By Molly Gallagher for Well+Good
It’s picnic and don’t touch-your-oven-until-September season.
And since putting meals in mason jars is officially a thing—whether it’s a pretty layered parfait or a prepare-the-night-before salad—we’ve found five hot and healthy (but actually cold) summer recipes that you can throw in a jar…and then throw in your beach bag.
Plus, the containers are way cooler (and prettier) than paper plates or Tupperware. Here are five meals from brilliant bloggers and recipe writers that prove it:
Fruit and Yogurt Breakfast Parfait
This protein-packed jar is filled with frozen berries (there’s a trick coming!), Greek yogurt, oats, chia seeds, and a little milk. Iowa Girl Eats blogger Kristin Porter, prepares it the night before for an easy on-the-go breakfast (and more time to stare at the pretty container?)
“These parfaits are thick and hearty, so the layers stay well defined. As the frozen berries soften slightly in the fridge, it creates a yummy, naturally-sweet syrup that swirls through the parfait,” says Porter.
Related: 3 healthy homemade summer popsicles
(Photo: Food and Other Stuff)
Strawberry and Goat Cheese Salad
Jules Mirabella, the blogger behind Food and Other Stuff, literally has a book about mason jar salads, so you’re in good hands. This layered lunch or light dinner is packed with strawberries, spinach, walnuts, and goat cheese.
Worried about a soggy salad? “Layering the greens and strawberries helps keep them fresh, and using parchment paper to hold the dressing means that the salad won’t get soggy,” says Mirabella.
(Photo: Clean Wellness)
Buddha’s Pasta Salad
“Packing the works in a single-serving jar makes for a perfect picnic-friendly or take-to-work salad,” says Allison Day of the site Clean Wellness, a plant-based food blog.
This vegan version of a summer BBQ staple—pasta salad, usually loaded with mayo and cheese—is made with gluten-free brown rice fusilli pasta, asparagus, mung beans, cucumber, mint, chives, and topped with a tahini dressing (yum!).
(Photo: Earth Sprout)
Rooibos-Infused Bircher Muesli
Chia seeds, hemp hearts, quinoa flakes, oats, and cherries make this one a superfood breakfast of champions—and it’s infused with tea. “Infusing your milk of choice with rooibos tea will add that extra juicy sweetness otherwise gained by using tons of sweetener,” says Elenore Bendel Zahn on her blog, Earth Sprout. Great tip, right? The red currants hanging over the side don’t hurt its swoon-worthy status, either.
Related: 7 sexy, chilled summer soups
(Photo: Emma Christensen for The Kitchn)
Salad in a Jar
We love how this salad mix starts with a grain on the bottom, so it’s a heartier take-to-work lunch—and it prevents the dressing from soaking through. Here’s the 411 from Emma Christensen of The Kitchn, who suggests you start with the dressing on the bottom of the jar, then the heaviest and most non-absorbent ingredients, and work your way up the jar…until you end up with the salad greens on top.