jar lunch: deconstructed sushi

I want to introduce a new feature on the blog: the Jar Lunch! It’s like a bag lunch or a bento lunch, but the next big thing is lunch packed in a good ol’ mason jar. I have to microwave my lunch at work, so metal containers won’t work and heating up plastic has me worried. We often simply fill mason jars with leftovers, but sometimes it is fun to come up with a clever jar lunch and make a big batch. Lunch for the whole family is already packed.

I am pleased to introduce the first jar lunch; it was so much fun to make. Meet deconstructed sushi in a jar:

Might as well take advantage of the mason jar’s glass with some colorful layers. Levi is currently obsessed with all things Japan. He has been considering taking Japanese in addition to German. We sometimes splurge on the brown rice sushi from Trader Joe’s, so I figured I ought to start making something at home. The beauty of this lunch is you don’t have to achieve perfect sushi rice and you don’t have to roll it. You still get all the delicious flavors of an avocado roll. It’s perfect with a side of baked tofu.

deconstructed sushi in a jar

ingredients per wide mouth pint jar:

3/4 cup cooked short grain brown rice
1 tablespoon rice vinegar*
1 teaspoon sugar
1-2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 sheet nori, cut into 1″ X 1/4″ pieces
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup cucumber matchsticks
1/2 an avocado, diced
lime juice
pickled ginger, to taste
wasabi paste, to taste

Heat the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. While your brown rice is still warm, pour the vinegar-sugar mixture and soy sauce over it and toss to combine. Let cool to room temperature. Adding the soy sauce to the rice saves you from having to lug soy sauce to school or work.

*If you use seasoned rice vinegar, omit the sugar and heat.

You can use a sharp knife or kitchen shears to cut up your nori.

I used heaping 1/4 cups of carrot per lunch, and used two medium carrots to pack six lunches. When you prep all your veggies, place the diced avocado in a bowl and toss with just enough lime juice to lightly coat in order to prevent browning.

I watched youTube videos to figure out how to cut cucumber matchsticks, and it was surprisingly easy to use the same method. One large cucumber was enough to pack six jar lunches.

Once your ingredients are ready, simply add one layer at a time and use a spoon to level and pat down each layer. If you smudge the sides of the jar, wipe the inside with a dry cloth. I used half the sheet of nori on the bottom and half on top, and finished with ginger and wasabi to taste.

You can easily move the ginger & wasabi to your lid when you eat to add as needed. For even less mess, you can cut a larger piece of nori to hold your wasabi at the very top of the jar. Or just stir the whole thing together, if that’s your cup o’ tea.




Filed under family, recipes

221 responses to “jar lunch: deconstructed sushi

  1. hah, awesome! I use jars for our lunches all the time. Especially for soups and stews! We also drink our smoothies out of our mason jars on the way to work. They are awesome food-to-go vessels and I don’t know why more people don’t use them. Although, I must say that finding wide-mouthed jars is best for eating and washing. Nice idea on the sushi too!

    • misterkrista

      Us to on the smoothies. Have you seen the new Cuppow lids you can get to sip out of? We got a couple but haven’t tried them yet.

  2. What a GREAT idea! And I love the designs on top. Anyone would be happy to be sent off into the world with a lunch full of love like that. :) AND delicious.

  3. Cassie

    This looks wonderful, even though I don’t like sushi. I love how the top looks like a flower. And what a wonderful way to use your old mason jars. YAY! I’ll have to try this with something else.

  4. LSJ

    Very clever… looks yummy… and the picture with the ingredients written on it in order next to the jar… just gorgeous!

  5. That looks so lovely! I am already a fan of jarred lunch (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jessecoug/3657773426/in/set-72157615077882937) but yours is so pretty.

    I have lunch envy.

    • misterkrista

      That lunch looks pretty amazing, too. People have been taking beverages and lunches in mason jars forever. I know this from my time years and years ago at The Evergreen State College, hah. I think this is its year to go more mainstream, though. Why spend $50 on a fancy bento set when you have mason jars lying around and you can put them in the microwave without worrying?

  6. I just found out that I could freeze my veggie and chicken stocks in mason jars…it never occurred to me to take my lunch in them. In fact, I was searching like crazy to find regular old screw on lids! Did you find them here in Oly?

    • misterkrista

      We get our canning stuff at Fred Meyer, but I think they have them at the hardware store downtown. I’m not sure if the co-op has those particular lids. We love those lids because they are BPA-free and easy to use.

  7. I love this – it’s so amazingly cute. You guys rock.

  8. Oh my gah. I take back everything bad I said about following recipes online. This. Is. Genuis.

    • We are here to convert you and bring you back to the dark side of internet recipe loving! (also, a lot of people pinned this on pinterest. i hope no one makes it and is disappointed!)

  9. I love the avocado rolls. This is a must try! They look beautiful, delish and healthy! Thank you for this great idea… :)

  10. Jennifer O.

    Hey Jen,

    I’m obsessed with mason jars too. I use them for leftovers and I freeze them for later.

  11. Scargosun

    Love it! I don’t even can and I have a ton for everything from vases to salad dressing (wide mouth ones allow you to fit your immersion blender in the top). I also bring them to the house we rent on vaca as extra glasses. When we walk to a BYO restaurant we mix up gin and tonics in the 32 oz ones, close em up then walk to the food. :)

    • They are definitely useful far beyond just canning, although we do plenty of that around here. I love the idea of gin & tonics at a BYO place! Have you seen the cuppow lids? They would be perfect – g&t in a sippy cup!

  12. Tami

    Awesome, what a great idea!

  13. Haley P

    Love it! I take a ball jar to work everyday with milk in it for my breakfast. I would LOVE more quick lunch ideas! We have a mini fridge and microwave in our office.

  14. oh my gosh, this is so awesome! the layers are so beautiful, and we all know everything tastes even better in a mason jar. going in my next brown bag lunch.

    • Haley P

      I’m going to have to look for some patterns for crocheted Jar cozies! Also, I just bought two of the cuppow lids. Haven’t tried them yet.

      • misterkrista

        We need some cozies, too! For now I use a cloth napkin or paper towel when I’m at work if I microwave the jar or take coffee in it.

  15. Supergirl

    Haha- What a creative idea. Love it.

  16. Kaela

    How do you reccomend eating this? It looks amazing!!

    • Well, what we do is lift off the top layer of ginger and wasabi into the jar lid and take one bite from along the side. Once you have that one bite, you can reach your fork (or chopsticks) down through the layers, and get some avocade/rice/carrot/nori in each bite. After you take a few bites and make a little room, it’s pretty easy to just mix it up. It looks more intimidating than it really is!

  17. Creative idea, I’ve seen many things in jars, but not deconstructed sushi! And you’re right, the layers of color make it that much more appealing :)

  18. cdk

    I love this… it’s brilliant! Thanks for the great idea!! x

  19. Insanely cool, & gives me lots of ideas – thanks !

  20. I love this idea! Will have to try.

  21. noTORIous

    I’m looking forward to giving this a try, great idea !

  22. Mary

    What a cute and colorful new idea! Now I’m going to have to try to think of other things for lunch in a jar. Thanks for sharing!

  23. Those look awesome, I am in college and always get weird looks when I bring a packed lunch to class but these will be sure to cause jealousy instead! Thanks for the idea!

  24. Emme

    Now that looks yummy!

  25. This is amazing! Absolutely love it and it would be great for children when they’re off to school as well. I think a fried rice option would be great too with a combination of layers that combine rice, ketchup, fried eggs, sauteed vegetables… ooh! I’m getting so excited just thinking about all the possibilities. Great post!

  26. Rae

    Looks delicious! Except for the wasabi. Wasabi and I will never be friends.

  27. This is wonderful! I’ve seen the jarred lunch idea before, but this one might be the one that actually gets me to try it, sounds delicious!

  28. This is a Great Idea. I need to get some mason jars first, but I can’t wait to make a jar lunch.

    • misterkrista

      Yes, get some wide mouth jars! First you’ll be drinking out of them, then taking lunch, and soon you’ll be making jam.

  29. thewondermya

    Absolutely great ! Love the idea of saving the chemicals from the plastic container, get everything a one container and see through the glass what’s in there. That is clever !

  30. I love sushi and I love this – thank you for sharing. Great idea.

  31. looks delicious! And clever! I have quite a few recipes for verrines, but I’ve never thought to put it in a jar. Thank you for opening up a whole new set of lunch ideas for me!

  32. I love bringing jar lunches to campus with me–they fit perfectly in the second water bottle holder of my backpack! I’ve never thought to do a sushi one beforeee though! How fun!!!!!

  33. its like a japanese lasagne… haha looks AMAZING though :)
    nice ideas and amazing pictures
    keep up the inspiration

  34. What a fantastic lunch idea! You’ve opened up a whole slew of possibilities :-)

  35. THis looks so good. I told my wife about this too since she loves food and doing creative things with mason jars. I love this idea since I really need a way to do lunch at work outside the normal turkey on wheat, that and the whole plastic in the microwave thing bothers me too.

    • misterkrista

      Yes, it is hard not to get in a rut with lunch. We are going to try to come up with some other good ones!

  36. Plates of Art

    This is convenient and great for carrying around! Cute idea!

  37. LegosnEggos.com

    What a wonderful idea! Looks delicious. I WILL be trying this!

  38. What an amazing idea… I would never have thought to do this!

  39. Reblogged this on The $35 a Week Project and commented:
    A brilliant cheap lunch idea.

    • misterkrista

      Thank you! Cool project! You know we ate for $5 per person per day a couple years back. It looks like you’re doing it for half that. Very cool!

  40. oldsalt1942

    I bought some sushi the other day. Brought it home and cooked it up. It tasted an awful lot like fish to me.

  41. IN. LOVE. I saw this on freshly pressed and it had my mouth watering … I may have to start posting recipes in addition to wiener dog pictures. Congrats on being featured!

  42. This is genius, and I love that it’s something that can be eaten at room temperature.

  43. Joy

    gorgeous and so clever! love it!

  44. Love this idea! Pretty too!

  45. Sarahs

    I haven’t used plastic food storage containers for many years. Mason jars and up-cycled jars. So many things come in great re-usable jars with sturdy lids. There is also a great food storage container made of glass with a plastic lid and a rubber seal.

    Soups, stews, rice dishes, cereals, casseroles…anything! LOVE the sushi idea. It is so beautiful. Not something I make but your post has inspired me to try this idea.

    Great post!

  46. What a great idea – love it!

  47. excellent idea with the jars. i just pinned this to my edibles board. well done!

  48. Joy

    Endless! How about spanish rice with beans, tomato and cheese layers? Throw crumpled chips on top with a little salsa! Mmmmm.

  49. Oh my gosh, I can’t wait to try this! I’m smacking my forehead asking why I didn’t think of that! And I’m drooling a little in anticipation!

  50. hmmm..omoshiroi nee… hahaha… i might try this someday. thanks!

  51. Pingback: Friday Reader Roundup — SoEclectic

  52. Reblogged this on wwtd? what would terripham do? and commented:
    This is the perfect idea for my Japan loving sister!

    Check out her blog! http://hilarypham.wordpress.com/

  53. Honest…no, not very keen. There is a reason why the roll type of foods (sushi, spring rolls, all sorts of European filled pasta things, etc.): the natural casing whether it’s seaweed, pasta or corn husks (for yummy tamales), imparts a flavour to the filling.

    I’m all for innovation, but to me it’s just like eating pressed rice with nothing tasty to hold around the whole sandwiched layered concoction.

  54. Deelish looking. And easier to eat than reg soosh. My husband would like this. And so would I. These photos are outstanding. Very lovely.

  55. One Loved American Girl


  56. AJ

    Nice! I just recently started making sushi and bringing it for lunch… and since I live in a remote town in the Midwest, it made quite a stir. Nowhere near as pretty as sushi-in-a-jar, though!

  57. I love using mason jars for lunches… and leftovers! The fact that they’re vertical storage makes so much sense to me. It makes me happy to see my jars stacked in the fridge, and to be able to easily throw them in the microwave and have a fast lunch! :)

  58. yuuuum! that looks great! send me one!

  59. That is genius! What a great way to enjoy sushi!

  60. frencheventgirl

    Reblogged this on My Kitchen in Provence and commented:
    This looks like a winner. Not having to roll AND it’s portable. Love it!

  61. Nice blog dear… I like it)

  62. This is super creative and beautiful. I never used my old jars for anything more than collecting fat I couldn’t throw down a drain, but this is fantastic use of the jar. Can’t wait to try it myself.

  63. I’ve just made deconstructed bircher muesli! though really I think of it as a healthy sort of trifle (been in the UK too long).

    this is such a good idea when you have distinct layers in food!

  64. Wow looks yum! But how do you reach the veggies at the bottom? Or can you only eat layer by layer?

    xx Renee

    • misterkrista

      It is easier than it looks, I think because the layers aren’t very compact. The first bite can go down the side of the jar half way into the avocado layer, and the second bite can reach the bottom. After two or three bites you can stir it up if you like.

  65. illpreparedmom

    I love sushi! I love Mason Jars – NO plastic in my house! We homeschool, so I can’t have the luxury of tempting others at work with this creation, but I can here! Thanks so much!

    • misterkrista

      Yay to no plastic! I like the plastic BPA-free mason lids for stuff that isn’t preserved because the metal lids do have some BPA.

  66. Wow! Looks interesting. Never seen this idea before. Thanks for sharing. Must try! :))

  67. So creative and healthy! Gorgeous :)

  68. I think it’s a great idea!

  69. mitzeetot

    What a great idea! Will definitely try this sometime. Thanks for sharing! :)

  70. That’s pretty impressive! I remember the times when I used to make my own sushi rolls that ends up being a mess!

  71. Reblogged this on The Balanced Soul and commented:
    Wondering how to start sustaining your Beautiful Self at work? this is a GREAT idea!

  72. Kiersten Marek

    Reblogged this on Kmareka.com and commented:
    This looks like a great idea for healthy lunching.

  73. LOVE the idea of a jar lunch! I’m definitely going to have to try this.

  74. supermom

    What a great idea! We love sushi and this would be a great way to take it to work. Not to mention, making it a very inexpensive lunch.

  75. I can’t wait to try this-Immediately!

  76. I’m also obsessed with everything mason jar right now!

  77. Genius, fun, thoughtful, delicious!

  78. This is a really awesome idea!:) Perfect for someone like me who often brings homemade lunch to work! Thanks for sharing!:)

  79. What a fantastic idea! I must be behind the times because this is the first I’ve heard of jar lunches. I love it though!

  80. indiraadams

    That is so creative! And it looks absolutely delicious.


  81. Fia

    I really like the idea about sushi in a jar :)


  82. Will definitely share this! Gracias :)

  83. This is a really creative idea! Awesome!

  84. Reblogged this on tallrayofsunshine and commented:
    Whoa! This is inspiring me for so many ideas for lunch on the go. I’ve made baking mixes in a jar (Mmmm…beer bread), yet packing my lunch in a jar never occurred to me. I may have just found my next study distraction: how many of my favorite dishes can be packed artfully into a jar. Because if you’ve seen my garage shelves lately, you know that i have no shortage.

  85. Reblogged this on The Fabulous Foodie and commented:
    What a great idea! I’m definitely trying this for lunch soon :)

  86. I love this mason jar lunch idea, really love it! I’m going to show this to my daughter (she still brings dinner to work). It’s also non-spilling when you take it in your car or in your purse! So glad to have found your post!!

  87. Umm, I don’t think I could love this idea any more! Genius. I love packing things in jars because they’re virtually spill proof, and now I can eat sushi without the stick hassle of rolling it!? I didn’t think I would ever say this, but I can’t wait for Monday!

  88. That’s so interesting and resourceful!

  89. Love love love! This is the kind of lunch I would never trade!

  90. That is creative! Thanks for sharing and for becoming Freshly Pressed.

  91. This is such a clever idea! I love sushi, but despite the best efforts of my host mom back during my foreign student days, I’m really bad at making it look nice. The jar is the perfect solution!

  92. Love this idea! Looks yummy AND beautiful!

  93. Thanks for such a clever and pretty idea. I’ve been saving jars and painting the lids black with chalkboard paint for easy labeling/beautyfication, and these are the perfect things to put inside!

  94. humblewalker

    This looks amazing! I wish I had a sushi jar right now. Mmmmm…

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  96. Love sushi, this is a great idea for “on the go” and easier than rolling my own. So cute.

  97. vegetarianinameateatingfamily

    I love this idea. I’m goint to give it a go this week for lunch.

  98. vegetarianinameateatingfamily

    Reblogged this on The Vegetarian Cook (in a meat eating family) and commented:
    Just love it!

  99. One word is enought: awsome!

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  101. kristaskrede

    awesome! I can’t wait to try it. I have been looking for other lunch options that don’t need warming and that aren’t a sandwich. Thanks!

  102. This looks so beautiful… thanks!

  103. yngshn

    This is an amazing idea! The complexity of it all yet so simple – love it. :) Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  104. Cool!
    We do have this kind of dish in Japanese food but never put in jars.
    It’s also good to add a thin shredded omlet!

  105. Dr. Jensen

    People always look at me weird when I come to school with a giant mason jar full of tea or coffee. Especially when it’s green tea because, well…it looks like I’m carrying around (and drinking!) a jar of urine. But they’re damn well useful.

    Perhaps I’ll try this (or something like it) soon, since the lunches at school are getting boring. c: The presentation is especially beautiful, you layered everything very well.

  106. Reblogged this on Sue's space and commented:
    Loved this post!

  107. chwdg10

    Love the idea! And I always thought bento boxes were creative..

  108. I know what I wanna pack this week!

  109. no this is a great idea! love your photos too. :)

  110. make that NOW, this is a great idea.

  111. Brilliant idea!
    Can’t wait to take it somewhere outside :D

  112. mmmmmm nice blog.

    Really love sushi but have had a bad reaction to seaweed…think I am allergic. I thought seaweed is full of good minerals and agreeable to all ….anyone experienced something similar before?

  113. Pink Ninjabi

    Thank you for sharing! I have been craving sushi, but not the mess. This definitely makes for easy, peasey, yummy lunches! Woo!


  114. Reblogged this on Bowl of Miso and commented:
    Deconstructed sushi looks delish and easy!

  115. Good idea and better for you than a Martini lunch.

  116. What a brilliant idea! (That Masons jar is lovely too.)

  117. izziedarling

    Bless you – this is brilliant!

  118. This looks amazing! I can’t wait to try it. :)

  119. This is a fabulous idea! Thanks so much for sharing!

  120. I love this idea! thank you for sharing :) :)

  121. ZigomaD

    Excellent ! Thank you.

  122. dmitry

    thank u so much for sharing.

  123. Love it! Just when you thought you’d seen everything… :)

  124. I love it!! What an awesome idea! I am thinking of all the possibilities for my lunches now. Thank you!

  125. this looks delicious. I’ve made my own kind of lunch in a jar, mainly because I use jars at home instead of Tupperware, haha, but deconstructed sushi- great idea! can’t wait to make this for lunch this week. thanks for posting

  126. Wow, what an AWESOME idea!!!

  127. Such an awesome idea… thanks for sharing… looks tasty~

  128. Wholly Hot Mama

    Awesome idea for those of us who don’t know how to roll traditional sushi! Will have to try this for sure!

  129. Aidyearts

    Ahaha, Wow nice idea. I have Bento and thats my cultural custom? as Japanese people do though, never seen Jur lunch. This is cool idea and wont drop or mess up like Bento when you open it. :) I would try this !

  130. junkiestew

    Great idea and they look so decorative too! It’s a shame brown rice takes such a long time to cook (not good if you are a chaotic person!).

  131. hyacinth21

    Reblogged this on eirynhyacinth.

  132. Such a good idea! Any other recipes?!

  133. This is an amazing idea! I love the visual and it’s a great way to make your own sushi without worrying about rolling!

  134. It looks beautiful & tasty!!
    Thanks for the amazing recipe, easy & fun!
    Maybe you’d like to take a look at my trend site too http://www.muymia.com where always The best Is yet To come :), BIG kiss!

  135. Love this! Really good/convenient idea. You can just pop the jar into your bag and run out the door.

  136. Oh my goodness, that looks so good! Our office is small…how’s the smell when you open it? :)

  137. Reblogged this on cibolomuse and commented:
    I like this…

  138. i can’t wait to make this! you are a culinary genius! a revolutionary!

  139. Great idea! My husband takes his lunch to work in a French glass jar with a lid we got at Crate and Barrel, but I would love to give him more variety. We have a Trader Joe’s less than two miles from us, and I think they know my first name. Where can I get the nori, wasabi, and pickled ginger?

    • misterkrista

      Some grocery stores with an “ethnic” aisle have a lot of sushi making items. Your best bet is to locate your closest Asian market, though. I had to run to mine for ginger. My regular grocery store had nori and wasabi.

  140. Reblogged this on supplementspot and commented:
    This was just to unusual to not share with you all. Deconstructed sushi is definitely next on our creative cooking night list.

  141. Pingback: Canning avacado | Sharefoto

  142. actorsdiet

    love this jar lunch idea – everything tastes better out of jars, as far as i’m concerned.

  143. looks beautiful and delicious!

  144. Sushi is amazing. I’ve been on a kick for the last two or three weeks, and it’s all I really want to eat. Especially if there is cream cheese in the roll. Or Tobiko. But I have to admit, I have way more fun playing with the Tobiko than I do eating it.

  145. Reblogged this on Addicted To Reel and commented:
    The perfect movie-watching companion – A boxed lunch!

  146. Dudes, look at all of your comments.
    Your Mother

  147. Such a great idea! I think I could actually make this!

  148. Reblogged this on poemsonaledge and commented:
    So gonna try this!

  149. Wow this looks so great. I love sushi and this is such a great convenient way to eat it on the go!

  150. Cute idea. I love all different types of bento ^.^~

  151. drugstoresource

    Jar lunches? Great idea!! Fun way to have sushi and I am thinking of other ideas for jar lunches…

  152. This looks excellent! I had something like this at a vegan restaurant in San Francisco.

  153. This is fantastic! I have been craving sushi and it’s very expensive in Copenhagen, so this is a perfect lunch for me. Thanks for the post :)

  154. So clever – and pretty!
    Deconstructed sushi—I love it

  155. I can’t get over how excited I am about this recipe.

  156. Pingback: Scrumptious Sushi Salad « my recipe resolution

  157. This is such a great idea! I just absolutely love it! Healthy, yummy, and very creative. Thanks for sharing :)

  158. Just bought supplies, and will be making these for lunches this week. So excited!

  159. iya

    i love this idea! brilliant! :)

  160. That is an awesome idea! I’ll try this in the next few days for my office lunch

  161. This is a great idea, I love sushi, and I love how unique the mason jar looks. I just started growing my own plants with my garden tower and Im always looking for new ideas!!

  162. This is beautiful! Love the idea!

  163. spiralsturn

    Awesome idea! Gunna have to give this one a definate go.

  164. Somer

    Totally making this today! So in love with this idea. Sure beats rolling sushi out yourself. Also being a vegan, it’s hard to find sushi store bought sushi that doesn’t have animal products in it. Thanks for such a great post!

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  170. Leann

    LOVE THIS IDEA! my hubby ruins so much of our plastic containers by microwaving his lunch at work. Do you know where I can find lids like in the photos? Thanks!

  171. Pingback: 100 Best Mason Jar Recipes, Tips, and Ideas on the Internet « 50 Best Recipes « Restless Chipotle

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