I'm often inspired to use different add-ins and salad ingredients when I try new restaurants; in my opinion, one sign of a great restaurant is a truly inspired salad. At home I think it's so easy to get in a bit of a salad rut, but there are a few restaurants here in Seattle that quickly snap me out of that (namely Sitka and Spruce and The Whale Wins). Hopefully you have a few in your town that do the same for you.
With many years of salad eating under my belt, below you'll find a few of my favorite way to add a little crunch. I'd love to hear about your favorites!
5 Crunchy Salad Add-Ins
- Nuts and Seeds: This is my go-to way to add crunch to salad. I love sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds. Walnuts and pecans are nice with heartier greens. Not only do they add texture, but they add a good little wallop of protein, too.
- Radishes, Fennel and Carrots: These may seem like typical salad inclusions but they're also easy ways to add crunch to any green salad or pasta salad. I add thinly-sliced radishes to pretty much anything these days and both fennel and carrots add a refreshing crunch that I particularly love in the warmer months.
- Pita or Bagel Chips: There are some nights when the salad fixings are pretty slim, and on these occasions I'll often add a handful of pita or bagel chips pieces for the extra texture, crunch, and bit of salt.
- Parmesan Crisps: An idea I discovered recently at a friend's house involved baking grated parmesan in the oven until it's fragrant and crispy — a great salad topping. To do so, grate your parmesan using a box grater and bake it in a 375 F oven for 5-6 minutes.
- Toasted Quinoa: Toasted grains are an easy way to get added crunch and whole grain nutrition. To toast quinoa: add the uncooked grain to a hot, dry pan and cook over medium heat until the grains begin popping (much like popcorn), 2-4 minutes. Shake the pan as you go to avoid sticking or burning.
(Images: Megan Gordon)