Alternative Salad Toppings That Are Better Than Croutons

The salad days are far from over, my friends—in fact, they’re only just beginning. Salads have more or less become the rockstars of the green scene, ever since Chipotle began to popularize big bowls of them with extra toppings of everything.

Nowadays when it comes to the leafy greens, the bigger the better, and not just quantity-wise, but presentation-wise as well. What’s on yours? A pinch of ranch and some croutons? Pathetic.

It’s times to think outside the bowl when it comes to dressing and topping your salad. Here are some alternatives to those crusty croutons:

1. Wasabi Peas


Just the right amount of zest to give your salad the kick it deserves. Plus, you’re adding an extra vegetable to your pile of vegetables, so you now have an excuse to indulge in that ice cream sandwich afterward.

2. Sriracha/hot sauce



Speaking of spicy, why not switch out your go-to dressing for some flamin’ hot sauce? You put it on everything else, right?

3. Veggie chips


May they come in zucchini, beet, kale, or other form of dried chip, veggie chips have got the crunchiness you love from a crouton, but have more flavor. You may even consider dropping potato chips entirely after dipping your toe into the alternative chip world.

4. Dried Fruit



And speaking of dried and true, throw some dried fruit into your bowl. Cranberries, raisins, craisins, cherries, tomatoes, sundried tomatoes—now we’re talking. Save the normal fruit for one of those acai bowls, or whatever you kids are making with blenders these days.

3. Roasted Chickpeas


Or any legume in general, just because they’re packed with that thing you could be lacking called PROTEIN. Black beans, kidney beans—they all do the trick.

4. Shrimp


Who doesn’t enjoy getting down with the chipmunk of the sea every now and then? Or shall I say the shrimpmunk of the sea? Take a visit down to Shrimptown? Shrimpville? I’ll stop now. But nevertheless, shrimps make top-notch salad toppers. And sometimes pets. Try them honey-glazed.


5. Pumpkin seeds


Pepitas, anyone? Unlike pumpkin lattes, pumpkin seeds can be enjoyed year round. Hear that crunch? That’s the sound of good fats and protein making their way into your body via your salad. Also, pumpkin seeds are very crunchy.

6. Nuts


It’s true! You can sprinkle nuts on edible items other than an ice cream sundae! Assuming you are free of nut-related allergies, these things are another quick and easy way to get some protein up in your biz. In fact, I'm especially nuts about those Macadamias, ya dig?

7. Cheese


We’re talking about that cheddar-gorgonzola-brie-mozzarella-goat cheese goodness! Doesn’t matter if it’s shredded, cubed, or in little crumbles — cheese beats crouton any day.