Rotini pasta, mozzarella pearls and crispy chickpeas are tied together with veggies and a balsamic vinaigrette in this meal prep-approved pasta salad in a jar.
- Made with balanced, whole food ingredients
- Easy to customize and can be doubled or cut in half
- Ready in under an hour with only 10 minutes active time
This recipe makes four servings that can be enjoyed for lunch the entire week. Like my chickpea salad sandwiches, this recipe is perfect for those who are new to meal prep.
As trendy as it might seem, meal prepping salads in mason jars is actually very convenient!
Salad in a Jar recipes are all about the layers. Since these jars make four servings of meal prep, that's four days that they'll be hanging out in the fridge.
We want to layer ingredients so that they avoid sogginess and stay crisp.
- Bottom layer: Balsamic vinaigrette
- Rotini pasta (it soaks up some of that good balsamic flavor!)
- Sliced cherry tomatoes
- Diced red onion
- Mozzarella pearls
- Romaine lettuce
- Top layer: Crispy chickpeas
The combination of balsamic vinegar and olive oil is simple but delightful. If possible, use higher quality balsamic and olive oil. Just spending a few extra dollars on these ingredients can really improve flavor.
We will also add pepper, Italian seasoning and whole grain mustard.
Pro tip: Add whole grain mustard (that's the kind that has seeds in it) to your balsamic vinaigrette to create an emulsion. The seeds in the mustard help hold the balsamic and oil together and adds a little extra flavor.
The mustard flavor is not very strong, so if you're not a fan of mustard you may actually like this vinaigrette.
- Greens: Use kale, spinach or spring mix in place of romaine
- Pasta: Instead of regular rotini, use whole wheat or protein pasta for additional nutrients like protein and fiber
- Onion: If you're not a fan of raw onion, diced red bell pepper will give a similar crunch. Scallions are also a good swap.
- Mozzarella: Mozzarella pearls not available? Try shredded mozzarella or dice up a mozzarella ball instead
- Make it vegan by omitting mozzarella entirely or replace with your favorite vegan mozzarella or add homemade cashew parmesan
- I put my salads in these wide mouth 32 ounce Ball jars (also known as mason jars). They're available at most grocery stores, on Amazon, and usually there's several at the thrift store (that's where most of mine are from).
- Crispy chickpeas will get less crisp the longer they sit in the fridge. For best results, keep crispy chickpeas at room temp and add to the salad just before eating.
- Eat the salad straight out of the jar (that's my preferred way) or pour it out into a bowl.
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