60+ Salad Toppings for Endless Flavor Combinations

Don't give up on the salad scene just yet. These creative salad toppings will change the game of eating light.

Published July 13, 2023
green salad with chickpeas, cashews, and cherry tomatoes

Getting excited about eating a salad is a lot easier to do when the toppings are tasty. There's no shortage of crunchy, healthy, and delicious toppings to put on a bowl full of greens. Salads are a lot more fun when they're packed with flavorful toppings that brighten your lunch and make eating healthy a lot tastier.

Crunchy Salad Toppings

A little crunch on your salad is a must. Texture and taste have to play equal roles in the perfect salad recipe, and these crunchy toppings give you all the sensory sensations you're looking for in a salad.

  • Walnuts: Nutty and rich, they're great with fruit or cheese.
  • Sunflower seeds: Add crunch and healthy fats with these little salad toppers.
  • Crispy bacon bits: Who says bacon can't be healthy? Top your salad with a salty and flavor-packed sprinkle of bacon bits.
  • Cucumber: It adds a fresh, crisp texture.
  • Sesame seeds: They add a subtle crunch and pair well with Asian-inspired dressings.
  • Croutons: Classic salad topper that adds crunch and carries powerful herb or garlic flavors.
  • Sliced almonds: These little texture slices bring crunch and subtle flavor.
  • Apple slices: Sweet and crunchy, apple slices pair well with stronger flavors like blue cheese or a fruity dressing.
  • Sliced radishes: Peppery and crisp, radishes add a nice crunch to a seasonal salad.
  • Pumpkin seeds: Also known as pepitas, they add a nutty crunch to your meal.
  • Crispy fried onions: This one is just plain fun. You can't go wrong with crispy onions atop your salad.
  • Tortilla strips: They're crunchy, salty, and perfect on a southwest salad.
  • Granola: Perfect for sweeter or fruit-topped salads, crunchy granola makes your meal extra satisfying.
  • Shredded or chopped carrots: The signature crunch of a carrot is a traditional salad topper, and the color it adds to your dish is just a bonus.
  • Diced bell peppers: Sweet and crunchy bell peppers bring flavor to your dish without overpowering the other ingredients.

Protein-Packed Salad Toppings

green salad topped with prawns

If you really want to make your salad spill over with health points, protein is a must. You can go for traditional additions like chicken or throw in a vegetarian option that still levels up the protein in your meal.

  • Grilled chicken: Add some protein with lean, grilled chicken breast.
  • Chickpeas: Here's a vegetarian protein option that also adds textural interest.
  • Hard-boiled eggs: A classic salad topper that adds protein, don't forget to add a little salt and pepper.
  • Quinoa: Quinoa is so satisfying on a warm autumn salad, and it packs a bit of protein too.
  • Grilled shrimp: A lean protein that's great in summer salads.
  • Grilled steak strips: These make a hearty, protein-packed salad that gives you an excuse to fire up the grill.
  • Edamame: Adds protein and a satisfying crunch in an Asian-inspired salad.
  • Grilled salmon: It's a healthy, omega-3 packed protein source.
  • Cottage cheese: Adds creaminess and protein for a satisfying salad.
  • Grilled tofu: It's a vegetarian protein option that showcases any flavor you prefer.
  • Ground turkey: This gives you plenty of protein points and fits deliciously atop a taco salad.

Nutritious Salad Toppings

Salads are supposed to be healthy, right? Sure. But they also should be delicious and satisfying. These are the healthiest and yummiest salad selections you might want to try for your next nourishing meal.

  • Avocado: Healthy fats and creaminess make avocados a great addition to any salad.
  • Roasted beets: Sweet and earthy, beets pair well with citrus or goat cheese.
  • Broccoli: Try it raw or roasted. Either way, you're getting a decent dose of fiber and vitamin C.
  • Chia seeds: Use them for added fiber and omega-3s.
  • Pomegranate seeds: They're sweet, tangy, and full of antioxidants.
  • Peas: Fiber, protein, and vitamins make these a no-brainer addition to a healthy salad.
  • Blueberries: Sweet and tangy, they're great in summer salads and packed with antioxidants.
  • Microgreens: These little handfuls of flavor are packed with tons of vitamins, minerals, and protein.

Sweet Salad Toppings

grilled peaches and feta salad

When you think of salads, your mind probably jumps to crispy vegetables and savory toppings. But there's a bountiful selection of sweet additions for your salad so you can grab a nutritious meal and honor your cravings at the same time.

  • Fresh strawberries: Great in spring and summer salads, they pair well with creamy cheeses.
  • Watermelon: A small handful of cubed watermelon takes your salad from boring to a sweet summery treat, and it pairs so well with a balsamic dressing.
  • Dried cranberries: They add a sweet and tangy element to a long list of salad combinations.
  • Raisins: Golden raisins in a curry chicken salad. Need we say more?
  • Fresh pears: Sweet and juicy, pears pair well with stronger cheeses.
  • Toasted coconut flakes: These add a tropical twist and subtle sweetness. They even bring a textural element to your dish.
  • Pineapple: If you're going tropical with those coconut flakes, then you have to include sweet pineapple chunks as well.
  • Sliced grapes: They add a sweet and juicy element. If you can find cotton candy grapes, you'll have the sweetest salad of the summer.
  • Sliced peaches: Toss these on the grill for an extra-sweet and special salad.
  • Candied walnuts: Add some crunch and sweetness to any salad.
  • Kiwi slices: If you're making a fruit-packed summer salad, kiwi is a must.
  • Fresh mango: Sweet and tangy, mango pairs well with other sweet elements or alongside more savory ingredients.

Bold Salad Toppings

fig and walnut salad

If you want your salad to really pack a flavor punch, one or two strong toppings is all you need. These bold salad ingredients will ensure that your lunch is anything but boring.

  • Artichoke hearts: A hearty and flavorful addition that creates a whole new flavor profile.
  • Black olives: Briny and savory, olives add a Mediterranean flair.
  • Blue cheese crumbles: Strong and tangy, a little goes a long way. Pair with berries or apples in your next salad.
  • Fresh mint: Add for a refreshing garnish atop your dish.
  • Salsa: Pack some heat, a little acidity, and maybe even a little bit of sweetness with this daring salad topper.
  • Roasted red peppers: They add a burst of flavor and color. If you're serving a main dish with pesto, then you need this salad topper in your life.
  • Red onions: You might taste them for the rest of the afternoon, but you certainly won't regret adding them for a bold flavor profile.
  • Fresh basil: This herb adds a refreshing, aromatic flavor to Italian or Thai salads.
  • Gorgonzola crumbles: Strong and tangy, they're great with fruit or nuts.
  • Fresh dill: Aromatic and slightly tangy, dill is great in Greek salads.
  • Pickles: Whether you're making the viral Big Mac salad or just love pickles, they certainly add an adventurous flavor.
  • Fried goat cheese: It adds a creamy and crunchy element. If you don't have time to fry up the crumbles, plain goat cheese is just as yummy.
  • Fresh cilantro: If you're making a southwest-inspired salad or trying your hand at a Thai recipe, this bold garnish is a must.
  • Blackberries: They're tangy, sweet, and totally unexpected.
  • Prosciutto: This charcuterie fave feels gourmet on a bed of fresh arugula.
  • Feta cheese: Salty and tangy, it's great in Greek-inspired salads.
  • Pickled onions or peppers: The pickling liquid adds acidity and tames the bold spice of the chilies or onions.
  • Capers: They're tiny, but they pack a punch of flavor.

5 Winning Salad Combos

Get ready for a winning salad combo to make your next salad a taste adventure. Use these as a jumping off point or create your own delicious salads.

  • Arugula topped with shrimp, pear, walnut, crumbled gorgonzola, and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette
  • Bitter greens topped with grilled salmon, grilled peaches, sliced or slivered almonds, and a drizzle of lemon-dill vinaigrette
  • Baby spinach topped with grilled steak strips, pickled red onions, blue cheese crumbles, blackberries, bacon bits, and a creamy buttermilk salad dressing
  • Spring mix topped with dried cranberries, croutons, crispy fried prosciutto, and a raspberry vinaigrette
  • Butter lettuce topped with avocado slices, chickpeas, roasted beets, crisp apple slices, sunflower seeds, and a honey-mustard vinaigrette

Salads Just Got Sweeter (or Saltier)

If you've tried the salad life and weren't impressed, maybe that's because you needed to find your perfect flavor and texture pairing. With this many salad topping ideas, you'll never run out of combinations and might even discover some new and unexpected favorites of your own.

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60+ Salad Toppings for Endless Flavor Combinations