how they taste mixed together.

Do you ever pack your salads in jars? What are some of your favorite ingredients?

Layered Ground Chicken Taco Salad in a Jar

Yield: about 4 - 6 jars
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

This layered chicken taco salad in a jar is a great way to experiment with this trend. I love layered salads for their ease of use as well as customization.

Ingredients

For the Ground Chicken:

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
  • 1 large handful of cilantro, finely chopped
  • juice of 1 lime

For the Salad:

  • Chopped romaine lettuce or mixed greens
  • Mexican blend grated cheese
  • Olives
  • Corn
  • Black Beans
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Diced Avocado
  • Diced bell peppers
  • Salsa
  • Marzetti® Simply Dressed® Ranch Salad Dressing
  • Baked tortilla strips - cut the tortillas into thin strips instead of triangles and season as you like.

Instructions

For the Meat:

  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the ground chicken, cumin, chipotle powder, salt, and pepper. Cook the chicken, breaking it apart until it is in crumbles, until cooked through. Stir in the lime and cilantro.

Assembling the Jar:

  1. Add the ranch dressing and salsa to the bottom of the jar, about 1 - 2 tablespoons of each, according to your preference and the size of your salad. Then add the bell peppers followed by the black beans, corn, ground chicken (if you're eating the salad within a day), and olives.
  2. If you're eating the salad within a day, then add: cheese, diced avocado, diced tomato, and a layer of baked corn tortilla strips. If you're making the salad several days ahead of time, you can add these items later.
  3. Then add a layer of baked corn tortilla strips (if you're eating the salad within a day) and the lettuce.
  4. Secure the jar tightly and refrigerate up to 4-5 days. To serve, remove the lid and shake the salad into a bowl. Toss gently with a fork. Add any remaining ingredients that you saved for later.
  5. Notes: If you are making the salads ahead of time, add things like cheese, meats, eggs, or softer fruits and vegetables (avocado, tomatoes, fresh berries, etc) to the top of the jar the day you plan to eat the salad. Items that should stay crunchy, like baked tortilla strips, also do better added the day of.

For the Meat:

  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the ground chicken, cumin, chipotle powder, salt, and pepper. Cook the chicken, breaking it apart until it is in crumbles, until cooked through. Stir in the lime and cilantro.

Assembling the Jar:

  1. Add the ranch dressing and salsa to the bottom of the jar, about 1 - 2 tablespoons of each, according to your preference and the size of your salad.
  2. Then add the bell peppers followed by the black beans, corn, ground chicken (if you're eating the salad within a day), and olives. If you're eating the salad within a day, then add: cheese, diced avocado, diced tomato, and a layer of baked corn tortilla strips. If you're making the salad ahead of time, you can add these items just before eating.
  3. Then add a layer of baked corn tortilla strips (if you're eating the salad within a day) and the lettuce.
  4. Secure the jar tightly and refrigerate up to 4-5 days. To serve, remove the lid and shake the salad into a bowl. Toss gently with a fork. Add any remaining ingredients that you saved for later.

Notes

If you are making the salads ahead of time, add things like cheese, meats, eggs, or softer fruits and vegetables (avocado, tomatoes, fresh berries, etc) to the top of the jar the day you plan to eat the salad. Items that should stay crunchy, like baked tortilla strips, also do better added the day of.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per ServingCalories 379 Total Fat 19g Saturated Fat 5g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 13g Cholesterol 87mg Sodium 397mg Carbohydrates 30g Net Carbohydrates 0g Fiber 9g Sugar 4g Sugar Alcohols 0g Protein 26g
GoodLifeEats.com offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although GoodLifeEats.com makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.
I have been invited to participate in a Marzetti® ambassador program. This post is sponsored by Marzetti and products has been provided by them. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.