pasta salad in a jar healthy lunch meal prep

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad In a Jar (Healthy Lunch)

When it comes to healthy lunch meal prep ideas, this pasta salad in a jar is one of my favorites! Not only is it insanely delicious, but it’s a true grab-and-go lunch and so convenient. It’s also packed with protein, healthy fats, and nutrient-dense vegetables to keep you full and satisfied all afternoon. Additionally, this pasta salad in a jar recipe is gluten free, dairy free, and grain free. And, once you’re ready to indulge, just dump all of the contents of the jar into a bowl, mix, and enjoy. It’s that simple!

pasta salad in a jar healthy lunch meal prep

Why I Love the Salad In a Jar Method for Meal Prepping!

When it comes to meal prepping for the week, especially lunch prep, the salad in a jar method is a game changer! The idea is to layer the ingredients in a way where they stay fresher for longer. I typically add the dressings to the bottom of the jar and then layer the remaining ingredients from most to least moist (the ingredients with the most moisture/water content should be closer to the bottom of the jar).

You can use this jar method for regular salads, pasta salads, and even instant noodle soups. And, it’s an easy way to sneak in tons of raw fruits and vegetables throughout the week to increase your fiber intake and nutrients. For the pasta salad in a jar, you’ll want to layer it similarly to regular salad in a jar. However, instead of adding lettuce on top, you’ll top it off with the pasta noodles.

Once you’re ready to indulge, you just dump everything into a bowl, mix, and enjoy!

pasta salad in a jar healthy lunch meal prep

Pasta Salad In A Jar Ingredients

Today, I’m sharing my Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad recipe and it is delicious!! It’s also gluten free, dairy free, and grain free.

  • Gluten Free Pasta Noodles: I like to use Chickpea Noodles or Cassava Flour Noodles. You can also use regular pasta noodles. For this recipe, I use either Fusilli pasta or Rotini pasta.
  • Dairy Free Ranch Dressing: To keep this pasta salad dairy free, I like to use my homemade dairy free ranch. But, technically, any ranch dressing will work.
  • Variety of vegetables: What I love about this recipe is you can use a variety of fresh vegetables to suit your taste preference. I’m using broccoli, cucumber, red onion, and bell pepper. Sometimes, I’ll also add cherry tomatoes.
  • Protein: For a protein boost and to make this pasta salad in a jar super filling, I’m adding in shredded chicken and uncured turkey bacon pieces.
pasta salad in a jar healthy lunch meal prep

How To Make Pasta Salad In A Jar

Pasta salad in a jar is super easy to make, and it’s all about how you prep and layer the individual ingredients to maximize flavor and freshness.

  • Prep the Proteins and Pasta: Season the chicken to your liking and bake or pressure cook. Then, shred it. Cook the bacon. Cut it into bite size pieces. Boil the pasta and rinse with cold water. Let everything cool before adding to the jars.
  • Chop the Veggies: Rinse and chop all the veggies.
  • Make the Dressing: Quickly whip up the homemade dairy free ranch dressing.
  • Layer the Salad: Add a serving of the ranch dressing to the bottom of each jar. Then, layer all the veggies from most to least moist. Add the chicken and bacon next. Lastly, top it off with the noodles. Don’t be afraid to tightly packed the noodles into the jar.
pasta salad in a jar healthy lunch meal prep

Storage Instructions for Meal Prepping

When it comes to meal prepping for the week, it’s all about using recipes that’ll stay fresh for up to 4-5 days. This pasta salad in a jar can not only be stored in the refrigerator, but it can also be frozen.

  • For storing in the fridge: This pasta salad will last in the fridge for up to 4-5 days, depending on how cold you keep your fridge.
  • For storing in the freezer: You can also freeze this pasta salad in a jar for up to one month. The only swap suggestion I’d make it to substitute the cucumber with chopped celery. Celery tends to hold up better when frozen compared to cucumbers. Make sure you use freezer-friendly containers, like these glass Weck Jars (they’re also stackable).
pasta salad in a jar healthy lunch meal prep
pasta salad in a jar healthy lunch meal prep

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad In A Jar

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This pasta salad in a jar recipe is healthy, gluten free, dairy free, and grain free. It's perfect for healthy lunch meal prep.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 5 servings
Calories 598 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 1 C. Dairy Free Ranch Dressing (or any type of ranch)
  • 8 oz Gluten Free Fusilli or Rotini Pasta Noodles (Chickpea or Cassava Noodles)
  • 1 lb Chicken Breasts
  • 4 slices Uncured Turkey Bacon
  • 2/3 C. Broccoli Florets, cut to bite-size pieces
  • 2/3 C. Cucumber, sliced into fourths
  • 2/3 C. Bell Pepper, de-seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 C. Red Onion, finely chopped
  • 2/3 C. Cherry Tomatoes, halved (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375 F. Prepare the dairy free ranch dressing. *Tip: I like to add 2-3 Tbsp of water to thin out the ranch, but this is optional.
  • Prep the chicken: Season chicken breasts to your liking. I rubbed it with paprika, poultry seasoning, garlic powder, sea salt, and pepper. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until fully done (you can also pressure cook it). Once done, shred it with a fork. Set aside to cool.
  • Prep the Bacon: Cook turkey bacon in a skillet over medium heat until fully browned. Set aside to cool then cut into small pieces. *Tip: Add a touch of oil or avocado spray to the bacon if turkey is too lean.
  • Prep the Pasta: Cook pasta noodles according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cool water. Let cool completely.
  • Layer Salads: Once you've prepped all of the individual ingredients, it's time to layer the salads! Add ingredients in this order – ranch dressing (1 C. evenly distributed), cucumber, onion, bell pepper, broccoli, chicken, bacon, pasta noodles. Tightly pack the noodles into the jar. Place the lid on top and store.
  • To Serve: When ready to consume, dump everything into a bowl and toss to combine. Add a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper (if desired) and enjoy!
    pasta salad in a jar healthy lunch meal prep

Notes

The macros are calculated based on using the Banza Chickpea Rotini Noodles and my homemade dairy free ranch dressing.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Calories: 598kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 41gFat: 34gFiber: 5gSugar: 3g
Keyword jar salad, mason jar salad, mason jar salad recipes, pasta salad, salad in a jar
Did you make this recipe? Be sure to tag me on Instagram!@KaylaJChandler or #FeelinFabWithKayla

Looking for More Healthy Lunch Meal Prep Ideas?

If you’re on the search for healthy lunch meal prep recipes, here’s a few of my favorites.

 

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