With summer well and truly here, salads are a cool, fresh and crisp alternative to slaving over a hot stove. However, eating salad day in day out can get old, unless you make an effort to keep it fresh and mix up your ingredients! One of the best ways to create delicious, fun salads the whole family will enjoy is by including salad toppers - a wide variety of tasty ingredients that can add texture, flavor, important nutrition, variety and an eye-catching twist to your favorite salad.
I used to eat pretty plain salads, often just some arugula and cherry tomatoes, or whatever I had lying around in the fridge, until my boyfriend started making me amazing salads - now I'm addicted to salad toppers! I love the variety they can add, but they can also be important nutritionally - we all know how essential it is to make an effort to eat complete proteins on a vegan diet. By topping your salad with seeds and nuts, you can include important amino acids and help to ensure your body is getting protein from a diverse range of plant sources. Here are a few of my favorite salad toppers for inspiration, but really there's nothing you can't put on a salad!
- Cranberries and sunflower seeds - the deep red color of dried cranberries always looks so striking against the greens of a salad. The sweetness of the cranberries pairs really nicely with a slightly sharper green, such as arugula. Sunflower seeds add a deep, nutty flavor and are rich in antioxidants. They help to make your salad EVEN HEALTHIER!
- Roasted chickpeas - chickpeas pack a protein punch and a tasty crunch! They're a great alternative to croutons as they give (in my opinion) a better flavor and add nuttiness to a salad. They're also delightfully crunchy and fun! If you roast your own chickpeas, you can try adding different flavors and topping your salads with those. I like roasting my chickpeas in some paprika, which adds a smokey, spicy flavor that I love on a spinach salad.
- Candied pecans and blueberries - okay, this one sounds a little wild, but don't judge it until you've tried it! It also works with walnuts, which are often used in salads (I'm looking at you, Waldorf), but at the moment I can't say no to candied pecans (who can?!). I like to buy whole pecans and crush them up a little bit myself to spread them out over the top of the salad. Add some blueberries for color and you pretty much have the perfect salad topper combination. I love this one with a light balsamic dressing.
Okay, all this talk of salad has made me hungry now. If you have your own favorite salad toppers, I'd love to hear them! The crazier the better...
Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/vegateam/5558737797/in/photolist-9tcZ5R-2fD5Cwn-2fiUHBN-7ZoJCC-YxMxuJ-2fPC5Jk-agMPNA-29azMuj-QZ52WV-2eqCWKT-2e5Fnqk-9AvuoD-S82yT9-WVkpVh-XnKhxb-2frqhqU-ZpzSN7-N7gSDP-25rxLCe-Z8Zfxr-22khGWx-25h7uoG-bmFJCA-QZ527Z-8AoPYZ-8aDbVN-