Make-ahead salad in a jar

salad in a jar

My daughter Sam will like this idea. She likes salads but the process of prepping half a dozen different vegetables just before a meal can be a headache when everyone and everything is flying around in the kitchen. If more than half of the prepping can be done ahead of time, the rest of the procedure is a breeze. So, here is make-ahead salad that you can keep in the fridge for a couple of days.

There’s no brining or pickling involved here. Just cut up the vegetables, pour in the dressing, allow to sit in the fridge for an hour and you have a very tasty salad.

What vegetables to use? I chose veggies that will hold their shape and color. No leafy vegetables, in other words.

salad in a jar

I also added a generous amount of spices and aromatics. Chilis…

salad in a jar

…lemongrass, garlic…

Since the idea is to let the veggies soak in the liquid before serving, the vegetables benefit a lot from the added flavors.

Now, if you prefer leafy salad greens, you can add them at the last minute. Place in a bowl, add some or all the veggies in the jar, drizzle in the liquid from the jar, add olive oil and you’re done.

Recipe: Make-ahead salad in a jar


  • 1/3 c. of vinegar
  • 1/3 c. of water
  • 1/4 to 1/3 c. of sugar
  • 1 tsp. of salt
  • 2 cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 1 to 2 red bell peppers, cut into strips
  • 1 to 2 red onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 stalks of lemongrass (white part only — see tips), lightly pounded
  • 2 finger chilis, sliced


  1. Pour the vinegar and water in a small pan. Stir in the sugar and salt. Bring the boil, lower the heat to medium and continue boiling, uncovered, for eight to 10 minutes. Cool.
  2. Place the vegetables and aromatics inside a glass jar. Pour in the cooled vinegar mixture. Cover and keep in the fridge.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 12 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 2

salad in a jar
  • monette

    I love “just cucumber” salad :) What I usually do is mix vinegar,sugar,salt and spices –but without boiling the mixture. Would it really matter if mixture is boiled or not? Kindly advise. Thank you.

    • beth

      what a great idea and so beautiful too. Thanks for sharing

    • Connie Veneracion

      Boiling concentrates the flavors and assures that no sugar or salt solids remain. :)

      • cherrypie

        I love salads thanks for posting miss connie, i just want to ask if apple cider vinegar can be use for this or any specific brand..thank you:)

        • Connie Veneracion

          Any vinegar will do. :)

      • monette

        Thank you for this info. I will do this next time :) cheers!

  • thony

    It is healthy and easy to make… I’ll try this at home. thanks!

  • Carol B.

    This is very timely. Kakaharvest lang namin ng cucumbers at we eat it the usual way – dipped in a mixture of patis, vinegar, sugar and ground black pepper. I never thought of serving it the way you mentioned. Who wouldn’t be enticed when you see a salad bursting with colors and not to mention spices? I’ll try this when I get home. Thanks for the colorful idea.

    • Carol B.

      We have almost all of the ingredients (except lemongrass) in our garden. Hubby will be happy to see the fruits of his green thumb in one dish. Now, I have to find a way to preserve the tomatoes. We had too much this year. One shrub bear hundreds of fruits. Four families na ang sinusupplyan pero ang dami pa rin tira.

      • nina

        You can make the into tomato sauce :-)

  • Nina

    I usually make pickled radish. Never thought of doing it with cucumber. Thanks for the idea.

  • laura

    Is there some healthier substitute for the sugar… ? Just seems a shame to add such an unhealthy ingredient to such fabulously healthy food. Surely honey would be better>>>

    • Connie Veneracion

      Sugar is unhealthy? LOL You think honey doesn’t contain sucrose? Oh, man…

  • l

    this is great, i can make this for my father as pasalubong when i visit. i can’t cook for him anymore since i have married. he loves cucumber and chilis and timely too since he has to watch na his food intake. thank you for sharing all your wonderful ideas :)