Black Bean Fiesta Jar Salad

Though we've never met, Brittany and I are kindred spirits; we're both team #saladeverday. Brittany, like me, is a bit salad-obsessed, and I knew as soon as I came across her beautiful website, Eating Bird Food, that we'd be friends.  With September (and "real life") right around the corner, we decided to team up to create two packable salads for work or school. Her salad, below, is a black bean fiesta jar salad, and mine posted over on her site, is a peanut noodle salad. Both are easy, delicious, vegan, gluten-free, and real world ready. Enjoy!

 Black Bean Fiesta Jar Salad | Vegan and gluten-free. | Loveleaf Co.

From Brittany:

Hi there! I’m Brittany, a health coach, personal trainer and the blogger behind Eating Bird Food, a healthy living blog where I share recipes, workouts, wellness articles, travel adventures and more. In my recipes I focus on using wholesome ingredients to create healthy meals that are not only nutritious, but also delicious and satisfying.

Ally and I haven’t met in real life, but I knew from the moment I visited Loveleaf Co. that we would get along. We both share a similar love for salads and enjoy spreading the #saladeveryday movement. Hopefully one day we’ll be able to meet up, enjoy a huge salad together and talk all things health and fitness, but in the meantime I’m excited to pop over to her lovely space to share one of my favorite salad recipes.

As a health coach, I know that it can be hard to eat healthy when life is busy or work gets crazy. That’s why I recommend a little meal prep for the week ahead. There are a bunch of different meal prep strategies you can use, but I find that batch cooking works best for me. The process involves cooking or prepping some staple items that make tossing together lunch and dinner so much easier. For instance, I like to cook a pot of beans, some quinoa or brown rice, grill a few pieces of chicken, roast sweet potatoes and chop salad veggies every Sunday for the week ahead.

 Black Bean Fiesta Jar Salad | Vegan and gluten-free. | Loveleaf Co.
 Black Bean Fiesta Jar Salad | Vegan and gluten-free. | Loveleaf Co.

This black bean fiesta jar salad is meal-prep ready because you can easily make most of the ingredients ahead of time — all your veggies can be chopped while you’re cooking the quinoa and beans. If you’re really short on time you can simply stick with canned beans (just drain & rinse and you’re good to go). Another little secret is buying pre-shredded/chopped veggies. They’re a tad more expensive, but it does make life easier, especially when it comes to shredding carrots, cabbage or cauliflower rice, which can get messy. I was literally in heaven when I found out that Trader Joe’s sold bags of fresh and frozen cauliflower rice!

One of my all-time favorite meal prep ideas, especially for lunch, is the salad-in-a-jar. Mason jars are the perfect reusable salad container – they are easy to transport, a cinch to clean and work great for shaking up the salad before serving. And don’t worry – so long as the dressing is at the bottom of the jar, the veggies stay nice and crisp and your lettuce doesn’t get soggy!

The salad I’m sharing today is from my free salad ebook called Seven Slimming Meal-Sized Salads. The original recipe is prepared in a bowl, but this mason jar version is the perfect portable office lunch. It’s a colorful, plant-based Mexican salad with a zesty lime jalapeño dressing.I hope you like this little black bean fiesta salad as much as I do.

It’s been a pleasure guest posting for Ally. If you’re interested in connecting, you can find me over on Eating Bird Food or on InstagramFacebookPinterest and Snapchat.

 Black Bean Fiesta Jar Salad | Vegan and gluten-free. | Loveleaf Co.

Black Bean Fiesta Jar Salad

INGREDIENTS

LIME-JALAPEÑO DRESSING (MAKES 3⁄4 CUP)

  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 teaspoons chopped jalapeño
  • 1/2teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

THE SALAD

  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup cooked black beans
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 3/4 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen that has been thawed)
  • 1 (5-oz) bag of baby spinach
  • 1/2avocado, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Prep the dressing by whisking together all the ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and add additional salt and pepper, if needed.
  2. Grab two large mouth quart-size mason jars and start packing the salads. Start with a 1/4 cup of dressing then add the salad ingredients (splitting each in half) in the following order: carrots, red onion, cabbage, black beans, tomatoes, corn and spinach. Top the jar with a lid and store in the fridge until ready to serve. Top each salad with sliced avocado and cilantro just before serving or add to the jar the morning off. It should stay fresh for a few hours.
  3. When ready to serve, simply shake the jar to combine all the ingredients, eat directly from the jar or pour on a plate and enjoy.