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Shake up that lunch salad with this layered, kid-friendly recipe

(Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post/Food styling by Gina Nistico for The Washington Post)
Layered Salad With Italian Dressing
Total time:20 min
Servings:1 (makes about 1/2 cup dressing)
Total time:20 min
Servings:1 (makes about 1/2 cup dressing)

This lunchbox-friendly salad is layered into a clear container, so it looks like a work of art. Feel free to vary the vegetables and proteins to make your own colorful creation. When you are ready to eat, pour the Italian dressing over the salad, reseal it (tightly!) and shake to combine, then eat it right out of the container.

How to get kids to eat a healthy lunch? Give them some control.

Layered Salad With Italian Dressing

Leftover dressing can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

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For the dressing

  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 11/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the lunchbox

  • 1/2 cup seeded and diced cucumber
  • 1/2 cup quartered grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed if canned
  • 1/3 cup (2 ounces) diced fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded romaine lettuce, plus more as needed

Step 1

Make the dressing: In a medium bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper; whisk to combine. You should get about 1/2 cup dressing; you’ll need 2 tablespoons for the lunchbox. Refrigerate the remaining dressing until needed.

Step 2

Make the lunchbox: Place about 2 tablespoons of the dressing in a small container with a tightfitting lid. Place the cucumber on the bottom of a tall, wide-mouth, 3- to 4-cup container with a tightfitting lid. Top with the tomato, then the chickpeas, mozzarella and lettuce. Add more lettuce as needed to loosely fill the jar to the top. To pack, place the salad and the dressing containers into a cooler-style lunchbox with an ice pack.

Step 3

Right before eating, shake the dressing, then pour it over the salad. Re-cover the salad tightly and shake to coat the salad in the dressing.

Nutrition Information

Per serving (1 lunchbox with about 2 tablespoons dressing)

Calories: 490; Total Fat: 32 g; Saturated Fat: 10 g; Cholesterol: 50 mg; Sodium: 576 mg; Carbohydrates: 31 g; Dietary Fiber: 8 g; Sugar: 6 g; Protein: 18 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.

From cookbook author and registered dietitian nutritionist Ellie Krieger.

Tested by Ann Maloney; email questions to

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