This fall harvest salad with apple cider vinaigrette is perfect for meal prep using mason jars! Packed with butternut squash, winter greens, and quinoa, it’s a satisfying vegetarian salad that’s perfect for a quick lunch.
This post is sponsored by the makers of Ball® home canning products and may contain affiliate links for which I may earn a commission.*
This easy fall salad is perfect for a grab-and-go meal when you’re working from home or for lunch at the office or school. It includes some of the best cool weather ingredients and a sweet and tangy salad dressing to pull it all together.
So let’s get started!
You will need
Extra virgin olive oil
Baby kale or other greens
Apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper
1 –Ball® Half Pint Jar
4 –Ball® Wide-Mouth Quart Jars
Scroll down to see a list of substitutions if you’re missing anything from this list.
Making your salad in a jar
This salad has a few parts. You’ll need to cook your quinoa in advance or buy precooked. Be sure to let it cool at least to room temperature so that it doesn’t wilt the greens and add additional moisture to the salad.
You’ll also roast the butternut squash before assembling the salad jars. And for the same reason, be sure to let it cool to room temperature before adding it to the jars.
These components can easily be prepared a day ahead.
Don’t forget to season at every step. Adding salt and pepper to the squash and salad dressing makes a huge difference in the flavor.
This salad is versatile. Use these tips to build your fall harvest salad with what you have on hand.
Quinoa. I like using quinoa in mason jar salads. It’s perfect for soaking up the dressing and adding a bit of filling fiber and protein to the mix. But you can easily swap in any hearty grain such as brown rice, black rice, or farro.
Butternut squash. If you don’t have butternut squash, use any dense winter squash. Acorn squash or delicata squash will work perfectly in the same quantity. Just be sure to cube the squash to about 1 inch each or adjust the cooking time up or down accordingly.
Salad greens. I am using baby kale for this one because I like the contrast. Spinach, arugula, or any mixed greens will work. You can also use regular kale. But if you do this, be sure to cut the kale into bite-sized pieces and massage it a bit to make it easier to chew.
Dried cranberries. Use any dried fruit you have on hand. Dried cherries or figs would be delicious here.
Pecans. I like using nuts in fall salads. It’s a great way to add seasonal flavor but also crunch and good fats.
To make this a vegan salad, simply leave the feta out or use vegan feta or another crumbly vegan cheese that you enjoy.
Best jars for meal prepping salad
Ball® Wide mouth quart jars are the perfect size for a full salad. The greens take up lots of space. With the quart jar, it’s easy to stuff in 1-2 cups of greens based on your preference!
The key to an easy mason jar salad is the wide-mouth and if possible, a straight-sided jar. The wide mouth makes it effortless to add ingredients to the jar and the salad will slide right out onto your plate or bowl when it’s time to eat.
If you don’t have either, it’s ok. Use regular mouth jars and plan to use a spoon or fork to pull the salad from the jars.
If you want to make a side salad, go for pint-size jars and divide the ingredients accordingly.
- Once assembled, you can keep these salads in the refrigerator for about 3 days to grab and go when you’re ready. The salad can easily stand on its own but also works well with a few additions.
- Add your favorite protein to the salad. Cooked chickpeas or white beans, roasted chicken, or baked tofu or tempeh would make a perfect topper. Add the protein as a layer after the quinoa or add it just before you eat.
- Add a side of yogurt or a protein-packed smoothie for a complete lunch.
- Enjoy with your favorite soup on the side.
How will you use this recipe? Please let me know in the comments or on Instagram. I’m always looking for new ideas!
Fall Mason Jar Salad with Maple Vinaigrette
- 2 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 pound peeled and cubed butternut squash, 1-inch cubes
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Coarse salt and pepper to taste
- 4 cups baby kale or other tender salad greens
- ½ cup toasted pecan halves, chopped
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
Apple Cider Vinaigrette
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ½ tbsp Dijon mustard
- 3 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
- 1-2 tbsp maple syrup or as needed for sweetness
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- ⅛ tsp salt
- pinch black pepper or to taste
- If starting with raw quinoa, cook the quinoa according to package instructions and let cool to at least room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Spread the squash onto a large sheet pan in a single layer. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast 20 minutes, turning once until the squash is caramelized. Let cool on the pan.
- Add the vinaigrette ingredients to a Ball® half-pint jar. Shake until well combined.
- Add ¼ of the vinaigrette to each of the quart jars. Layer the quinoa, squash, greens, nuts, cranberries, and feta (if using) into the jars in the order listed. Store upright in the refrigerator (up to 3 days) until ready to serve.
*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post that is part of an ongoing partnership with the Fresh Preserving Division of Newell Brands. They have provided jars, equipment and monetary compensation. All thoughts and opinions expressed remain my own.