These Thai Quinoa Salad Jars with Peanut Miso Dressing are the work lunch you’ve been waiting for. Ditch the boring sandwich and try these crunchy, flavor-packed salads.
School’s back in session. Summer vacations have come and gone. The adults are getting back into a normal work routine but still wondering what the heck to pack for lunch. Or maybe you’re reading this right now and are thinking about how you eat out way more than you wish you did? Most of my nutrition coaching clients feel this way!
Besides being a burden on your wallet, eating out makes it tough to eat well. It’s not that restaurants don’t have good options, they just have a lot of the more “splurge-worthy” stuff too and it can be hard to say no to that when you’re ravenous after a long morning of work. Pro tip: your environment is everything when you’re trying to change habits.
My professional opinion is to make it yourself. At least most of the time! Get in the habit of packing a lunch and it won’t be long before eating out is a treat instead of the norm. One of the best ways to start a new week is to have a fridge full of colorful food prepped and ready to go. Make this salad one of those items.
Tips for a Healthy Packed Lunch
Clearly there’s room for fun and splurges in every healthful diet. In general though, I find that most people are looking for some structure when planning meals (aka what the heck do I eat?).
Here are three simple tips for packing a balanced lunch:
- Try to include at least 3 different food groups
- Incorporate at least one fruit or vegetable
- Shoot for 15+ grams of protein
Luckily this Thai Quinoa Salad checks all of those boxes. Not to mention it has a great crunchy texture and the dressing is insane. I just know you’ll love it.
Thai Quinoa Salad Ingredients
As most salads are, this one is customizable. There are a lot of ingredients in here so do not feel obligated to include something you feel lukewarm about. I was obsessed with squeezing in as many colors as possible in here and it turned out really beautiful.
- Kale (I used purple)
- Cilantro + Green Onions
- Purple Cabbage
- Red Bell Pepper
- Quinoa (or Grain Blend)
- Shelled Edamame
How-to Build a Mason Jar Salad
This mis en place isn’t just for the photos today! I recommend chopping everything while your quinoa is cooking, then creating an assembly line so you can divi up the ingredients evenly between jars. It goes fast and this way you don’t have to worry about forgetting anything. These are the jars I use here and love (affiliate) which also double as iced coffee glasses and sauce/dressing storage containers!
Per usual with the salad-in-a-jar routine: dressing goes on the bottom followed by any hard ingredients. Greens and more delicate items (like the quinoa, herbs and green onions) goes at the top so it doesn’t get soggy before serving. Jars make awesome food storage containers!
You can make more than four if you want, but for food safety purposes I wouldn’t recommend storing these for longer than 3-4 days before eating.
So what are you waiting for? Try these and then report back on how much better your Monday was because of it!
p.s. if you like this, you might also like my Fall Mason Jar Salads!Print
Thai Quinoa Salads with Peanut Miso Dressing
These Thai Quinoa Salad Jars with Peanut Miso Dressing are the work lunch you’ve been waiting for! Ditch the boring sandwich and try these crunchy, flavor-packed salads.
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 4 salads 1x
- Category: Mains
- Cuisine: Thai
- 3 kale leaves
- 1/2 cup quinoa (cooked)
- 1 cup shelled edamame
- 1/4 cup peanuts (unsalted)
- 1 small carrot, shredded
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced purple cabbage
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 Tbsp green onions, sliced thin
- 2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 3 Tbsp miso
- 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1/4 cup hot water (note: you might not need all of it)
- Cook quinoa per package directions.
- Meanwhile, prep your vegetables and set them up in an assembly line (in order listed).
- To make dressing, add all ingredients except water to a large mason jar and whisk or stir with a fork until well combined. Slowly stream in hot water while mixing until it reaches the consistency to your liking.
- Line up four 16-oz, wide-mouth mason jars and add ~1/4 cup of dressing to each. Then, layer the rest of the ingredients, evenly distributing between jars. Don’t be afraid to really pack it in!
- Screw lids on tightly and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Need some jars? These are the ones pictured that I use and love (affiliate link). They are so versatile and I use them on a daily basis. You can also use larger ones, but I find this size to be perfect for this particular recipe.
- If you don’t have miso you can leave it out, although I would recommend giving it a try! It adds a really unique salty/umami flavor.
- Serving Size: 1 jar
- Calories: 336 calories
- Fat: 18 grams
- Carbohydrates: 32 grams
- Fiber: 7 grams
- Protein: 15 grams
Keywords: thai, edamame, miso, homemade dressing, packed lunch, healthy lunch, meal prep
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