Caprese salad is a simple, Italian salad made with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella, basil, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. I put a spin on this classic salad, and turned it into a delicious and filling lunch with these Caprese Mason Jar Salads. These salads feature the classic ingredients of a Caprese salad, with the addition of seasoned, grilled chicken and crunchy pine nuts for flavor and texture. With a homemade creamy balsamic vinaigrette, this salad hits the spot.
What are the components of a Caprese salad?
Caprese salad is an Italian classic; it’s simple, but the quality of the ingredients make it delicious. It features fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and salt. Since tomatoes are at their peak freshness in the warmer months, this makes a delicious salad for the Spring and Summer.
My Caprese Mason Jar Salads feature all of the same components of a classic Caprese salad, but with some small tweaks. We are still using fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil. To bulk the salad up, I use arugula as the greens. I also top the salads with delicious pignoli nuts (or “pine nuts”) which are a classic ingredient in Italian pesto.
Lastly, instead of just using olive oil and balsamic vinegar here, I have created a creamy and delicious balsamic vinaigrette.
How long does this recipe take to make?
This recipe is actually beyond easy; the only ingredient that has to be cooked is the chicken. You will be out of the kitchen in under 30 minutes. Because the grilled chicken is the only cooked ingredient in this recipe, this salad is ideal for spring or summer meal prep. If you use the barbeque outside, you will have virtually no clean up after finishing this meal prep! It doesn’t get easier than that.
What you’ll need to make Caprese Mason Jar Salads
- chicken breast
- Italian seasoning
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- kosher salt
- cherry tomatoes
- fresh mozzarella
- I use the snack packs of Bel Gioioso cheese; each snack pack is 70 calories and 2 WW points
- pignoli nuts (also known as “pine nuts”)
- plain non-fat Greek yogurt
- balsamic vinegar
How to make Caprese Mason Jar Salads
Cooking the chicken
For this recipe, the chicken just gets a super flavorful spice rub- no marinating required! I use thin sliced chicken breast here, so they cook super quickly. You can also just slice chicken breast thinly on your own.
Simply rub the spice mixture all over the chicken, and then grill them. They will only take about 5 minutes per side, since they are so thin (maybe even less time!).
I used my indoor grill pan here, but you can absolutely do this on the barbeque outside for even less cleanup.
Once the chicken is cooked and cooled, cut it into bite sized pieces as you prepare the other ingredients for the salad. By the way, cooking the chicken is the longest part of this recipe, and it couldn’t be simpler!
Making the dressing
The dressing for this recipe is a flavorful, silky, creamy balsamic vinaigrette. Just simply combine the yogurt, balsamic vinegar, honey and salt together in a small bowl, and taste for seasoning.
I promise, you do not taste the yogurt here. However, if you are not a fan of yogurt and would rather use a bottled dressing, that’s totally fine too! But trust me on this one. It’s delicious, easy to make, and budget-friendly!
Building the salads
When we make mason jar salads, the key is to layer the ingredients in order from most wet and dense, to light and airy. This is the key to the ingredients staying fresh all week, and I promise: it works.
So depending on the ingredients of your mason jar salad, this will vary. For this particular salad, the order is as follows:
- cooked chicken (3/4 cup per serving, approximately)
- cherry tomatoes (equal parts in each mason jar; this can be eyeballed)
- mozzarella cheese (you can dice this up, too)
- pignoli nuts (1/2 oz total, divided into 4 equal portions)
The dressing will be kept separate, but the serving size of dressing for each salad is up to 3 tablespoons!
Caprese Mason Jar Salads
- four 32-oz mason jars
- grill pan or outdoor grill
- 1.5 lb chicken breast thin sliced
- 1.5 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1.5 tsp kosher salt
- 1.5 tsp garlic powder
- 1.5 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp honey
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 5 oz arugula or mixed greens
- 1/2 cup basil fresh
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 oz pignoli nuts
- 4 oz fresh mozzarella I use Bel Gioioso Fresh Mozzarella Snacking Cheese
- Thinly slice the chicken breast (or purchase thinly sliced chicken breast).
- Combine the spice mixture for the chicken and rub it all over the chicken breast.
- Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Spray the grill pan with olive oil spray. (You can also use the barbeque).
- Cook the chicken for about 5 minutes per side, until cooked through. Remove from the grill and set aside to cool.
- Combine the dressing ingredients and set aside.
- Layer the salad ingredients in the mason jar: chicken (3/4 cup), cherry tomatoes, cheese (1 oz per jar, chopped), basil (2 tbsp per jar), arugula, pine nuts.
- Serve the dressing on the side. Serving size: up to 3 tbsp per serving.
- 6 WW points per salad (green plan) - calculated using Perdue chicken breast and Fage yogurt
- 5 WW points per salad (blue and purple plans)
Try these other mason jar salads: