At the beginning of the semester, I felt motivated to eat a salad every day—or at least a few times a week. But I quickly got sick of eating the same few variations from my campus' salad bar and decided I'd have to bring my own toppings if I wanted to continue eating salad on a regular basis. After trying out some options, I've found my top choices. Here are my five favorite salad toppings that make the salad bars' vegetables a lot more exciting to eat.

Everything Bagel Seasoning

Olivia Sterenfeld

While this everything bagel seasoning is often added to avocado toast or fried eggs, people don't usually think to put it on a salad. The truth is that it improves every dish, so why not add it to your salad? It's the perfect way to add a new flavor profile to what could otherwise be a boring salad. People rave about the everything bagel seasoning from Trader Joe's, but my personal favorite is the 365 version from Whole Foods. I think it adds a lot of flavor without being overly salty. You can also try out different types of everything bagel seasonings to decide which one works best for you.

Crispy Fried Onions

I specifically love French's crispy fried onions. This garnish adds not only a salty flavor, but also a crunchy texture. Just a sprinkle doesn't make the salad unhealthy, right? It's better than getting a side of fries. After all, life is all about moderation.

Dried Fruit

pepper, sweet, berry, raisin
Angela Kerndl

I'm particularly a fan of adding craisins to my salad. They serve as a soft, chewy addition to an otherwise crunchy salad. The dried fruit also adds sweetness. Adding a few craisins to a mainly savory salad gives the meal a balanced, salty-sweet taste. Topping off a salad with dried fruit is easier than incorporating fresh fruit because the dried fruit doesn't go bad. Sometimes, craisins are served at Washington University in St. Louis's salad bar in the Danforth University Center, but, if not, you can buy them in bags that are small enough to fit in your backpack. 


herb, vegetable, nori, hash, aonori
Becky Hughes

This one is controversial. People either love seaweed or they don't even want it anywhere near them. But, if you like the saltiness and crunch of seaweed, I'd highly recommend crumbling strips of it onto your next salad. It is light, crunchy, and adds a nice salty flavor to the meal. You can even make your own.


pistachio, nut, vegetable, oil, meat, salt
Christin Urso

This addition is a salad staple for me. Basically any nut adds heartiness (and more protein) to a salad, but I find that pistachios especially have a nice crunch and are perfectly bite-sized. They also have a lot of flavor, and complement sweet garnishes (like the beloved craisin) very well. 

There are many ways to add a twist to your everyday salad, but these are some of my favorite. Out of these toppings, my most used combination is adding craisins and nuts to a salad to provide it with a variety of textures and flavors, namely salty, sweet, crunchy, and chewy. Ultimately, the perfect salad has a wide range of textures and flavors, so any approach to achieving this balance is a great way to make a salad more exciting to eat.