I’m a little late to the salad in a jar craze but better late than never as the old adage goes. These Mason Jar Kale, Quinoa and Apple Salads can be made ahead, are perfect for fall, and the vinaigrette is out of this world.

Kale, Quinoa, and Apple Mason Jar Salad | mountainmamacooks.com

I vaguely remember when the whole salad in a mason jar thing floated around the internet a few years back. Not gonna lie, I just skipped right over it. I didn’t see why having your salad made ahead of time was all that handy. I know it sounds lame but at the time I had more than enough time to be making myself a proper lunch and throwing together a salad was at the easy end of that spectrum. BUT!!!! (see, there is always a but….) I don’t find myself with that kind of free time these days. Making a salad ahead of time and then being able to yank it out of the fridge, fully ready to go, when I’m on the run or need something to eat like yesterday is Pure. Freaking. Genius.

Kale, Quinoa, and Apple Mason Jar Salad | mountainmamacooks.com

When my kids were younger I really thought I’d have so much more time to myself as they got older. And while I have more alone time while they’re at school, I find myself with actual less free time. While they don’t need help going to the bathroom (praise the Lord) or getting dressed anymore, they do need help with much more time intensive things like homework, transportation to after school activities and this crazy thing called emotional issues. Holy ba-jeezus don’t even get me started. And here I thought boys were supposed to be easier.

Kale, Quinoa, and Apple Mason Jar Salad | mountainmamacooks.com

Between working on the blog and catering, volunteering commitments, and then tackling my role as wife, mother and all things house related, there are so many days when I barely have time to grab a shower let alone make myself a nice lunch and then sit down and eat it. Because I feel so much better when I’m eating well (crazy how that works….) I’ver really been trying hard to meal plan and prep when I can. It makes my life less hectic and then my family and I aren’t not living off take out and cereal.

Kale, Quinoa, and Apple Mason Jar Salad | mountainmamacooks.com

The beauty of these salads is that they can be made a week in advance. I’ve never actually tested that theory as mine are usually gone in 3-4 day but I’m confident I could get another day or two out of them! I used hearty kale, crunchy celery, protein packed quinoa, seasonal apples, nutty pecans, sharp cheddar and a cinnamon-apple cider vinaigrette. The vinaigrette is legit. I got the idea (ok, I stole it) from How Sweet Eats. I modified it just a bit but the idea is most definitely Jessica’s! I love anything cinnamon and this vinaigrette is no different. It’s the perfect way to bring all the ingredients in this salad together!

Kale, Quinoa, and Apple Mason Jar Salad | mountainmamacooks.com

I will note that it’s important to layer as written in the recipe so you don’t end up with a big ‘ol soggy mess! Ain’t no one got time for that! Have a great week and thanks for reading! xo, Kelley

ps- to those with older kids– when does it get easier? 🙂

Mason Jar Kale, Quinoa and Apple Salad

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4 salads


    for the vinaigrette:
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 teaspoon black ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • for the salad:
  • 1 large (or 2 small) heads of kale, ribs removed and coarsely chopped
  • 5 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 medium apples, cored and chopped
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
  • 1/4- 1/2 cup pecans
  • 4- quart sized mason jars


  1. Make the vinaigrette: combine all the ingredients except for the olive oil; mix to combine. Whisk in the olive oil until dressing is emulsified.
  2. Divide the dressing evenly between the 4 jars. You should have about 3-4 tablespoons of dressing per jar.
  3. Next, add the the rest of the salad ingredients in this order: divide the celery evenly between the jars, followed by the chopped apples. Add 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa to each jar. Add 2 tablespoons of the cheese next. Then divide the kale evenly among the jars. Lastly, sprinkle a few pecans on top of each jar.
  4. Use a tight fitting lid and seal the jars. Store jars in fridge for up to 1 week. When ready to serve, give the jar a small shake and then empty contents into a large bowl. Toss to evenly combine vinaigrette with salad. Enjoy!!
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7 Responses to Mason Jar Kale, Quinoa and Apple Salad

  1. Let says:

    cinnamon in vinaigrett–glad you stole the idea!

  2. Melissa says:

    It doesn’t necessarily get easier, it gets different…lol My son will be 26 soon and the conversation is great. It is amazing to see the person that he has and is becoming. Good luck!

    • Kelley says:

      Thanks! I love to hear that. I hope it didn’t sound like was complaining either because I actually love the time I do spend with the boys! Good choice of words….because it does get “different”!!

  3. Becky says:

    I have to try these!!

  4. carol hannigan says:

    Where do purchase the plastic mason jar lids? The metal lids don’t hold up and get rusty

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