meals in jars

A movable feast

In today’s post, Chef Deb Rankine, a.k.a. The Fridge Whisperer, shares two of her favourite portable composed soup and salad recipes.

Healthy eating is tricky when you’re backpacking or hiking all day and making a from-scratch meal is not on the horizon.


Composed soup and salad jars, of course!

Pack the jars in an insulated bag with an ice pack and you’re well on your way to healthy noshing any time of day. 

**Important caveat** If you’re backcountry camping in a park that doesn’t allow glass containers (Kawartha Highlands, Woodland Caribou, Quetico, Killarney, Lake Superior or Algonquin), use a non-glass container. A reusable water bottle works great!

Vegetarian ramen noodle jar (serves 1)

jar of ramen

  • ½ teaspoon sambal hot chili paste
  • 2 cups finely chopped vegetables (cabbage; carrot; bell pepper; broccoli; green beans; bok choy; mushrooms; etc.)
  • ¼ cup diced smoked tofu
  • 1 portion dried chow mein noodle
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons ground dried vegetable soup mix
  • 2 cups boiling water

vegetables awaiting prepPlace wet ingredients (curry pastes; hot sauces) in the bottom of the jar first, then cut your vegetables into bite-size pieces and layer them with the hardest vegetables going in first (cabbage; broccoli; carrot) and ending with the delicate ones on top (mushroom; green onion). Top with cooked protein and dried noodles (rice stick; low mein; chow mein; soba) of your choice, followed by herbs (cilantro; parsley).

For this recipe, I processed a packet of Knorr Vegetable Soup mix in my spice grinder into a powder and used that to flavour my ramen.

ramen prepPlace sambal in bottom of a 2-cup container or glass jar with tight-fitting lid. Layer in vegetables according to degree of hardness. Sprinkle tofu on top of vegetables, push noodles into jar on top of tofu, add cilantro and vegetable soup mix powder and seal jar.

To serve, add boiling water to cover, screw on lid, and let rest until noodles are cooked to desired doneness, anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes depending on type of noodle used. Rice noodles will take the least amount of time to cook, soba the longest.

Tex-Mex three-bean salad jar (serves one)

bean salad jar

  • 1 cup canned three-bean medley, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon Tex-Mex dried seasoning blend
  • 1 cup shredded Boston bib lettuce
  • ½ cup canned corn kernels, well drained
  • Half diced avocado, tossed lightly in lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons diced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons reduced fat ranch dressing mixed with 1 teaspoon spicy barbecue sauce

Toss beans with Tex-Mex seasoning to combine. Set aside.

In a 2-cup airtight container or glass jar with tight-fitting lid, layer half of the seasoned bean medley, lettuce, corn, bell pepper, onion and avocado, drizzle with 1 tablespoon dressing, then repeat laying one more time ending with remaining 1 tablespoon dressing on top. Cover and refrigerate or place in an insulated lunch bag with an ice pack.

Happy trails!