Salad Toppings

Last night I witnessed an unpleasant exchange on Facebook. (You: “Not on FACEBOOK! I can’t BELIEVE it!”) This was the gist: someone re-posted a comic strip that showed Jesus advocating some views that [*very very careful wording here*] SOME people, people who associate themselves with Christianity, use Christianity to defend—but views that MANY Christians find abhorrent and, when you see Jesus saying them in a little talk-bubble, it’s pretty clear those views are incompatible with and unrepresentative of Christianity. Then, Christian friends reacted to that comic strip, calling it disgusting, hurtful, anti-Christian, anti-Jesus, etc.

What was interesting was that, in the ensuing gross battle (which yet rages on, incidentally), everyone was on the same side. Are you following this? EVERYONE WAS ON THE SAME SIDE. But no one realized it! They thought they were DISagreeing! Everyone agreed that these views were incompatible with and unrepresentative of Christianity; that was the POINT of the comic strip. NO ONE, literally NO ONE INVOLVED, thought those views DID represent Christianity. If I could have pointed that out without getting involved, I would have. But you should have SEEN that mess; there was approximately 0% chance of me getting in there.

Anyway. I realize this makes for a strange pairing of subjects, but what I MEANT to talk about today was salad toppings. I am continuing in my cranky mission to increase fruits and vegetables—or rather, at this point, to KEEP them increased. When the weather gets warmer, it becomes easier to contemplate salad at lunchtime, so that is where I am heading. I brought home the BIG bag of mixed spring greens, and I am ready for topping recommendations!

Keep in mind that this is a NUTRITION salad, not in any way a WEIGHT-LOSS salad. This frees up huge swaths of delightful options, I’ll bet. Recently my sister-in-law and my sister-in-law’s sister and I shared a salad as part of an extensive and delicious snack, and it was just PACKED with yummy stuff: nuts and seeds and dried fruits and shredded carrots and apple chunks and really it was just great.

Here are some things I already have in the house:

mixed spring greens
a bag of broccoli/cabbage/carrot slaw? I don’t know, it looked interesting/hearty
shredded carrots
red bell pepper
mild yellow pickled pepper rings
frozen corn
grape tomatoes

roasted/salted sunflower seeds
raw pumpkin seeds
raw pecans
raw walnuts
roasted peanuts
pine nuts (I think)
roasted chickpeas in sea salt, cracked pepper, and chili flavors
canned chickpeas
canned black beans

dried cherries
dried cranberries
apples

eggs (I could hard-boil some)
cottage cheese
cheddar cheese
jalapeno cheese if I didn’t already eat it all
bacon bits
turkey bacon
boneless buffalo wings (I could cook a few, then cut them up)

several salad dressings: blue cheese, Italian, ranch, Caesar, probably some others
probably more stuff I’m not thinking of

 

I’m thinking just put it ALLLLL in. But what are some of your favorite combinations, or other toppings I should add to the shopping list?

69 thoughts on “Salad Toppings

  1. Sian

    I think a candied nut is delightful (pecans or walnuts), and to up the wholesome-factor you could candy them yourself (http://www.twohealthykitchens.com/2014/11/13/easy-candied-pecans-just-5-minutes-and-4-ingredients/). I also like a lot of the salad toppers they sell in stores, like fried onions or wontons.

    But really, my biggest recommendation would be to ditch the spring mix and go for baby spinach instead. It gets less soggy and holds it shape better, plus I find a big container lasts longer in the fridge than the spring mix.

    1. Alice

      Well, these were my two main recommendations, and since Sian kindly left them as the first comment, I think you’re in good hands. :) And if candying the nuts feels too decadent, you should at least try toasting and salting them – raw nuts just seem blah in comparison to me.

      I tend to follow a basic template: something sweet, something salty, and something with more protein. If I have more than 1 or 2 from any category, though, it starts feeling a bit crowded.
      – An interesting sweet thing is reduced balsamic vinegar – you can make it on the stove pretty easily.
      – Olives are a good salty thing, as are meats, cheeses and some nuts. (obv. those are all proteins too, but I always regret it when I end up with a salad without anything salty at all, so it’s a separate category.)
      – Flax seeds, hemp seeds and quinoa are all less typical protein-ey things, especially if you get bored easily.

      And health-wise, you want to make sure you’re eating *enough* fat with your salad! Some of the vitamins and nutrients are fat-soluble rather than water soluble, and so if you have the 1980’s low fat ‘diet plate’ version of things, you’re actually passing up a lot of the nutrition. :)

  2. Lea

    My favorite salad right now is – green leaf lettuce, craisins, pistachios, green apple and poppy dressing. It is really popular even in a buffet when people don’t usually take green salad.

  3. Alison

    I’m currently obsessed with an avocado/cilantro dressing found in the salad section of our grocery store (recommend!) so I’ve been doing a lot of “taco” salads. Not particularly novel, but yummy: Greens, tomatoes, corn, black beans, grated cheddar (or similar), red bell peppers, tortilla strips or just crumbled up tortilla chips, and grilled chicken. That’s going all out of course – sometimes I just have a few of the toppings around, and its still good.

  4. Jess

    Last year in our kitchen was THE YEAR OF FENNEL SALAD. It was like heaven opened up. I whack the wispy parts off, shave the bulb into thin slices, then chop the greens into crunchy bits. It’s good with Olive oil: lemon juice (3:1), salt, pepper, dill or other herb if you’ve got ’em. If you like a sweeter dressing, throw a little honey/sugar/maple syrup in there.

    Oh, man. I love that salad.

  5. nap

    I would resist the temptation to add ALL the toppings. It sounds like a good idea but in reality it just doesn’t work. Trust me…I’ve tried.

    I would try mixed spring greens, broccoli/cabbage/carrot slaw, red bell pepper, roasted/salted sunflower seeds, hard boiled egg, cheddar cheese, bacon bits with ranch or Italian dressing.

    Spring greens are so easy because they are pre-washed but I find they wilt quicker than other greens. Storing them in the crisper drawer will extend their life by a few days.

    My favorite salad is romaine, cucumber (peeled and seeded), cherry tomatoes, red bell pepper, orange bell pepper, feta cheese and garlic expressions salad dressing.

    The Mr. likes salad with warm chicken on top. I bake chicken (http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/baked-chicken-breast/) on Sunday and dice it for lunch salads. He likes romaine, green bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, cheddar cheese, chicken and “spicy ranch”. Spicy ranch is just ranch dressing mixed with salsa. He likes it spicy so I use more salsa than ranch but when I’m making it for me I use a 1-1 ratio.

    1. Jenny

      I came here to recommend those, I love those.

      Everything you have sounds wonderful. I love cheese and nuts on salads. Yum yum yum.

      Over at Smitten Kitchen she has a lot of interesting combinations I wouldn’t have thought of.

  6. Christy

    I love pecans, dried cherries, and feta cheese on my green salads. My new thing is to buy bottled Yum-yum sauce (the white sauce from a Japanese restaurant) and use that as a salad dressing. It is SO good.

    Other idea: Tex-Mex salad. Black beans, corn, cheese, and *whispers* Doritos crumbled on top. OMG, so good.

    1. SIL Anna

      I am interested in trying Yum-yum sauce! Where does one find it? Can I just buy it in the regular grocery store, or do you get it at H-Mart or . . . ?

  7. Jesabes

    Avocados, cut into chunks, are the best thing EVER on salads. So delicious. We also semi-frequently have for dinner something we got out of runner’s world (I think?) called super salads, where you put some sort of grain on your salad. We always use brown rice (just because that’s what we’ve gotten used to), but couscous or quinoa is good, too.

    1. Deedee

      Also wheat berries are a good change up from rice or quinoa. And avocado is SO good in a salad! And do try chick peas (garbanzo beans).

  8. Felicia

    My favorite salad is: greens topped with dried cherries (or cranberries), apple slices, roasted chicken, red onions, nut pieces (almonds or pecans), cheese, and poppy seed dressing. Sometimes I also put on hard boiled egg pieces too, if I’m feeling extra fancy. I love this combination and could eat it for basically every meal in the summer.

  9. Joanne

    I have a friend who makes a salad like this – she chops up iceberg lettuce and pours balsamic and olive oil over it and voila! salad! So I have been trying to help her dress up some salads like this – I add those southwestern spiced chicken packages, corn, cheddar cheese (although you could use jalepeno cheese, yum) and then I mix ranch dressing with BBQ sauce and poof we have a southwestern type salad. The Doritos referenced above sound like they would be GREAT on this salad. My go to salad has greens (I usually use Very Veggie so there are radish and carrots in it), tomatoes, bleu cheese, green olives, apples, grapes or raisins, croutons, and a dressing I make myself with balsamic, olive oil, salt and pepper, parmesan cheese, garlic and honey.

  10. Susan

    Kale! What works really well is to cook up some grain (brown rice, quinoa, mixed brown & wild rice) and, while it’s still warm, mix it with the waiting salad ingredients and dressing.

    A typical salad is kale, maybe some added spinach and romaine, craisins, some kind of nuts, avocado, chickpeas (canned are easy) and a dressing made of olive oil and lemon juice. Trader Joe’s makes a nice chopped veggie mix that I like in all kinds of salads.

    By adding the grains warm with the acidic dressing, it helps to soften the kale (which has had all the tough parts removed).

    And a sprinkling of grated or shaved Parmesan on top when serving is always a nice touch.

  11. Lobster

    I say keep an eye on the salad section of your favorite restaurants – sometimes they have just the thing you never knew you needed to make for yourself!

    My other thing I love is to make a wet mix of stuff like chopped tomatoes/halved cherry tomatoes, black olives, feta cheese, onion, peppers, and dressing (basically anything that doesn’t need to be crispy/crunchy), and keep that in the fridge. Then just throw it on top of some greens and add something else crunchy like croutons. Or if you’re going a different route, make the wet mix with black beans/rice/avocado/cheese/salsa+ranch/onions or mandarin oranges/peppers/onions/carrots/celery/ginger dressing (and then nuke a frozen eggroll and chop it up on top of that wet mix!)

    Lastly, Shutterbean (at the .com of the same name) makes a lot of salads with weird/random toppings and they always sound SO good. Browsing through her archives might give you a little inspiration.

  12. Lawyerish

    We have salads like four times a week during summer because it means no one has to turn the stove on. In addition to all the things you mentioned, here are a few more of our favorite additions:

    beets (we buy the prepared ones that come with different infusions, like balsamic and red wine or whatever)
    hard cheeses such as pecorino or manchego or goat gouda
    goat cheese crumbles
    feta
    olives — kalamata, sicilian or picholine are favorites, but canned black will also do
    chicken (Perdue Short Cuts are perfect)
    strips of deli meats like salami, ham, turkey
    shredded cabbage (adds crunch)
    crumbled tortilla chips
    canned kidney beans or black beans
    chunks of avocado

    We also have sriracha sea salt that is AWESOME to sprinkle over salads. Adds both saltiness and spice!

    I love french dressing and also honey dijon, Thousand Island, ranch (though I’m picky about which kind), cucumber-dill, and some vinaigrettes.

  13. Jenny

    All of those ingredients sound fantastic for a salad. I’m partial to the pepper rings and red peppers.

    One of my very favorite treats right now is a salad from Panera which is not remotely remotely weight-loss, but includes some good-for-you foods. What I also love about it is that it is completely filling and satisfying. They have a chicken cobb with avocado salad. Chicken, bacon (I could forget this part), avocado, a hard boiled egg. Yum!

  14. Shawna

    My basic salad for work is mixed baby greens that includes kale, spinach and lettuces (Baby Kale Blend from Walmart), grape tomatoes and balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing. I keep a container of roasted almonds and dried cranberries at work, so I toss in a handfull of those when I pour in the dressing. If I have time and the supplies, I add sliced strawberries or apples, and chunks of chicken. If I’ve got lunchmeat-type chicken I tear that up and add it, though I prefer chunks of chicken that’s been cooked (BBQ, roast, etc.).

    When I was in university I frequented a restaurant with great taco salads which were essentially an edible taco bowl filled with greens and topped with taco meat, refried beans, shredded cheese, salsa and sour cream. I don’t think there was guacamole, but I can only imagine that would complete it perfectly, and if I didn’t have the bowl to eat I’d put in tortilla chips too probably.

  15. Diane

    I don’t like pomegranate seeds on their own, but they are the best best salad topping.

  16. Wendy

    I love a good Southwest salad and Italian salad.

    Southwest:
    romaine lettuce
    corn
    black beans
    onions
    tomatoes
    diced bell pepper
    cheddar cheese
    chicken (buffalo could work here or leftover breasts)
    avacado
    crumbled tortilla chips or Fritos
    Dressing: mix half ranch dressing and half salsa

    Italian:
    romaine lettuce
    pepperoni and/or salami sliced into strips
    onion
    tomatoes
    black olives (if you like those. I don’t but YMMV)
    sprinkle of oregnao
    Feta cheese
    pickled pepper rings
    Italian dressing

  17. kakaty

    My all time favorite is: mixed greens, strawberries or blueberries, crumbled feta or goat cheese, candied walnuts and just plain balsamic vinegar as dressing. I eat it almost every day in the summer (fresh berries are key).

    Another one I eat is my favorite restaurant salad which I make at home sometimes (why oh why are salads ALWAYS better when they are made for you? The one I make is good but the one at the restaurant is at least 75% better). From the menu – Garbage Salad: mixed greens, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, grilled chicken, raisins and four cheeses (shredded provolone, shredded mozzarella, feta and fresh Parmesan), tossed with poppy seed dressing and topped off with homemade croutons and real bacon bits. At home I leave off the mushrooms and sometimes swap the chicken for hard boiled eggs.

  18. Carmen

    I love love love sunflower seeds in salad. Without them, salad is just a horrible pile of green things; with them, it’s something I might even CHOOSE to eat voluntarily. Avocado helps as well. And really, nuts of any sort. The other 2, no wait, 3 things that exponentially increase a salad’s enjoyment for me are:
    1) small chunks of cheddar cheese
    2) broccoli
    3) surprisingly, small pieces of candied ginger, the kind that’s a tiny bit sweet so it’s not too spicy. The key is to make the pieces small enough that it’s not “OMG I just took a bite of ginger” but rather “hmm, that’s a delightful hint of ginger”.

    I also like to mix it up and make taco salad sometimes (all taco ingredients in bowl (heavy on the lettuce/tomato/avocado) plus broken pieces of tortilla chips) or spinach salad (bacon, boiled eggs, spinach, with a sweet-ish sauce with honey & oil & celery seed).

  19. Life of a Doctor's Wife

    This makes me long for a salad!

    Two of my faves are:
    – red leaf or romaine lettuce
    – goat cheese
    – sunflower nuts
    – craisins
    – balsamic dressing
    Or
    – iceberg lettuce
    – crispy bacon (or crispy salami or pepperoni)
    – red onion
    – green bell pepper
    – creamy asiago peppercorn dressing

    YUM.

  20. Kara

    I think I’d take it Southwestern.
    mixed spring greens
    red bell pepper
    frozen corn
    grape tomatoes
    canned black beans
    cheddar cheese
    jalapeno cheese if I didn’t already eat it all
    boneless buffalo wings (I could cook a few, then cut them up)

  21. Kira

    Any sort of fruity vinegarette, plus greens, quartered strawberries, candied nuts, and crumbled feta cheese. Heaven.

  22. Natalie

    My office’s cafeteria has a fab salad bar. here’s the way I like it: spring mix + a little spinach. Shredded cheese, grilled chicken, sliced red pepper, mushrooms, cucumber, carrots, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, croutons, maybe those crunchy noodle things if they have them, and ranch dressing. They house-make a divine ranch dressing. I don’t like fruit with ranch, so I don’t do the apples or berries on this one.
    I like to think that since I’m having a bowl full of veggies and lean protein, then I need a little fat to even it out (hence the cheese and ranch) and a little carbs too (croutons). It’s filling but not too filling, and while I admit I eat the red peppers and mushrooms first since I don’t love them, it works.
    I also admit I hate boiled eggs. So that could sub as some of your protein.

  23. Caz

    I really like spinach or arugula as a base leaf because if it sits around for a few days and is looking like it might go slimy I can saute it with garlic/butter/lemon and the entire box cooks down to 1 cup or so and is delicious. Plus it lasts longer than the spring mix.

    When I’m making a kitchen sink salad (as opposed to a recipe salad -of which I have an entire dedicated pinterest board) I like to think of my salads with a few different elements.
    1. Base: Which leaf do I want to use? (Arugula > kale> romaine > spinach > spring mix tends to be my order from fav to least)
    2. Add a rainbow. Add at least one veggie/fruit from the red/orange/yellow category, one from green, and one from blue/purple. More is better.
    3. Add a protein. Chicken, tuna, tofu, chickpeas, beans, steak, salmon, veggie burger, whatever. This tends to be the leftover in the fridge.
    (4. Optional! Add bulk -brown rice, quinoa, croutons, pasta -generally only if there is leftover to be used)
    5. Add 1, max 2 fats: avocado, cheese, bacon, tortilla chips/wontons
    6. Texture. Toasted nuts, seeds, crasins, dried fruit etc.
    7. Dressing. Depending on the above combo decisions I’ll pick a dressing. Normally I make it myself so its an oil/vinegar/mustard/honey combination. Again my preference tends to be: oil/vinegar > asian > blue cheese > cesar > ranch

    None of these are weightloss salads either. But I do try to avoid adding TOO many of the yummy junk toppings. And try to stick within a flavour profile: Asian or Mexican or Fruit + goat cheese etc.

  24. Maureen

    I love a salad with either spinach or romaine, raw walnuts, tomatoes, some kind of cheese (goat cheese is especially delicious), and crushed ritz crackers. Henry’s Buttermilk Ranch dressing is a favorite, but a bit too thick for us, so we cut it with a bit of milk. Good thing I have salad makings in the fridge, I have a craving now!

  25. Mandy

    Some of my favorites (not necessarily all together):
    -hard boiled egg
    -grilled chicken strips (I love the already-cooked ones you can buy frozen, just zap in the microwave)
    -avocado
    -craisins
    -grapes (particularly with a vinaigrette dressing)
    -green apples
    -olives
    -sliced, toasted almonds

  26. Matti

    There is a napping two year old on me right now and I am SO hungry!

    A few of my favorite toppings for salads are:
    Pasta (I like to cook some up for the week, toss it with a little olive oil and salt and keep it ready in the fridge)
    Fresh corn cooked and then cut off the cob
    A veggie burger quickly cooked and chopped up

  27. Tara

    We love to get a crumbly cheese to put on salads – cotija or queso freco are so good. I threw a can of artichoke hearts in a salad the other day and it was so yummy.

  28. SIL Anna

    According to me, fresh herbs and fresh lemon juice make a salad taste FANCY and DELICIOUS.

    We use basil or cilantro a lot. If I use basil, I usually squeeze some lemon on there.

    The salad we eat most in the universe is:
    baby spinach (3-4 cups, I chop it up), fresh basil cut into thin ribbons (3-4 big leaves/person), juice from a wedge of fresh lemon 1/6 of a lemon, diced manchego cheese (1 oz/person), dried currants (2 heaping tbsp/person), toasted pine nuts or roasted salted pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds (1 tbsp/person), Newman’s Own Light Balsamic (1 tbsp/person).

  29. Jill

    Any leftover roasted vegetables, either reheated or left cold. The other night we had kale and some-other-lettuce from our farm box sala with roasted asparagus, leftover corn (cut off the cob from the grill the night before) chopped tomatoes, roasted potatoes (leftover and reheated), goat cheese, and leftover chicken for my husband and a fried egg for me. Tonight I need to use the rest of the greens so I’m going to sauté some shrimp and add leftover roasted corn, leftover green bean salad, and more tomatoes.
    For salad dressing we almost always make homemade, we have like 8 kinds of vinegar and a few kinds of olive oil. (you think special salt is fun to shop for, you should hit up one of those olive oil shops!) but I finally gave in and tried just pouring salsa on my salad and was surprised that it actually works and is delicious! We make fajitas and then the next night I can put the meat and veggies over a salad with some salsa and cheese.

  30. Elizabeth

    My new favorite is to make a big batch of quinoa (I cook it with garlic, in chicken stock instead of water, to give it the flavor I like) and keep it in the fridge to have on hand for salads – just toss it cold right on the veggies!

  31. Nicole

    I love a good salad bar. My favorite is a mix of romaine and baby greens topped with garbanzo beans, kidney beans, peas, a little shredded carrot and sunflower seeds, with blue cheese dressing.
    For main dish salads, I will echo both taco salad (black beans, shredded cheddar, salsa, plain yogurt, topped with crushed tortilla chips) and bacon and egg (blue cheese on this too!).
    Most of our side salads tend to be whatever’s in the fridge, but here are some combos I love: Cukes, tomatoes and feta. Sliced mushrooms, slivered almonds and goat cheese with balsamic. Beets, walnuts and goat cheese, also with balsamic. I had a wonderful salad with pickled strawberries on it, but have never made them myself. Maybe this year?
    I also love a raw kale salad similar to a Caesar: Mash a garlic clove with some salt, squeeze in half a lemon, add a pinch of red pepper flake and enough olive oil to make a vinaigrette. Slice kale into thin strips and toss with dressing. Let it sit for at least 5 minutes, then add parmesan and bread crumbs. My husband and kids will eat this and they don’t love kale like I do.

  32. Taylor

    My current favorite salad is romaine, cucumber, tomato, canned tuna, parmesan, Caesar dressing, and a dash of sriracha sauce.

  33. Andrea

    My favorite is a version of the Cheesecake Factory Chopped Salad.
    Romaine (chopped small), green apple (1/4 a large, cut into 1/4 inch cubes), tomatoes (just a handful of cherry tomatoes, cut up), blue cheese, bacon pieces, corn (1/4 of a small can, drained), avocado (1/2 or more if you like) mixed with any kind of vinaigrette (I use balsamic). Add grilled chicken if you want.

  34. Stacie

    I really like salad shrimp. Not the gross stuff from a can, but the kind you get from the deli. And imitation crab. Pair that with hard boiled eggs, a bit of crumbled bleu cheese in addition to the dressing, and a squeeze of a lemon wedge. HEAVEN.

  35. Lisa

    1. Avocado, grapefruit, candied pecans over baby spinach, with a wee drizzle of olive oil. If I could eat dairy I would toss goat cheese on it.

    2. Tomato, kalamata olives, olive oil + salt over any kind of greens. (Again with the cheese–would put feta on it.)

    3. I eat this salad once a week at Tender Greens, not sure how much success I would have making it at home: salami, golden raisins, roasted fennel, toasted chickpeas, and shaved parmesan over kale, with a garlic vinaigrette. It is SOOOO good.

  36. Gigi

    Sliced black olives, cheese is always a must…but especially mozzarella, sunflower seeds, chicken breast, sliced steak (I believe protein is essential with a salad, because it helps fill you up)…the list is endless really. Almost anything goes with a salad.

  37. Stephanie

    Lettuce
    Chopped lunch meat (honey turkey is my favorite)
    Blue cheese
    Frozen peas, thawed
    Red onion
    Tomato or strawberries
    French dressing, or simply red wine vinegar and olive oil

  38. kate

    Avocados to everything are always right. Feta, cranberries,pecans spinach. Quinoa,corn tomato avocado with a lime chili dressing is so good.

  39. EG1972

    Homemade croutons make a salad extra yummy, and they really aren’t hard. Cut or tear up ANY bread you have around, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for about five minutes at 350. We like to eat them just as snacks too.

  40. Brooke

    My favorite salad is made out of meat, so I’ll weigh in on the facebook part instead. One possibility is that some people enjoy trolling and watching others become furious, and some people enjoy being righteously angry. However, I recently held my own against a facebook smashing session, so I thought I could give some other interesting insights. I’ve noticed that certain views get smashed on facebook, to the point where the people who hold those views are reluctant to post anything about them, or even like other peoples posts that have a similar view to their own (though that is much easier to do, and much harder to argue against). It seems that the goal of facebook smashing is so that the opposing view takes too much courage to present. Sometimes I feel the need to speak out in the face of persecution. Keep in mind that facebook smashing can be a form of verbal persecution, and things might not be as black and white as you’d like to believe.

  41. paganista

    Most of my favourites have already been mentioned, but I also LOVE artichoke hearts(the jar or canned kind, already marinated in oil/vinegar, not the fresh ones), dates, figs, and fresh sprouts. I have been making my own(so easy, just a jar in the cupboard, rinse twice a day, ready in 3 days)but there are some really nice mixes available, and they’re supposed to be extremely good for you.

  42. Elisabeth

    Some of my favorites are:

    1) sliced avocado, hard-boiled eggs, bacon bits, chicken, tomato
    2) sliced avocado, some type of citrus (usually mandarin oranges), sliced carrots, nuts, and red onion.
    3) chickpeas, roasted red peppers, feta, shredded carrots
    4) sliced apples, bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, dried cranberries

    Not health-food salads, but very tasty.

    Now that you have mentioned flavored roasted chickpeas I just really want to try them! I’ve put them on my grocery list.

  43. StephLove

    We had salad for dinner tonight, just salad, so I had a lot of toppings people could select. No one had everything but there was:

    carrots, chopped
    cucumbers, sliced
    dried apricots, diced
    dried cranberries
    almonds
    pecans
    cheddar cheese, chunked and grated
    hard-boiled egg slices
    vegetarian salami, cut in strips

    I also considered slicing strawberries and vegetarian turkey but I was running out of time before Girl Scouts.

  44. Kate

    My very favorite salad combination is some sort of mixed baby greens, black olives, sliced avocado, red onion, candied pecans and mandarin oranges. Drizzled with a balsamic vinaigrette. But pretty much everything mentioned above sounds great too..

  45. Teresa

    Almost every day last week I had a salad of lettuce, blue cheese, chopped-up bacon, sunflower seeds, and raisins.

    Yesterday, I changed it up with a taco salad: crunched up tortilla chips, lettuce, ground turkey cooked with onion, salsa, and cheddar cheese. I meant to add black beans but forgot. I turns out I didn’t need it. Had it again for dinner tonight.

    Another favorite is spinach, spring onion, shredded mozzarella, dried cranberries, and pistachio bits.

    I hardly ever use salad dressing–I like it but rarely keep it on hand. A drizzle of olive oil seems to work for me. If I happen to have leftover peas or corn or other veggies around, I’ll toss them in if they seem to go with the rest of the salad, but five or so ingredients seems about right for me. That way, I can enjoy the flavor of each item.

  46. katie

    Wow. These all sound great. For me, the main thing is a cheese and a nut on all salads! any combo!

    For a FANCY salad, add a fresh herb and avocado!

    And a protein of course!

  47. Kate

    I think every salad has to have avocado, cheese (usually parmeasean, but sometimes an alternative), tomatoes, something crunchy (sesame seeds or nuts), and fresh herbs (usually dill). After that I’m all over the place, but those are my building blocks. Fresh herbs are key.

  48. KD

    I’m a big fan of making anything into a salad. Leftovers are great for this.

    Dump any of these things on a big bed of greens and veggies:
    – Spaghetti salad: sauce and some noodles (and maybe some meatballs or garlic bread if you’re feeling sassy)
    – Taco salad: everything that goes on a taco (tortilla chips for croutons!)
    – Pizza salad (my personal favorite): rip up some pieces of warmed up pizza
    – Take-out salad: leftover Chinese/Thai/Middle Eastern food!
    – Falafel and hummus

    Andie at Can You Stay for Dinner inspired me to see the possibilities with this post! http://www.canyoustayfordinner.com/2011/12/14/how-to-make-a-delicious-400-calorie-salad/

    I know you’re not looking for a weight loss salad, but here are a few things I do to decrease the calories and up the nutrition factor:
    – It only takes a little feta or parmesan to get a lot of flavor
    – Substitute plain Greek yogurt for sour cream
    – If I add hard boiled eggs, sometimes I’ll only use 1 yolk, but the whites of 2 or 3 eggs. Adds a lot of bulk without as many calories/fat/cholesterol
    – Non-traditional dressings: sometimes some salsa or spaghetti sauce or whatever is all you need– no additional dressing required!
    – Salad dressing: sometimes I’ll mix vinegar and mustard and skip oil completely. This works great with Balsamic vinegar and Trader Joe’s aioli garlic mustard (or just Grey Poupon)

    Salad “treats” I use to convince myself to eat salad:
    – CROUTONS!
    – Cheese, cheese, glorious cheese
    – Avocado

  49. el-e-e

    YES! I was just going to mention that Tess once told me about her cheeseburger salad. Haven’t read the link above but she said she just plopped the patty right there on top of the lettuce/tomato/onion.

    And I was thinking of my favorite summertime salad which doesn’t actually use the greens. I like greens, but sometimes I gotta mix things up. So this is it: black beans (rinsed/drained), corn if you like, 1 tomato chopped, 1/2 cuke diced, 1 green pepper diced, green onion if you like it, garlic salt, zesty Italian dressing, juice of 1-2 limes, cilantro. I mix up a big batch of it and eat it for days.

  50. Sara A.

    I like to use broccoli slaw for stirfry you can get a really reasonable facsimile of mooshoo chicken with a bag of broccoli slaw, shredded leftover chicken and hoisin sauce.

  51. Kalendi

    No suggestions, but love the comments. I thought I didn’t like salad but all these suggestions are making me want to have salad for lunch/dinner. Awesome, weird but awesome!

  52. Li

    I love to take a can of good albacore tuna in oil and mix it with a can of rinsed chickpeas and put it on lettuce & sliced red/orange/yellow pepper, with some salt and pepper. So darn delish!

  53. Nancy

    I have a recommendation for a salad recipe book: Salad Love by David Bez. It’s aimed at people who take a lunch to work so the recipes are not complicated and are sized for one person. There’s a recipe for each working day of the year and there’s really a great variety of flavour combinations, that would never have occurred to me to put together myself but turned out to be delicious.

    I’ve struggled for years with what to bring to work for lunch (I have competing desires for routine and variety) but since I got this book it has been salads every day and I’m not bored yet.

  54. Shannon

    I bet someone’s already said this but apples. Apples, red onion and goat cheese with a vinaigrette and chicken is so good! Very filling too.

  55. Doing My Best

    My favorite salad toppings are: grilled chicken or chopped bacon or diced lunchmeat ham, sliced black olives, raw cauliflower, shredded parmesan cheese or shredded cheddar, shredded carrots, sunflower seeds, croutons, Ranch dressing made with the powder mix but using sour cream instead of mayo.

  56. jill

    I bought some white raspberry vinegar from one of those flavored olive oil stores and it is amazing. I mix 2 t with 1 t olive oil. I can’t wait to go back and try some other vinegars.

  57. Dani

    I’m really behind and I read not a one of the previous comments. I’m just here to add or suggest some of my favorite salad toppings.

    Garlic stuffed olives
    Pecan halves
    walnut halves
    shaved parm cheese
    salt and pepper
    chunks of apple
    chunks of imitation crabmeat
    frozen peas

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