7 Simple Ways to Spiff Up Your Salad

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Eating salad is a great way to get in all those veggie servings that are recommended, but it’s easy to get in a rut after a while.  Here are 7 ways to add flavor and variety to your greens.


Red onion is good in nearly any salad.  It adds such a kick and contrast to the other flavors.  Chopped green onions are good too, but red onion remains my favorite.

Fresh Fruit

Add oranges (fresh or mandarin from a can), diced apples or pears.  Strawberries are also good in salads if they’re in season.

Dried Fruit

Dried cranberries, blueberries or even raisins add interesting flavor and texture to the greens.


Why should croutons have all the fun? Pull out the box of granola and give your salad a generous scattering.


Shredded swiss, crumbled feta, gorgonzola.  Adding cheese is a quick and easy way to dress up the salad.

Nuts and Seeds

Sunflower seeds, pistachios, almonds or pecans add crunch.  As a bonus, they’re a healthy alternative to croutons.

Vinegar & Oil, Salt & Pepper

Skip the bottled salad dressing.  Give your salad a shake of red or white wine vinegar and a splash of oil.  A bit of Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper finish it healthy and delicious.

How often do you eat salad? How do you dress it up and keep it interesting?

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  1. We eat salads on the side quite a bit, but we’ve been eating them as our main course about once a week lately. Whenever we have a leftover steak or extra chicken breasts, we either grill or stir-fry them and put them on a salad. You’re so right about oil and vinegar–a tasty dressing without all the fat of bottled stuff!
    Sunflower seeds are a great way to add some crunch, too.

  2. Ok now I know what I want for lunch. Yummy, great list.

  3. Lemon zest can be delicious in any basic salad. I love adding avocados to my salads. Also bagged lettuce with herbs mixed in can add a lot of flavor!

  4. I eat salad almost every day. My favorite salad of all time has dried cranberries, crumbled blue cheese, slivered almonds and thinly sliced pear over greens, dressed with oil and raspberry vinegar. If you’ve got leftover salmon or chicken, even better! When I buy fresh herb for a recipe, any leftover will often hit my salad and suggest other addons. (For instance, if I have leftover basil, I’ll add lots of tomato and mozzarella balls. With cilantro i like avocado, corn, and a sour cream-salsa dressing and so on).

  5. Like Jen we do the same thing with our leftover chicken especially during the summer months…. have it the next night over a yummy salad.

    My favorite is much along the lines of some already listed…. romaine lettuce, crumbled feta cheese, with whole black olives drizzled with EVOO and red wine vinegar and a few shakes of basil garlic seasoning. Top off with any leftover chicken breasts and we have a complete meal! Yum!

  6. I eat salad very often. Lately every time the same actually. My mother in law always said it was a good way to add the yellow of an egg with vinegar, salt, sugar and some onion. But I never bothered to cook an egg and just added some dressing right from the store.

    But one day I had no dressing and made it the way she said. And it turned out to be the best salad ever. And also very healthy for me as I hardly eat meat (not a complete vegetarian, but as good as) so the egg was a great addition, because I am also not so good at thinking about a good alternative for meat to get a balanced meal.

    I should try out the red onion and the red vinegar. Or add more cheese and seeds. And find out what granola is.

  7. I eat salad at least 5 times each week and I already do everything you listed except I’ve never tried granola in mine. I love to shave parmesan and also add chicken, bacon, or pepperoni in mine. I love grapes, apples, oranges, strawberries…the list is endless. How I love a good salad.

  8. I was at a french bistro the other day, and I had the most wonderful salad. It was a frisee salad (a lacy lettuce) with very thinly sliced veggies (which was nice because you had more tastes on your fork than just one). It also had a poached egg and lardons (big bacon bits served hot). The runny yolk was amazing with the basic oil/vinegar dressing – unique and delish!

    I also love grilled fish, chicken and meats – the hot protein with the cool salad. I also like tuna salad too 🙂

    I like try new veggies – colored peppers, radishes, fennel (yum!), grilled onion/zucchini/mushrooms, multiple lettuces in the same salad (including cabbages and herbs – like green cabbage shreds, cilantro and romaine, or butter lettuce, parsley, and napa cabbage).

    My biggest struggle is using all the various veggies before they spoil….

  9. I don’t eat salad too much because I’m not crazy about most kinds of lettuce. I do love a plate of raw veggies of all kinds with hummus for dipping.

    You know what is awesome and full of protein? Roasted chickpeas. I just boil them until tender, drain very well and toss with olive oil and a bit of salt and cayenne then spread it on a baking sheet and cook at 400 or so for 20 minutes or until browned (I’m remembering this off the top of my head so watch carefully because I could be wrong about the times).

  10. Tiffany, I eat two or three ‘meal’ salads every week. Lately I’ve been spiffing them up with four things: sauteed or wilted greens, fresh herbs (I’ve got basil, thyme and italian parsley right now,) crispy wasabi peas, and/or a tablespoon of fresh hummus mixed into my homemade olive oil/balsamic dressing. Love the dried fruit idea; I’ll have to try that next!

  11. Fresh basil tastes great in just about any salad. I love red onion, too! Yumm!

  12. Jennifer says:

    I sometimes do ethnic salads. My Italian salad has green olives, sliced pepperocinis, mozzarella cheese. My Chinese salad, has seeds, carrots, and cabbage mixed in with the greens. My Mexican salad has cheddar cheese, tomatoes, tortilla chip crumbs and thousand island. I love these but would love more variety.


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