John D Lee is a chef and restauranteur living and working in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He's always loved to cook.
Salads are too often the afterthought to an otherwise well thought out meal. We put all our effort into that great cut of meat and the side dishes, and by the time we get to the salad, all we do is toss together a little lettuce and tomato and serve with bottled salad dressing on the side.
It’s OK, I guess, but it's hardly something to get excited about.
Break out of your salad rut and expand your horizons beyond the usual salad bowl suspects. Here are 73 items to toss into your next salad that’ll be sure to perk up the taste buds of everyone at your supper table.
73 Salad Additions
- Dried cranberries
- Chopped dates
- Sun dried tomatoes
- Pine nuts
- Macadamia nuts
- Pistachios (shelled)
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Candied nuts
- Sesame seeds
- Poppy seeds
- Flax seeds
- Sliced jicama
- Fried wontons skins
- Bean sprouts
- Fresh pear slices
- Roasted pear slices (see how to roast pears for instructions on getting the most out of unripe hard pears in a salad!)
- Apple slices
- Orange segments
- Grapefruit segments
- Pomelo segments
- Mango chunks
- Papaya chunks
- Watermelon chuks
- Pickles peppers, like jalapenos
- Leftover meats…whatever you’ve got going
- Fried pancetta
- Dry cured salamis, mortadela or other charcuterie items
- Sautéed shrimp
- Fresh herbs, like basil, mint or cilantro
- Cooked beans
- Fresh fennel root, thinly sliced
- Leftover roasted vegetables
- Grilled vegetables (grilled asparagus is great in a salad)
- Feta cheese
- Blue cheese
- Old cheddar cheese
- Shaved parmesan, asiagio, Grana Padano, Peccorino or other hard cheeses
- Goat cheese
- Swiss cheese (Ementhal)
- Canned or cooked black beans, white beans, kidney beans, etc.
- Cooked brown rice
- Cooked orzo, quinoa, millet, wheat berries or other whole grains
- Water chestnuts
- Baby corn
- Boiled egg
- Poached egg
- Duck confit
- Boiled potatoes
- Artichoke hearts
- Roasted beets
- Roasted winter squash or sweet potatoes
- Bamboo shoots
So get inspired and get creative and add a little crunch, a little sweetness and a little interest to your next side of the plate dinner salad.
Lena Durante from San Francisco Bay Area on May 15, 2017:
The great thing about salad is you can throw in almost anything, from leftover roasted veggies to toasted nuts to fresh cheese! I dry my own plums and tomatoes every summer from the back yard harvest, so I often throw one or the other in for a pop of sweetness.
Joanna McKenna from Central Oklahoma on August 22, 2011:
I've always liked sunflower seeds and chick peas in a green salad. A friend **always** sprinkles shelled peanuts on hers. Have tried several of the others ingredients on your list over the years. Thanks for even more things to try! ;D
blossom on February 22, 2011:
Ign Andy from Green Home Office on December 31, 2010:
The only thing that seems pretty odd is bamboo shoot. I may try this one day, who knows it may suit my taste.