How A Near-Empty Mayo Jar Can Shake Up Your Next Pasta Salad

Have you ever mixed a salad dressing inside a mostly-empty jar of mayo, instead of a bowl? This might be a novel concept to some, but it's actually a longstanding and popular practice to get more out of a near-empty product. Those hard-to-reach leftovers that cling to the sides and bottom of the container can be "washed off" by liquid ingredients like oil or vinegar, so nothing goes to waste. You can even take this hack up a notch by using a mayo jar to make an easy pasta salad.

Depending on how creamy you like your pasta salad, you'll want to leave somewhere between a quarter-cup and a full cup of mayo in the jar. Next, add any other condiments or seasonings as noted in your recipe — mustard, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, etc. — and mix together inside the jar using a long-handled spoon or whisk.

The fun part comes after adding your cooked (and cooled) pasta and any diced veggies, meats, or other additions. Tightly seal the jar, and shake until your pasta is thoroughly coated in the dressing. Once the salad is shaken together, you can transfer it into a bowl or simply place the whole jar it in the fridge until you're ready to serve. The jar makes for a convenient storage vessel both at home and on-the-go.

Mayo jar pasta salads are great for transportation

In addition to simplifying the salad-making process, a near-empty mayo jar is also a great way to take pasta salad to a party or potluck. For instance, you can pop the jar into your cooler and take it on a picnic, without having to worry about plastic wrap or tin foil staying on top of a bowl. Talk about a successful public cookout, with no spills in sight! Likewise, you can easily tuck the jar into a lunchbox and take it to work; you don't even need to bring extra dishes.

Another useful aspect of mayo jar pasta salad is the ability to layer your ingredients, so you can shake them together right before serving. Once you've mixed your dressing, you can layer in the rest of your veggies, pasta, and cheese, and keep them that way until lunchtime. This keeps the salad from getting soggy, a common problem when dressed in advance. Sure, the noodles around the edges of the jar may come into contact with residual dressing, but most will be safe from going mushy. After all, you might have already overcooked your noodles for a better pasta salad, so you don't want to further soften their texture if you can help it.

What other salads can you make in a mayo jar?

Not everyone is a fan of pasta salad, but there are plenty of other salads you can make in a near-empty mayo jar. You could experiment with different types of potato salad or egg salad, as most variations use mayo in their dressing. Other salad ideas include tuna or chicken salads. Add your dressing ingredients to the jar, mix, add your meat, and shake. All you have to take to school or work is the jar and two slices of bread, and you have an easy and portable sandwich to assemble at lunchtime, with no soggy bread as the sandwich sits. 

Alternatively, you can add shredded cabbage, carrots, and onion to the jar with a few spices to create a shaken coleslaw. Delicious and fun! You can also use leftover mayo to make a homemade Caesar dressing, then add the rest of your ingredients for a creamy Caesar salad and toss. You'll want to leave out the croutons and sprinkle them onto each plate right before serving, though. The possibilities are endless, so get shakin'!