There is nothing I love more than to head out to a local park for a brisk hike followed by a picnic. It is the perfect way for us to spend time together for FREE. Not to mention, it keeps us all off any electronic devices and gets us out into nature, enjoy God’s beautiful creation.
Because this is a favorite activity of my family, we are always looking for new parks to try out and new recipes to change up our picnics. While there is nothing wrong with a good old PB&J, I like to keep our picnics as flavorful and full of variety as I keep our weekly dinners.
I have 3 requirements for my picnic meals:
- Easy: Who wants to spend half the morning preparing for a picnic? I just want to get out there and enjoy!
- Healthy: We often end our picnic with a special treat, so I prefer for us to be munching on healthy items leading up to dessert. Not just chips!
- Transports Easily: I want to get my food to the destination intact and still tasty–not squished or soggy!
One of the BEST creations for picnics is a Mason Jar Salad. Why ? Let me tell you!
- There are endless varieties to what kind of salad you can create.
- Mason jars are the perfect container for an individual meal.
- Mason jars can be washed, recycled, and reused. (Here’s an easy way to remove ugly labels.)
- And because the kids and husband really care—they provide a beautiful presentation. LOL!
Today I am sharing with you all a wonderful gluten-free Mason Jar Salad: Asian Rice Salad with Miso Vinaigrette.
This is a layered salad of whole grain rice, citrus fruit, crisp vegetables, and sharp onions. The Miso Vinaigrette is tangy, salty, and slightly sweet, bringing the dish together perfectly. And this version happens to be mayo and meat free–meaning that you don’t have to stress about keeping it at any particular temperature. Which here in the south, can be a problem in the summer months.
I start by making the rice. For the sake of color, I used a combination of brown rice and black forbidden rice. Plus, I happened to have forbidden rice leftover from a recipe that needed to be used up. Typically, I have cooked rice ready to go in the freezer, saving me time and preventing me from having the temptation to buy minute rice, therefore saving money.
After the rice is cooked, I toss it with a homemade vinaigrette made from Miso, fresh ginger (see my tip on freezer ginger in this post) sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and toasted sesame seeds. This is a vibrant dressing that marries fruit, rice, and fresh vegetables together perfectly.
I then form my layered salad.
To layer the salad, start with the rice that has been tossed with the vinaigrette at the bottom. This keeps the fresh vegetables separate from the dressing until ready to serve, meaning the veggies will remain crisp and the salads can be assembled days in advance.
Next layer in the pineapple and mandarin oranges. Then the shredded red cabbage, the stir fry vegetable blend, followed by sliced green onions. Pop the lids on the mason jars, place in the fridge, and they’re ready to go for your next picnic!
But don’t just stop at taking these salads to picnics. They make a great packed lunch for work, a great meal at the pool, or even for a car trip.
So get out those mason jars and put them to good use (well, other than just canning!) I guarantee this salad will be welcome addition to your next family outing.
Asian Mason Jar Salad with Rice and Miso Dressing
- 1 cup rice, cooked according to directions
- 1 15 oz can mandarin oranges in 100% fruit juice, drained
- 1 15 oz can pineapple chunks in 100% fruit juice, drained
- 1 stalk of green onions, sliced
- 4 cups red cabbage, shredded
- 4 cups fresh stir fry vegetable mix (or equivalent in chopped broccoli florets and carrots.
For the Vinaigrette:
- 2 tablespoons miso paste
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger root
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- 1½ teaspoons lime juice
- 6 mason 1 quart mason jars
- Cook rice according to manufacturer's instructions.
- Make the vinaigrette by tossing mixing together the miso, vinegar, ginger, honey, oil, sesame seeds and lime juice.
- Toss the rice with the vinaigrette and divide between the 6 mason jars.
- Evenly distribute the fruit between the jars, followed my the cabbage, chopped veggies (or stir fry blend), finished with the green onions. Place caps on the mason jars and refrigerate until ready to serve or pack up for an outing.
- rice: $0.50 cents
- pineapple: $0.99
- mandarin oranges: $0.99
- red cabbage: $1.50
- green onions: $0.30
- stir fry mix: $2.35
- miso paste: $0.75
- sesame oil: $0.77
- fresh ginger: $1.12
- rice wine vinegar: $0.30
- honey: $0.25
Your total cost for Asian Mason jar Rice Salad with Miso Dressing is $9.82. Per single serving you’re down to just $1.64!
What is your favorite thing to do with together as a family?
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