Looking for an easy lunch to mix up at your desk? A jar salad is our weekly go-to because you can make it in advance and everything is neatly packed up and ready to eat. This version borrows flavors from the Middle East with cooked grains, lemon juice, honey, green olives, nuts and dates. Kale is tossed in a slightly sweet lemon dressing and then packed into the bottom of the jar. It might seem like a lot of greens, but they will wilt down slightly (without becoming soggy). This process of “marinating” the kale removes any bitterness and tenderizes the leaves. We recommend at least a 16-ounce (1 pint) jar for a salad like this. If you would like a little extra room for mixing, then try using a 32-ounce (1 quart) jar. Pro tip: Tuck a square piece of parchment paper under the lid to keep the toasted cashews separate from the other ingredients. This way they’ll stay dry and crisp until you’re ready to eat. If you don’t have parchment paper, then you can also use plastic wrap.
In a medium bowl, whisk the lemon juice with the shallot, honey, red pepper flakes and a pinch of salt and pepper. While whisking constantly, stream in the olive oil until incorporated. Add the kale to the dressing and toss well.
Pack the kale into the bottom of a 1-pint or 1-quart jar. Top with the barley, chickpeas, beets, olives, dates and cheese. Cut a square piece of parchment that is larger than the mouth of your jar and set it on top of the cheese. Press it gently into the jar and place the cashews on top of the parchment. Seal the top of the jar and refrigerate. When you’re ready to eat, discard the parchment paper and mix up the salad. Enjoy!
MAKE AHEAD: The jarred salad can be refrigerated or up to 12 hours.