Although we don’t can and jar as much as we once did as a culture, there is still something sweet, nostalgic, and downright practical about a glass mason jar. And in a time when we are all trying to get back to basics and reduce our reliance on to-go packaging, glass jars might be the simplest solution. Whether you’re catering to a crowd or a couple of kids, prepping meals in jars is a handy and healthy way to serve fresh and delicious food. Each recipe in this issue—from sweet overnight oats, chia seed pudding, and yogurt parfait to savory gazpacho and a summer salad—can be prepped and stored in the refrigerator until it’s needed. I’ve gathered a collection of my favorite jar recipes that will make it easier for you and the whole family to eat fresh and healthy without too much fuss.
BLUEBERRY CARDAMOM OVERNIGHT OATS
If you’ve never knowingly tasted cardamom, you’re in for a treat. It’s a fragrant spice that’s typically found in Indian, Middle Eastern, Asian, and Swedish recipes. With herbal notes and hints of citrus and pine, cardamom complements sweet and savory recipes. Here, you’ll get a slightly sweet breakfast treat. I’ve combined cardamom, fresh blueberries, and creamy oats. I’ve garnished this recipe with additional fruit and nuts for texture, but ultimately the oats are just as tasty with a simple handful of blueberries. What a delicious way to start the day.
Makes 1 serving
- ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats, not steel-cut oats or quick oats
- 2 teaspoons chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1¼ cups milk or nondairy milk
- ½ cup fresh blueberries
- Sliced strawberries, for garnish
- Chopped walnuts, for garnish
- 1 (16-ounce) mason jar
- Toppings: sliced bananas, sunflower seeds, toasted coconut flakes (optional)
Place the rolled oats, chia seeds, ground cardamom, maple syrup, and salt in the bottom of the mason jar. Then add the milk or nondairy milk and place the lid on the jar. Shake vigorously until the oats are well combined. Put the jar in the refrigerator overnight.
To serve, remove the jar from the refrigerator and give the oats a stir. Stir in the ½ cup of fresh blueberries and then garnish with sliced strawberries and chopped walnuts. Add additional warm milk or nondairy milk for thinner oats.
Additional garnishes that complement these oats are sliced bananas, sunflower seeds, toasted coconut flakes, and sliced almonds.
STRAWBERRY CHIA SEED PUDDING
I remember when I first discovered chia seed pudding—I was delighted, to say the least. It’s probably because I’m obsessed with food that boasts a creamy texture. But unlike a rich cream sauce or heaping portion of buttery mashed potatoes, this recipe is creamy and healthful, too. Think of chia seed pudding as a tapioca’s health-conscious cousin. Here, I’ve combined the pudding with fresh strawberries, yogurt, and milk to make it tasty and versatile for breakfast, a snack, or dessert.
Makes 4 (8-ounce) servings
- 1 quart fresh strawberries (about 12 to 14 medium-size strawberries), tops removed
- ¼ cup plain Greek or nondairy yogurt
- ¼ cup milk or nondairy milk
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- ½ cup chia seeds
- Fresh mint and sliced strawberries, for garnish
- 4 (8-ounce) mason jars with lids
Place the fresh strawberries, yogurt, milk, and maple syrup in a blender and blend until nicely pureed.
Pour the mixture into a bowl and then stir in the chia seeds. Do not add the chia seeds to the blender. You want the chia seeds left in whole form. This creates a nice pudding texture.
Divide the pudding among 4 (8-ounce) mason jars. Cover with lids and refrigerate overnight. When ready to serve, remove the lids and garnish with fresh mint and additional strawberries.