We all know that a salad is an (almost) fail-proof healthy option for any meal, but once you’ve perfected that ultimate healthy salad, it can quickly become boring. So how do you jazz up your bowl of veggies without ruining its healthful qualities?
That’s a good question, and one we’ve set out to help you answer by rounding up 15 unusual yet healthy salad additions that ensure your salad never becomes routine.
1. Leftover (or fresh) Rice & Grains
This doesn’t mean that you’re going to eat a grain-based salad. Au contraire. Keep greens as the star of the show in your salads and simply add a few leftover grains from last night’s dinner to give your salad some texture, substance, and flavor variety.
2. Leftover Pasta
Waste not, want not. Right? So just like grains, if you have any leftover noodles, go ahead and toss them into your salad.
Realistically, there is nothing wrong with consuming a few carbs during a meal, and just because you are eating a salad doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t feel full and content when you’ve finished.
There are so many types of beans that just adding this one ingredient to the mix could keep you from getting tired of your salads for weeks.
Whether you add buttery white beans, flavorful kidney beans, or black beans that complement your fire roasted tomatoes, it doesn’t matter. The beauty of a salad is the ability to mix and match flavors according to your mood.
4. Boiled Eggs
Everyone knows that eggs are protein-rich and do wonders for keeping you full.
Plus, they keep so well that you can boil a half dozen at the beginning of the week and use them for your salads all week long.
Cheap, easy, instant problem solver. If you need some protein in your salad, tuna is a no cook, easy, and versatile option. No, it’s not just for cats.
Similar to beans, edamame is a fun addition to any salad. Smooth in texture, creamy and salty in taste, there is a reason that edamame is the ultimate appetizer.
Since it’s so good, make it your main course and add it to your salad to let it be the star of the show.
If you like salty to satisfy your pallet, olives may just be the ingredient that your salad was missing. Whether they be green, black, golden, or purple, each olive has a distinct flavor profile under its brine.
Use their unique flavors to play with your salad components. The flavor combinations may surprise you.
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Anything can be pickled, and nowadays there are so many options available besides your traditional pickled cucumbers. Try pickled carrots, pickled okra, pickled beans.
You name it, they have it. So if you like a little bit of sour to balance out the sweetness of a salad dressing, pickles will hit the spot.
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If you really like the sour taste of pickles, take it up a level and add a bit of sauerkraut to your salad. Traditional Bavarian sauerkraut is made with caraway seeds, which gives a nice, earthy flavor to the sour cabbage.
Pair it with some sweet beets and you suddenly you’ll feel like you’re on a German vacation as you eat your salad.
10. Apple Chips
However, if you like sweet, add some fruit to the mix. Although apples are already naturally crispy, if you dehydrate them then each crispy bite will be bursting with concentrated flavor.
Crumble up and sprinkle some of these chips in your next salad and you’ll instantly have a taste of fall with crunch.
11. Roasted Nuts
Another crunchy option for your salads is roasted nuts. Loaded with protein, good fats, and flavor, nuts are an easy addition to enhance any salad.
Make it tropical with macadamia nuts or add some pistachios with dried cranberries for some seasonal flair. Regardless of what kind you choose, you’re sure to go nuts over the flavor.
Do you need a guilt-free alternative to croutons? Well, look no further than some good ol’ bagged popcorn.
Perfectly salted and full of texture, it’s sure to be delicious. You can even try out kettle corn for a deliciously sweet alternative to add to your salads.
13. Roasted Chickpeas
These salad toppers are available in a wide variety of flavors for a perfect complement to any salad. From cracked black pepper to cinnamon, the variety is endless. You can even learn to make them at home.
Try them on a garlicky kale salad with this recipe here.
14. Zucchini Chips
Crispy veggies on your pile of veggies? Yes, you want to try it.
It’s like having the crunchy fulfillment of a crouton on your salad with all the nutritional benefits of a vegetable.
If it’s one of those days where you’re just absolutely starving why not try panzanella? Although lettuce is still the main ingredient, there is enough vinaigrette-soaked bread to leave you feeling satisfied even on the hungriest of days.