May 11, 2017

New Beginnings and Mason Jar Salad with Peanut Dressing

Mason Jar Salad with Peanut Dressing. Anna Johnston -

BOOM SHAKALAKA!!! Guess what friends…. I’ve got a new job #fistbumps #highfives #happydancing in a gorgeous swanky resort overlooking the Coral Sea, and I can’t tell you how amazingly wonderful it is to be back in the world of hospitality just 5 short weeks since good ol’ Debbie roughed us up and changed our lives so dramatically.

Mason Jar Salad with Peanut Dressing. Anna Johnston -

‘Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet’

Being part of a community with such an awesome approach to the devastation that surrounded us after the cyclone has been truly inspirational to experience first hand. We Aussies have a reputation for being tough and having a die-hard, roll your sleeves up and get on with it approach to disasters!  But honestly, this little shenANNAgator has never actually seen an entire community jump in and fix everything that broke with such energy, determination and good cheer, it’s been incredible.

Mason Jar Salad with Peanut Dressing. Anna Johnston -

Seems I’m not the only one that LOVES this climate. Post cyclone gardening is such a rewarding and soon to be VERY fruitful experience.

It’s true that ‘attitude is everything’ and makes it so much easier to get back up, dust yourself off and start all over again, especially when an entire like minded community surrounds you at times like this. It inspires you to step up and want to be a winner just like them!  We threw ourselves into tasks with all the downtime, lots of bush walks and cooking,  healthy exercise, DIY projects with gardening and restoring some second hand furniture and of course, getting the CV out there with such great results.

Mason Jar Salad with Peanut Dressing. Anna Johnston -

Cedar Creek Falls – A tick for the Whitsunday bucket list.

Determined to keep up with all the healthy exercise and eating plans, I’ve decided to whip up some yummy lunches to eat at work rather than rely on staffies now that I’m back in the swing of things in hospitality.  Check out how easy it is to zing some leftovers, and whip up a delicious and oh so trendy Mason Jar Salad with Peanut Dressing, and still stick with my plan of ‘healthy lunches’.

Mason Jar Salad with Peanut Dressing
Mason Jar Salad with Peanut Dressing. Anna Johnston -

A super easy, delicious and oh so trendy Mason Jar Salad with Peanut Dressing.

PREP TIME: 25 mins
COOKING TIME: 10-15 mins 

Peanut Dressing

  • ½ cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 1 250 gram chicken breast, poached and finely sliced
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 1 cup lettuce
  • 1 cup rice noodles
  • 1/4 cup snow peas, julienned
  • 1/4 cup corn, blanched (I had left over BBQ corn)
  • 1/4 cup red cabbage, julienned
  • 1/4 cup carrot, julienned
  • 1/4 cup red capsicum, julienned
  • 1/4 cup broccoli, blanched
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoon fried onion/eschallot
Mason Jar Salad with Peanut Dressing. Anna Johnston -

Good Food = Good Mood!

  1. Place seasoned water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to the boil. Add chicken. Return to the boil.
  2. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until chicken is just cooked through. Remove from heat. Stand chicken in liquid for 5 minutes. Remove chicken and allow to cool.
  3. Prepare rice noodles according to packaging.
  4. Meanwhile, make the dressing: Place all of the ingredients in a blender except for the olive oil. Blend until smooth. With the blender running, slowly drizzle the olive oil into the blender in a steady stream.
  5. Julienne vegetables and slice the poached chicken into fine strips.
  6. To assemble the salads: Divide and layer the remaining salad ingredients into 2 large mason jars or bowls in the order they are listed. Leave 1 inch of space at the top of the jar for a small container of peanut dressing.
  7. Garnish each with about 1 tablespoon of fried onions/eschallot, refrigerate until ready to enjoy. When ready to enjoy, shake the jar vigorously to mix the ingredients and dressing.

Mason Jar Salad with Peanut Dressing. Anna Johnston -

I’d love to know, what fabulousness has been happening in your world? 


shenANNAgans is Anna Johnston, a 30 - something Aussie gal with an unwavering passion for the Hospitality industry. I love the quirky and unusual, designing events, travelling far and wide and eating food from all around the world. I am coffee blooded, a craft beer enthusiast, wine drinking yogi who enjoys writing about her adventures.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Serina aka Ms Frugal Ears - June 11, 2017 Reply

This looks fabulous – love the presentation in the jar.

    Anna - June 11, 2017 Reply

    Such a delicious feed, I think the presentation makes it even more amazing. Ha!

Jem @ Lost in Utensils - June 7, 2017 Reply

Well done Anna and congrats…I know I’m a bit late. If all of the havoc didn’t happen, you would not be on this new path in life.

    Anna - June 11, 2017 Reply

    It’s a bit of a catch 22 all this life drama and happenings, I think I would have enjoyed being able to end the last chapter on my terms, but I am enjoying the new job and making new friends too. Anyways, thanks for the kind comment. You rock!

mjskitchen - May 30, 2017 Reply

Congratulations on being back to work in what you love doing! I’m sure the last few weeks have been tough, but now worth it. It is amazing how disasters join people together. A wonderful thing to watch and especially be a part of.

Great idea for a lunch salad! Have always been a sucker for peanut butter anything and that PB dressing sounds divine!

    Anna - June 11, 2017 Reply

    Thanks heaps MJ, it’s wonderful to be back in employ, I love that. I’m learning so much and growing too. I like that I had so much support from the community. Something about going through it together really helped to rebuild.

    Haha… the peanut dressing is GOOD!

cityhippyfarmgirl - May 29, 2017 Reply

A big congrats on the new job Anna!
Winter is going to be a whole lot warmer for you this year my girl 🙂

    Anna - June 11, 2017 Reply

    Thanks lovely lady! And… I’m getting soft, have been rugged up like a winter in Canberra at 16c. Haha

Tim UrbanDuniya - May 28, 2017 Reply

It is soooo good to hear from you, and about how you are doing… I’m so proud of how you’re doing – that’s one hell of a way to bounce back!! Congratulations on the new job too – how fantastic! And as for that salad – my mouth is watering right now!!

Great to hear from you, my friend – and so glad to hear that things are going well 🙂

Jasline (Foodie Baker) - May 24, 2017 Reply

The rainbow colours of your mason jar salad looks so pretty and delicious. And congratulations on your new job! All the best! 🙂

    Anna - June 11, 2017 Reply

    Thanks gurl, and all the yes to rainbow salads. They just make you feel happy, huh?!

Karen (Back Road Journal) - May 23, 2017 Reply

Lots of layers of goodness in that nice looking salad. I could eat that often.

    Anna - June 11, 2017 Reply

    It’s become a fave in my household, that’s for sure! 🙂

John/Kitchen Riffs - May 18, 2017 Reply

Congrats on the new job! Glad it happened so quickly for you, and sounds like you’re in a nice situation. I’d be in a nice situation if I had this wonderful salad in front of me, ready to be consumed! Really good stuff — thanks.

Liz - May 16, 2017 Reply

Congratulations!!! Hooray for the new job! And thanks for the yummy salad recipe—that dressing sounds spectacular!

My Inner Chick - May 16, 2017 Reply

You. Rock.
The photos are FAB)))) x

    Anna - June 11, 2017 Reply

    Thanks beautiful lady. You rock too! Thanks for your always positive and loving comments. Mwah.

Tandy | Lavender and Lime - May 15, 2017 Reply

Oh, I am so happy for you that you found a new job! And that dressing sounds just like something I would have on its own 🙂

    Anna - June 11, 2017 Reply

    The dressing really was very tasty, and would work with a lot of different foods too. 🙂

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella - May 15, 2017 Reply

I’m SO happy for you dear Anna!! That is really wonderful news-a big congratulations!! 😀

    Anna - May 31, 2017 Reply

    Thanks gurlfren, now doing week 4 and finally feeling like I have got my head around the job. 🙂 Its wonderful to be back at work too.

Liz Posmyk (Good Things) - May 13, 2017 Reply

Told you! Congratulations! xxx

    Anna - May 14, 2017 Reply

    Haha… Thanks Lizzy! I love that there is so much support and belief in me. <3

Mabel Kwong - May 12, 2017 Reply

Congrats on the new gig, Miss Anna! SO incredibly stoked for you and it is amazing how all of you over there banded together and stuck up for each other. Even better things are coming your way, I can feel it. Up and up and onwards to better things 😀

This is such a simple recipe and a very healthy one too. And we all know peanut butter always makes things taste better. And smooth peanut butter all the way for me. So many veggies packed in a jar – so colourful, so attractive and so good. Looking forward to what you can whip up next. Lots of love as usual and big hugs your way until we meet x

    Anna - May 14, 2017 Reply

    You are a beautiful person Miss Mabel, I am so grateful we have connected and even more that I have a little sis too. <3 <3 <3
    And I agree, the peanut butter dressing is AMAZING. I'm talking eat on its own kinda delicious. Haha.
    All my love and big squishy hugs headed your way. xox ALSO... come visit.

Gary Lum - May 12, 2017 Reply

Congratulations and well done Anna on the new job. That’s fantastic news.
That salad looks great too.

    Anna - May 14, 2017 Reply

    Why thank you Gary, it is wonderful to be back in employ. 🙂 And the salad is great, really great.

Sanna Hellstrom - May 11, 2017 Reply

Hi Anna,

Big congratulations to the new job!!!

Looks like a stunning place to work! 🙂

Love your website!!!

Hope to meet you in person later on this year!!


    Anna - May 12, 2017 Reply

    Thanks SO much Sanna, it is very exciting and my new workplace is gorgeous. I’m very blessed! 🙂
    I/we can’t wait to meet you later in the year too. Hugs and love from the Whitsundays. xxx

Maureen | OrgasmicChef - May 11, 2017 Reply

Congratulations on the new job – I’m so happy for you and I won’t be so worried that you’ll starve to death. 🙂

That salad looks so fresh and a quick browse of the dressing ingredients tells me that this will be my new favorite salad.

Keep sharing pics!

    Anna - May 12, 2017 Reply

    Hahaha… no starvation happening here. 🙂 We had so many generous and caring people who made sure of that.

    The salad is AMAZING! Especially the dressing.

Evelyne CulturEatz - May 11, 2017 Reply

Oh Anna I am so happy for you about this new opportunity. And.under hard and sad circumstances, you learned so much as well, a strange but beautiful gift. YAY and great salad in a jar recipe, yum.

    Anna - May 12, 2017 Reply

    Thanks gurlfren! I really appreciate your kind and thoughtful comment. 🙂 And I hope you enjoy the salad, simply delicious.

Mandy - May 11, 2017 Reply

Wow! How awesome are you darling Anna! Another job so quickly. Congratulations! So incredibly happy and excited for your hon. That’s wonderful!
Gorgeous salad although one thing (and I am the least fussy person you can find) I don’t eat is anything peanut unless it is straight peanut butter or peanuts – no mixing and no heat of them legumes for me. I will splash a simple vinaigrette at your glorious salad and enjoy it as much.
Have a beautiful day – it is starting to get cold here – can’t say I am much in the mood for winter so here’s hoping it will pass quickly and as gentle as it did last year.
Love and hugs to you,
🙂 Mandy xoxoxo

    Anna - May 12, 2017 Reply

    Not gonna lie, I am beyond excited and chuffed that I am back in employ so quickly: 🙂

    Haha… any kind of dressing would work with the salad, so not to worry about your dislike of peanut dressings.

    Winter here is a balmy 23-26c, it’s gorgeous. Sending you some warmth, love and hugs. xxx

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