Salad Toppings Ideas will help transform your salads from good to great. These salad garnishes will take your recipes to another level, whether for a side dish or a main meal. It’s the ultimate list for what to put in a salad.
If you’re looking for some delicious salad dressings, The Best Blue Cheese Dressing and Creamy Strawberry Salad Dressing will make your taste buds happy.
If you’re ready to take your salad to another level, you’ve come to the right place. Salad toppings are a great way to add tasty texture, important nutrients, and a burst of flavor to every meal featuring greens as a base.
For the best experience creating a good salad, combine an array of colors, textures, and flavors in every dish.
Whether you’re looking to put together a salad bar or simply to make the perfect salad, this list of salad toppings will help you with your quest to get out of a boring salad rut. Try different combinations until you find your favorite ones.
Here’s a fun list of interesting and fun facts about salad.
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Here’s a List of the Best Salad Toppings Ideas
What to Put in a Salad – Fresh Fruit
Fresh apples are an easy way to add texture and crunch to your salad. Green apple slices pair well with toppings like blue cheese and toasted pecans. The green apples add a sweet and tart taste to your salad.
Although salad is a simple dish, adding oranges can take it to the next level. You can use fresh oranges or an even sweeter taste; canned mandarin oranges are a great alternative. Try my Mandarin Orange Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette for the perfect side dish salad recipe.
Fanning sliced fresh pears across an autumn salad makes a beautiful presentation. You could also cube the pears. Drizzle honey on top of the pears, dried cranberries, and chopped pistachios. A wonderful vinaigrette like this White Balsamic Vinaigrette makes a salad you can’t get enough of eating.
This versatile fruit is one of the most popular salad toppers and is always a welcome addition. Cherry tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, and vine-ripened tomatoes are all good options.
We tend to think of cucumbers as a vegetable, but they are actually a fruit. They are the perfect compliment to most salads. You can eat them raw, marinated, and even in pickled form.
Adding a healthy fat to your salad is easy with avocado. It also goes well with most fruit and vegetables.
Other Fruit Options
Fruit is a popular choice when topping your salad. Some ideas include fresh blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, fresh figs, grapes, kiwi, pomegranate, grapefruit segments, and pineapple. Lemons and lime wedges are great for squeezing lemon juice or lime juice on your leafy greens.
Good things come in small packages. Dried fruit is the perfect way to jazz up any salad. Whether you’re using plump, juicy raisins or sweet dried cherries, dried fruit gives that needed depth and flavor to any green salad.
Other dried fruit ideas are blueberries, dried cranberries, sun-dried tomatoes, and mango as a wonderful salad topper.
What to Put on a Salad – Vegetables
Bell peppers are a colorful salad topping. The most common varieties come in green, red, orange, and yellow. Green bell peppers aren’t a sweet pepper. Orange, yellow, and red bell peppers are sweet peppers. Raw vegetables like bell peppers give your salad the much-needed crunch factor.
Roasted red peppers are also perfect for little flavor bursts in your salad. You can make your own roasted peppers or buy jarred from the grocery store.
Raw sweet onions are great choices to add layers of flavor to your salad. I love adding quick pickled red onions to my salads. They are so easy to make and taste delicious.
You can also add roasted onions, green onions, diced red onion, and caramelized onions. Fried onions are also a good choice.
In the fall, roasted sweet potato is one of my favorite salad toppings. You can also use your favorite type of potato, like Yukon Gold, red potatoes, and Fingerling potatoes.
Raw or roasted corn both work well on salads. Roasted corn paired with feta cheese and avocados is a wonderful combination.
Artichoke hearts, green beans, peas, broccoli, shredded carrots, celery, roasted beets, asparagus, sweet potatoes, and roasted butternut squash are all popular salad topping ideas.
Flavorful Salad Toppings
Since mushrooms are neither fruit nor vegetable, they get their own category. Pan-seared mushrooms add an earthy burst of flavor and health benefits to your winter salads.
Adding olives to your salad gives the sweet greens a nice salty flavor. Black olives, green olives, and Kalamata olives are a few to try. You could also visit your grocery store olive bar to sample different flavors.
Healthy Salad Toppings
Some of the microgreen choices include alfalfa sprouts, sunflower sprouts, and broccoli sprouts are just some of the choices you have of microgreens. There are over 80 different types of microgreens.
Things to Put on a Salad – Crunchy Salad Toppings
Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and chia seeds are a great way to add a nutritional boost to your favorite salad recipes.
Nuts make a great choice if you want to add a bit of crunch and a healthy option for a salad topper. You can add flavored nuts, like these Vanilla Glazed Pecans, or toast your nuts to add rustic flavor and healthy fats to your salad.
Some of the most popular nut choices in salads are walnuts, pecans, pistachios, cashews, peanuts, pine nuts, and almonds.
A classic salad wouldn’t be the same without the crunch of homemade croutons. You can also buy store-bought croutons in a variety of flavors.
Other Crunchy Texture for Salad
Water chestnuts, pita chips, crunchy ramen noodles, and spicy tortilla chips or strips are all great ideas to top a salad. Crunchy fried jalapeños are another fun option. You can find some in the produce department of your favorite grocery stores.
Cheese Salad Toppers
Add cubed, grated, fried, crumbled, or sliced cheese to your favorite salad.
Crumbled feta and breaded and fried goat cheese slices are yummy salad topping additions.
Grated parmesan cheese is one of the most popular choices when topping a salad. It’s one of my favorites.
You can also make homemade parmesan crisps for a salad topping.
Cheddar cheese is probably the most popular cheese for salad in the United States. It really adds depth to every bite.
You don’t need much blue cheese to transform your salad from good to great. A little of it goes a long way.
Other Cheese Salad Topping Ideas
Mozzarella, pepper jack cheese, Monterey Jack, Gorgonzola, Asiago, and Swiss cheese are all flavorful topping ideas.
Meat Salad Toppers
Crispy crumbled bacon is one of the most decadent choices when topping a salad. Bacon bits are salty and sweet with smoky notes. Seriously one of the best salad topper ideas!
Taco salads have cooked ground beef with taco seasoning. Add diced tomatoes, onions, black olives, and cheddar cheese, and top with corn chips for a delicious meal.
Sliced steak fanned across your salad is a gourmet meal you soon won’t forget. Add some blue cheese crumbles and crispy onions for even more flavor.
Classic salads like Chinese chicken salad are one of the most popular recipes you can make. Add mandarin oranges, green onions, cilantro, and top with crispy noodles.
Grilled chicken is also a favorite salad topping. Grill a few chicken breasts on the weekend and use throughout the week in your salads. It’s a great protein source on your leafy green salad.
A turkey salad is a good idea when you’re looking for healthy diet options.
Adding cubed ham your salad is a delicious way to use leftover meat from dinner.
It’s also easy to make ham croutons. Take cubed cooked ham and add them to a frying pan with a little olive oil. Brown the ham cubes on all sides.
Seafood Salad Toppers
Roasted salmon makes a wonderful salad topping. Smoked salmon is also another option for a delicious salad.
Shrimp, scallops, tuna, and crab all work well as a topping for salad.
Tofu or Seitan
Vegetarians like to use tofu or seitan as a protein source for their salad toppings. You can transform both of these options with pan frying and spices.
Hard-boiled eggs have always been a popular choice when topping salads. Poached, soft-boiled, and over-easy eggs are now an excellent choice for topping salads.
If you’re looking for vegetarian protein ideas with fiber, cooked beans are great. Black beans, Great Northern beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), lima beans, pinto beans, cannellini beans, edamame, and even black-eyed peas are great options.
Quinoa is a healthy grain that makes a wonderful salad topping. Wild rice, brown rice, farro, and couscous are good ideas. Toasted grouts add a nutty flavor to salads.
Herbs are a simple way to add flavor to a salad without much fuss. Fresh basil, cilantro, parsley, dill, mint, chives, and fried sage leaves are a great addition to bring out the best in your salad.
Adding flowers to your salad is probably one of the last things you would think of when coming up with salad topping ideas. Not only do edible flowers look beautiful, they taste delicious.
Examples of edible flowers are squash blossoms, chamomile, rose petals, marigolds, pansies, violas, violets, lavender, and Nasturtium.
Homemade pesto is a great way to top your salad to add fresh summer flavor. You can make your own pesto with my easy recipe.
Here are popular salad toppings combinations:
Iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, crispy bacon, blue cheese crumbles, red onions, oven roasted chicken, hard boiled eggs, and tomatoes.
Chicken Caesar Salad
Romaine lettuce, garlic croutons, mild banana peppers, oven-roasted chicken breast, and Caesar dressing.
Iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, smoked ham, mozzarella cheese, red onions, green peppers, black olives, fresh mushrooms, tomatoes, carrots, and garlic croutons.
Here are the top 10 most popular salads in North America.
We’ve reached the end of the Flavorful Salad Toppings and Garnishes. I hope you enjoyed it!
Let me know in the comments below what your favorite salad topping is.
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Thursday 2nd of March 2023
Nice post.: )
Friday 3rd of March 2023
Thank you so much Gina! I appreciate the feedback. - Kelly
Sunday 26th of February 2023
I had a friend in Santa Cruz who made salad with cooked shrimp, fresh strawberries and candied pecans, SO delicious!
So many additions you mention are also good. Thanks for the ideas!
Monday 27th of February 2023
That salad sounds delicious. I'm going to have to try it. I'm experimenting with flavored nuts now. - Kelly
Sunday 26th of February 2023
I love all of these on salads, also black rice sprinkled on top, and tiny fresh spring wild dandelion greens or fiddlehead ferns ☀️
Monday 27th of February 2023
I love those ideas. I will add them. - Kelly