We have a special treat for you today.. Julia Mirabella fellow foodie and author of “Mason Jar Salads and More” is joining us with a fun Q&A session. She is not only sharing some healthy lifestyle tips, but a recipe from her book as well as giving one away! I shared my love for her cookbook on Instagram a few weeks ago and know you guys will love it as well!
What started your journey of writing “Mason Jar Salads and More”?
After finishing law school in 2012, I took a year-long position working for a judge and moved to Louisville, Kentucky. I no longer had a student schedule so I was struggling to cook regularly and wasn’t preparing my lunches. After a few months of eating terribly, I decided to refocus and figure out a way to eat healthier and plan my meals out. I learned about Mason jar salads and started making them myself. After sharing the Mason jar salad technique and some of my favorite recipes on my blog, I got great feedback from family, friends, and across the food blogging community. When Ulysses Press approached me with the opportunity to write a book on Mason jar salads, I couldn’t turn them down.
Have you always been health conscious?
Yes, though I’m definitely not super strict with what I eat! I grew up in an Italian family that emphasized simple, vegetable-heavy recipes and this gave me a great base for eating well. In recent years with the help of my neighborhood farmers market, I’ve started to eat seasonally and my broccoli and kale intake have gone way up.
What is your favorite Mason Jar Salad Combo?
I have two favorites that are in the book. The first is the Barley and Kale salad (p. 50), and the second is a greens-free salad, the Greek Salad with Chickpeas ( p. 53 / recipe and picture below).
What do you think is the best feature of Mason Jar Salads? easy? convenience? the delicious food?!
All three! Making these salads is easy and once you have the basic rules down you can make whatever you want. My favorite part about Mason jars salads is that you can prepare salads days in advance of eating them and they will still be crisp when you finally eat them – it’s like magic.
Do you have any tips for home cooks looking to improve their daily routines?
It can often feel like a lot of work to cook regularly but there are three things, beyond mason jar salads, that help keep me cooking throughout the week:
First, it helps to take ten minutes at the beginning of your week to think about what you want to cook in the coming few days. If you have a handful of meal ideas in your head before you go to the grocery store you can be more efficient shopping. Plus, later in the week when you’re tired and don’t want to think, you’ll have all the ingredients for a meal in the fridge, no thinking necessary.
My second tip is something that may be something peculiar to me, but I’ll tell you anyway. After shopping I like to make a list of the different ingredients in the fridge and then stick it on the fridge. The list helps me remember items that may be hiding at the back of the fridge or in the crisper, and a neat list can be less overwhelming to consider than looking at a packed fridge when you’re hungry and trying to figure out what to eat.
Finally, keep it simple! There are so many amazing recipes that take only a few basic ingredients – don’t over think things! If you aren’t going to have a lot of time during the week, leave intricate meals for the weekend.
Thanks so much Julia! You have us motivated to cook a little fresher and healthier! This salad looks amazing just like the rest of your cookbook. And now our readers get a chance to win one! This giveaway is open to US and Canada Citizens. If you don’t win go grab your own!
Spicing up a Greek salad with chickpeas is always a good idea. This tasty, greens-free salad is perfect when you’re tired of eating leafy greens but still want to keep lunch healthy. You can’t go wrong with feta cheese and olives, and the chickpeas help curb your appetite while providing your body with zinc and protein. This salad is filling and satisfying without being a huge portion. I think you’ll love it!
- 2 tablespoons Lemon Vinaigrette
- 1?2 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained?
- 1?3 cup halved cherry tomatoes?
- 1?3 cup quartered cucumber slices
- 2 tablespoons diced red onion?
- 2 tablespoons pitted black olives, halved
- 2 ounces crumbled feta cheese?
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley?
- 1 pint-size Mason jar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice?
- pinch of salt?
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Place the vinaigrette in the Mason jar and add the chickpeas. Next add layers of cherry tomatoes, cucumber, onion, olives, feta cheese, and parsley. Seal and refrigerate until you’re ready to eat the salad.
- Whisk together the lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Slowly add the olive oil, whisking, until the dressing thickens.
From the cookbook, "Mason Jar Salads and More," by Julia Mirabella. Posted with permission.