Salad toppings are often the difference between an ordinary bowl of greens and a bright, tasty, and filling dinner you look forward to all day.
And there are so many incredible flavors and textures to choose from!
So whether you pick something crunchy and salty or sweet and juicy, you can easily dress up any salad to fit your cravings.
30+ Salad Topping Ideas To Keep Your Meals Interesting
I’ve never been a huge fan of salads. They’re often overfilled with watery, nutrient-lacking leaves and little else.
Or they’re drowned in heavy dressings that add way too many calories to keep the meal healthy.
Luckily, a ton of salad toppings can take a salad from drab to fab.
Add some crunchy veggies and nuts, or go for flavorful cheese if you prefer. Either way, you’ll be way more excited to chow down.
So, even if you’re not a big salad lover, bookmark this list for later. Because you never know when you’ll need a big salad with plenty of tasty extras.
Healthy Salad Toppings
Tomatoes are a terrific salad topping for many reasons.
First, they come in various colors and sizes, allowing you to create a visually appealing dish.
Second, they’re packed with nutrients like lycopene and vitamins A and C, so they’re delicious and good for you.
They’re juicy, vibrant, and go with pretty much everything.
Cucumbers are a refreshing and healthy addition to any salad.
They’re low in calories but high in nutrients, making them a great way to add some extra vitamins and minerals to your meal.
There’s no denying that avocados are one of the best salad toppings around.
Not only do they add a delicious creamy texture, but they’re also jam-packed with vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats.
Broccoli comes in a variety of colors, including green, purple, and even pinkish. So, this vibrant veggie can add a pop of fun color to any dish.
But broccoli isn’t just a pretty face! This cruciferous vegetable is loaded with vitamins, fiber, antioxidants, and minerals.
It’s great raw, but I like it better roasted with a touch of sea salt.
Radishes liven up greens with their crunch. And they also come in a wide variety of colors and sizes.
Just think about it: you could have a rainbow radish salad, with everything from red and purple to white. Yum!
Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A, which is essential for vision and immune function.
They also contain high levels of fiber, which helps to regulate digestion.
But what really sets carrots apart is their versatility. They work just as well in sweet recipes as savory.
Berries of all kinds – from strawberries and blueberries to blackberries – make a beautiful addition to salads.
They’re colorful, juicy, sweet, and brimming with nutrients. In fact, berries are a great source of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants.
Plus, they’re low in calories and fat.
Beyond their delicious taste, almonds are also packed with nutrition. Between the fiber, protein, and healthy fats, they’re ideal for a salad topping.
Plus, that refreshing almond crunch is really something special.
For maximum flavor, try toasting the nuts lightly to help release the natural oils.
9. Bell Pepper
Bell peppers are a popular salad topping because they’re crunchy, colorful, and full of flavor.
Green bell peppers are the most common, but you can also find red, yellow, and orange bell peppers at your local grocery store.
Add them raw, or sauté them with onions and spices for a nice kick.
Beets are full of vitamins and minerals, including folate, potassium, and fiber.
In addition, beets contain antioxidants that can help protect against chronic diseases.
Their stunning color doesn’t hurt, either!
Zucchinis come in a wide range of sizes and shapes, so you can really have fun with your presentation.
Meanwhile, their mild flavor pairs well with various other ingredients, and their firm texture helps add some body to an otherwise light dish.
Protein Salad Toppings
12. Grilled Chicken
Grilled chicken adds a delicious smoky flavor to an otherwise bland bowl of greens and provides a fabulous protein source.
And we all know that protein is essential for a healthy diet!
13. Smoked Salmon
Smoked salmon is overflowing with protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins A and D.
It also contains high levels of selenium, a mineral that plays a vital role in maintaining thyroid health.
Oh, and it’s crazy delish!
Tofu is packed with plant protein and is low in calories and fat, making it a great choice for those watching their weight.
And because it’s free of cholesterol and saturated fat, it’s heart-healthy too.
Press out the excess water, marinate it in something yummy, and fry it until it’s crisp. It doesn’t get much more yummy than that!
A single three-ounce serving of shrimp contains only 84 calories, but it provides over 18 grams of protein.
That makes them pretty and filling!
Plus, they only need a flash in the pan, and they’re ready to go.
Turkey is a fantastic source of protein and contains essential amino acids that the body needs to build muscle.
It’s also low in fat and has a high concentration of B vitamins, which are essential for energy production.
And I know you’ll have plenty of leftovers after the holidays. So why not put them to good use?
17. Pulled Pork
Brimming with protein, pulled pork is an excellent source of energy and is super hearty, so you’ll feel fuller for longer.
Whether you enjoy it plain or topped with your favorite BBQ sauce, pulled pork is sure to add a boost of flavor to any salad.
Steak is an indulgent and expensive salad topping that’s high in nutrients, protein, and flavor.
That said, a little goes a long way, so you don’t need too much. And hey, you can treat yourself every now and then, right?
19. Boiled Eggs
Just one egg contains six grams of high-quality protein. They’re versatile, easy to prep, and they act just like a dressing when they’re chopped up.
I especially love them in Cobb salads, but they work well with most salad ingredients.
Ah, bacon. Salty, sweet, meaty, perfect bacon.
It’s the ultimate salad topper and always a winner – no matter what else is in the bowl.
Chop it up nice and small, so you get a little taste in every bite.
Black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo seeds…there’s plenty to choose from, and they’re all loaded with fiber and protein.
Beans will add texture and color to your salad, and they’ll help to keep you full.
Plus, they’re pretty budget-friendly, so you can make a hearty dinner without breaking the bank.
22. Feta Cheese
Feta cheese is made from sheep’s milk and has a strong, salty flavor.
It’s often found cubed, but if you get a block, it’s easy enough to add crumbles to your dish.
23. Cheddar Cheese
This versatile cheese is rich in protein and calcium and contains several other essential nutrients.
Depending on your preferences, you can find cheddar mild or mature. I prefer the latter since it has a more robust flavor.
24. Parmesan Cheese
Parmesan cheese is the perfect topping for a healthy salad.
Not only does it add a delicious flavor, but it also provides a good source of protein and calcium.
It’s a hard, dry cheese with a strong, nutty flavor that goes well with salads and most extras.
(For a vegan alternative, try adding nutritional yeast instead.)
25. Gouda Cheese
Gouda cheese is high in protein and calcium and contains various vitamins and minerals.
Moreover, it has a mild, nutty flavor that pairs well with a wide range of fruits and veggies.
26. Manchego Cheese
One ounce of manchego cheese contains seven grams of protein and nine grams of fat, making it a terrific source of energy.
It’s also firm, flavorful, and super tasty with creamy dressings.
Top tip: keep the rind and use it to make yummy sauces!
Fruit Salad Toppings
Strawberry salads are bright, fresh, sweet, and oh-so-scrummy.
The fruit is super vibrant, and the juices coat the other ingredients with plenty of sweet flavor.
They’re best in salads with dark leafy greens and balsamic glaze.
Blueberries are a top source of fiber, vitamins C and K, and manganese.
Plus, they have a low glycemic index, making them a good choice for people with diabetes.
Better yet, they’re colorful, sweet, and work really well with chicken and feta.
29. Mandarin Oranges
Mandarins are sweet, colorful, juicy, low in calories, and fat-free.
They’re such a fabulous salad topper because they bring so much incredible flavor without a ton of unnecessary calories.
Oh, and they’re an excellent source of vitamin C, providing over 30% of the daily recommended value in just one fruit.
Crisp, sweet-tart apples are the ideal crunchy topping for a bowl of leafy greens.
They add a hint of acidity that’ll make your mouth water and contrast softer ingredients (like chicken and cheese) to give you a better bite.
And, of course, apples contain nutrients like fiber and vitamin C.
31. Dried Cranberries
Dried cranberries add irresistible sweetness and a pop of color to any salad. I particularly love their chewy texture and like them with nuts and leftover turkey.
They’re also packed with nutrients like fiber, Vitamin C, and antioxidants.
Popular Crunchy Salad Toppings
Crunchy, buttery, nutty, and full of goodness, nuts are some of the best salad toppings you can pick.
Choose from pecans, peanuts, Brazil nuts, pistachios, and more! They’re all yummy, and they’re all crunchy.
The humble crouton may not seem like much, but it can be a powerful weapon in the battle against salad boredom.
They’re wonderfully crunchy and such an easy way to add more flavor to your salads.
I like to make my own with lots of salt, pepper, and a little garlic. It’s a fun way to use up leftover bread!
34. Pita Chips
Pita chips are the perfect salad topping because they add a satisfying crunch to every bite.
And depending on the type of salad, they act like chips, allowing you to scoop up all the yumminess.
When it comes to salads, pita chips are the unsung heroes of the topping world.
35. Tortilla Strips
Again, tortilla strips are ideal for a bit of added crunch.
But beyond that, they’re also cheap, tasty, and super easy to make at home.
Just slice some tortillas, spray with cooking oil, add some herbs and spices, and bake until crisp.
Seeds are a nutritional powerhouse of crunchy goodness.
For example, pumpkin seeds are a good source of magnesium, which is essential for bone health.
Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant.
And let’s not forget about the humble sesame seed, which is chock-full of copper, a mineral that plays an important role in supporting the immune system.
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