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Spice up your salad: Nutritious toppings and dressings

Say bye-bye to boring salads

From SheKnows Canada
You know salads are good for you, but are you finding it hard to motivate yourself to eat them on a regular basis? Then you aren't eating the right salads! With this guide you can start making vibrant, flavourful dishes you'll be chomping at the bit to devour.

woman at salad bar

Once you have your base of romaine lettuce, baby spinach or spring green mix, the fun can really start. Load up your leafy greens with any of these nutritious toppings and healthy dressings to give a serious flavour boost to your usual salad.

Fun toppings

Vibrant veggies:

  • Radish slices
  • Shredded carrots
  • Green onions
  • Arugula
  • Shredded cabbage
  • Diced cucumber
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Radicchio leaves
  • Endive leaves
  • Corn kernels
  • Broccoli florets
  • Sliced bell peppers (red, green, orange and yellow)
  • Red onion slices
  • Chopped button mushrooms
  • Shredded kale
  • Chopped cilantro or parsley
  • Grilled asparagus
  • Cauliflower florets
  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • Sliced beets

Protein power:

  • Pan-fried tofu
  • Shredded Canadian cheddar cheese
  • Crumbled goat cheese
  • Brie
  • Feta cheese cubes
  • Blue cheese crumbles
  • Roasted almonds
  • Bacon bits
  • Roasted chicken
  • Chopped walnuts
  • Chickpeas
  • Black beans
  • Cooked lentils
  • Boiled eggs, peeled and diced
  • Cooked quinoa brie cheese

Sweet pops of fruit:

  • Dried cranberries
  • Apple slices
  • Pear slices
  • Raisins
  • Dried currants
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Strawberry slices
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Baked butternut squash, cubed

Flavour boosts:

  • Balsamic-glazed shiitake/portobello mushrooms
  • Black or green olives
  • Toasted pine nuts
  • Avocado cubes
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Sautéed sunflower seeds
  • Roasted red peppers

Check out these fresh vinaigrettes >>

Light balsamic vinaigrette recipe

A balsamic vinaigrette is one of the healthiest dressings out there. And the 50-50 ratio of oil to vinegar and spices in this rendition makes it extra low calorie.

Serving size 1 cup


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Place all the ingredients in a resealable container, and shake to combine.
  2. Store in the fridge until ready to use.


This dressing will keep in the fridge for a long time, but the olive oil might begin to solidify. If it does, simply remove the vinaigrette from the fridge and let it return to room temperature before shaking and pouring it over your salad.

Healthy house dressing recipe

Serving size 1 cup

Recipe adapted from The Chef and The Dietitian

Have you been led to believe that thick and creamy dressings are unhealthy? Not the case! This smooth house dressing is filled with nutritious ingredients, so you can feel good about devouring your greens after drizzling it on.


  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar or honey


  1. Pulse the cashews in a food processor until they break down into a powder.
  2. Add in the tahini, soy sauce, mustard, lemon juice, water, salt and agave nectar.
  3. Blend until fully combined. Store in a resealable container in the fridge, and use as needed.

More salad recipes

Refreshing pomegranate salad
Fresh and fruity kale salad
Avocado and goat cheese salad

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