Have you ever been the victim of being labeled the healthy eater at your workplace? If not the healthy eater, than the fancy eater?
I thought being teased by peers was something that I’d leave in grade school, but some of my jobs as an adult proved me wrong. I worked in public health so a lot of people were healthy eaters, but I quickly became labeled as a fancy eater in the lunch room.
I was the one who would bring in leftovers of Asian noodle dishes, black bean burgers or grilled pastured, local chicken. It was usually balanced out with some greens, fruit, some healthy fat — all the major food groups. I’d get comments about how healthy I ate and that I must cook, etc.
You never really know what to say to these things. Sorry? I promise I’m not trying to get attention, I honest-to-goodness just eat like this.
I mean, why eat food that isn’t pretty? And few can argue that healthy food is really, really pretty.
Working from home now, the furthest I have to take my lunch is upstairs to my office. Pugs are also much less judgmental about what you eat, by the way. But if I was still packing a lunch, you better believe I’d be all over the mason jar salad. I’ve thought it was the coolest thing since I started seeing them pop up on blogs, so when I was offered a copy of Mason Jar Salads and More, 50 Layered Lunches to Grab & Go by Julia Mirabella, I couldn’t pass it up.
I should probably warn you that if you are teased now for your healthy, fancy food, it’s only going to get worse. These salads are gorgeous!
The book also goes beyond layered salads and dressings with some recipes for other things that can easily be packed in a mason jar to-go like smoothies, oatmeal, pasta salads and snack dips. These recipes are super simple, but full of flavor. The book also provides nifty tips on how to layer your salad as well as tricks for packing the dressing so that everything is fresh and delicious once you are ready to eat.
I was so happy with the timing of this book because I think it’s perfect for the fall back-to-school or work season. Everyone can use new lunch ideas.
Since fall has been on my mind for over a month now (yes, it starts early), I wanted to share a recipe from the book that matched the season. This Pomegranate and Pear Salad is spot on. Not only are the colors so pretty stacked in the jar, the ingredients give everything I require in a good salad – sweet and salty with a bit of crunch. If you are in a healthy lunch rut, this book will pull you right out of it.
Pomegranate and Pear Salad Recipe
© 2014 Julia Mirabella. Reprinted with permission from Ulysses Press.
From the book: This salad never fails to put me in the fall spirit. Pears and blue cheese pair beautifully, but it’s the tart pomegranate seeds that really make this salad special. You can buy pomegranates whole and break them down yourself or purchase just the seeds at most grocery stores.
Makes 1 serving
1 pear, cored and thinly sliced
3 cups spinach leaves, divided
1⁄2 cup pomegranate seeds
1⁄4 cup roughly chopped pecans
2 ounces crumbled blue cheese
3 tablespoons Sherry Vinaigrette
1 quart-size Mason jar
Place the pear slices in the bottom of the Mason jar. Layer 2 cups of the spinach on top of the pear, then add the pomegranate seeds, another 1⁄2 cup spinach, and the chopped pecans. Finish with the remaining 1⁄2 cup spinach and the blue cheese.
Make a small cup out of parchment paper at the top of the jar and pour in the vinaigrette dressing. Seal the jar and refrigerate until ready to use.
2 1⁄2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
Whisk together the vinegar, salt, and pepper. Slowly add the olive oil, whisking, until the dressing thickens.
Disclosure: This book was provided as a review copy. I was not required to write about it and received no compensation for doing so. I love cookbooks and I want to support cookbook authors by sharing these books with you.
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