12 Unusual Salad Ingredients • Kath Eats

I’m sharing unusual salad ingredients that add nutrition and flavor – your salads will never be boring again!

Are you tired of the same old green salads that lack excitement and flavor?

I love big salads, but if they’re not full of interesting ingredients, no one is excited about eating a boring plate of vegetables. A great salad has multiple flavors and textures. And I’m a big fan of making homemade salad dressings—they’re so easy to make with ingredients you already have in your pantry, like olive oil and vinegar.

Today I’m sharing with you a delicious range of unusual salad ingredients that will inspire the way you approach your greens – say goodbye to the mundane. These ingredients will add vibrant colors, unique texture, and delicious flavors to your salads. Get ready to rethink the boring with these 12 unexpected and creative salad dressings.

Experiment with different combinations to discover your own unique salad creations!

prepare a bowl of quinoa salad with feta cheese

12 unusual salad ingredients

1. Candied walnuts

Instead of regular toasted nuts, try pecans, walnuts, or candied almonds for a sweet, crunchy touch. Here is a basic candied walnuts recipe.

2. Edible flowers

Did you know that some flowers are edible? Add a touch of color and delicate flavors with edible flowers such as pansies, nasturtiums or violets.

3. Coconut flakes

Toasted coconut flakes can add a tropical and slightly sweet element to your salad. This summery quinoa salad: toasted coconut, mint, and crumbled goat cheese add extra delicious flavors!

4. Roasted Chickpeas

For added texture and protein, try roasted chickpeas with various seasonings such as cumin, paprika, or garlic. This Greek salad would be fantastic with roasted chickpeas.

5. Pickled fruits or vegetables

Pickled watermelon rinds, beets or even strawberries can add a spicy flavor and unique touch. Here is a quick guide on easy stripping.

6. nuts

Dried fruits such as apricots, figs, or golden raisins can add a touch of sweetness to vegetables. (Although I can’t say mayonnaise-covered raisins in a Waldorf salad are my favorite, haha).

7. Algae

Add a touch of umami and ocean flavor to your salad with dried seaweed, such as nori or dulse.

8. Grilled fruit

Grilled peaches, pineapple, or even watermelon can add smoky, caramelized flavors to your salad.

9. Pomegranate seeds

These little bursts of spicy juiciness can enhance the flavor and visual appeal of any salad. Try my Ultimate Fall Wheat Cranberry Salad – it’s one of my favorite salads to bring to a fall gathering.

10. Crispy shallots or onions

you know I am No You’re a fan of red onions, but if you are, try crispy shallots or onions for a tasty, crunchy touch instead of croutons.

11. Fried potatoes with parmesan

These are one of my all-time favorite salad dressings because they are so crunchy but melt in your mouth! They are also surprisingly high in protein. I buy them at Trader Joe’s or Costco.

12. French fries

Take this one from the Chopt salad book page! I love their salads with crushed tortilla chips. If I’m craving something crunchy and I have nothing but tortilla chips, they make a great salad topper! Crush a few and sprinkle on top. Pita chips are naturally another great addition, and those thin crispy pretzels are good too!

I like to add cooked vegetables to my raw salads. Try roasting cherry tomatoes and zucchini with olive oil and salt and pepper.

My salad recipe (with somewhat unusual ingredients)

My favorite salad lately, as we transition into the foods and flavors of fall, is my Fall Harvest Salad Recipe. It’s made with massaged kale as a base and topped with roasted butternut squash, crumbled blue cheese, sliced ​​Honeycrisp apple, and crunchy spiced walnuts. A maple apple cider dressing brings it all together. I love sweet and savory flavors!

Ingredients
  • Butternut squash: either a large whole squash or a jar of cubed squash from the grocery store
  • Kale: one large head, 2 medium ones, or a bag of pre-chopped kale to save time
  • Honeycrisp Apple – My favorite, but use whatever you like!
  • Spiced Walnuts: You can also use these alone and toast them.
  • Blue cheese: Bleu d’auvergne is my favorite variety (buy it in a block and shred it yourself)
  • Cinnamon: just a little powder to roast the pumpkin

Maple + Apple Cider Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt + pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash the pumpkin, peel it, cut it in half, remove the seeds and cut it into cubes. Use a pre-cubed container as a shortcut.
  3. Spread the squash cubes on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with cinnamon. Massage the nut until well coated and bake for 30-35 minutes, until tender and golden around the edges.
  4. While the squash is baking, wash and dry the kale and remove the stems. Chop into small pieces. Cut the apple into thin slices. Crumble the blue cheese.
  5. To make the dressing, grate the garlic clove and combine all the ingredients in a jar and whisk or shake.
  6. Massage the dressing into the kale with clean hands until the kale turns bright green and softens. Let sit and marinate for at least 20 minutes.
  7. Add the kale to a large bowl and toss with roasted squash, apple, walnuts, and blue cheese.
  8. Serve as a side, a light lunch, or as a base for a salad with your protein of choice on top (i.e. grilled chicken breasts, chicken salad, hard-boiled eggs).

Find all KERF salad recipes here!

I have a ton of unique salad recipes, including pasta salads, roasted tofu potato salad, a great summer salad recipe, and so much more! You won’t find iceberg-based salads here 😉

You can also enjoy:

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