Brace yourself for the most satisfying salad ever, featuring chickpeas and Greek-seasoned chicken. Feta and Kalamata olives add a punch of flavor that ascends to Mount Olympus and back. When all ten layers meet in your entree-sized bowl, the result is no less than extraordinary.
I never knew how beloved a Mason jar salad could be until my friend Jane sent me this recipe out of the blue. After making and devouring it, I may never be able to order salad at a restaurant again.
For those of you with food sensitivities, this recipe has options. Back when my children were dealing with a milk protein intolerance, I found that I could get away with indulging in sheep’s milk feta cheese on occasion. So if you have someone who is sensitive (but not allergic) to milk, sheep cheese might be something to cautiously try. The taste of sheep feta is amazing, and I would still seek it out if you’ve only ever tried goat’s or cow’s milk cheese.
If dairy milk products are out of the question for you, I suggest substituting hard-boiled eggs or seasoned tofu for the feta cheese layer, and using 1/4 cup mayonnaise in place of a cup and a half of Greek yogurt for the dressing. Depending on how much chicken you are marinating, you may need to double or triple the dressing recipe to adjust for the loss in volume with the dairy free substitution.
Another option to save time and eliminate dairy allergies is to use a store bought Caesar or green goddess dressing. Read the labels to make sure it meets your personal dietary guidelines, but a number of commercial dressings don’t contain milk.
As a person who loves variety, I can enjoy this salad several days in a row–it’s that appealing. And for such a fantastic alternative to boring sandwiches, I am grateful. This salad recipe also inspired a new Greek chicken dinner recipe, which you can find here in my next post!
Jane's Greek Mason Jar Salad
Author: Jane Carter
Inspired by a friend who loves Greek food, but who has a family that doesn’t, I created this Greek salad in a jar. The one thing I didn’t do is put my greens in the jar because my jar just isn’t big enough.
The basic idea is that you go through a salad bar backwards. Dressing first, hearty veggies that won’t wilt next, softer veggies, protein, and “extras” last. For this salad, here is what I usually do:
- Garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
- Red onion
- Yellow pepper
- Cherry tomatoes
- Cooked chicken, chopped (marinated in the Greek dressing, recipe to follow)
- Kalamata olives
- Feta cheese (made from goat, sheep, or cow milk)
- (Greens–romaine or spinach for this)
At lunch, place greens in the bowl. Pour out the jar contents, and presto! Salad! It keeps in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Greek Dressing/Marinade Ingredients*:
- 1 + 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt* (2 small cartons)
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons pure honey
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano leaves, optional
*For a dairy-free version, use just 1/4 cup mayonnaise in place of the yogurt.
- Mix all dressing ingredients together until smooth. Remove about 4 to 5 Tablespoons for dressing.
- Place raw chicken in a large ziplock bag, pour marinade in the bag, and coat. Let stand for 30 minutes (up to overnight). Bake at 400 degrees F for 45-60 minutes (depends on size and type of pieces). Can also be grilled.
I’m sharing the goodness here.