Today I’m sharing all of my favorite salad toppings, fillings, and more in one giant blog post. I promise you now, that if you give it a try, this just might rock your salad eating world. For the fun of it, I made you a video to show how I do this. Check it out!
While I’d like to say that I’ve always been a fan of salad, that hasn’t always been true. I’ve always tried to love eating salad, but unless I went to the trouble of making a really great salad (something that often felt like a whole lot of effort in the past), it was hard to get excited about eating a salad most days.
That all changed when I topped my salad with a handful of Fritos for the first time. I know, that sounds completely ridiculous, but I’m telling you now that Fritos are a salad game changer. Not only does that simple corn chip add great salty flavor and crunch to any salad, the Frito fits perfectly on a fork, it is bite-size, and it’s a fun way to tell all the greens that there is more to the salad life than just vegetables.
Still not convinced? I can’t even tell you how many people have snapped me pictures of their salads with Fritos on top while laughing and telling me that I’m to blame for their new found love of salads + Fritos. I swear that there really is no better way to top a salad.
There are countless ways to make a killer salad completely your own, so I’m sharing some of my favorites today. The key for me is to prep all the greens and the vegetables for the salads about once a week; I typically do this on Sunday. It takes me about 30-45 minutes, but in the end, I have lunches made for the week and that keeps my healthy eating on track without having to fuss with it during the week.
I use 6 large containers that I line with a paper towel. The paper towel absorbs moisture and as a result, the greens and other vegetables will stay fresh longer. (I use these containers and these containers to store the prepped salads.)
TO MAKE AHEAD:
(any combination of the below ingredients will keep nicely for several days in the refrigerator)
chopped greens: typically a mix of romaine, spring mix, spinach, arugula, or butter lettuce (rarely all of them, just whichever ones I have on hand at the time)
tomatoes: sliced or chopped
cucumber: sliced or chopped (I often remove the seeds, but it isn’t required)
corn: canned, frozen, or fresh
bell peppers: sliced thin or chopped small
red onions: sliced thin
green onions: sliced thin
The proteins can be made just for the salads or simply be saved as leftovers from dinners through the week. Anytime we grill steak or chicken I thinly slice the leftovers and save them for my salads. I like to cook a couple pounds of ground beef or ground turkey seasoned generously with Mexican seasoning mix (store-bought taco seasoning works great too) and then portion it into 1/2 cup servings and freeze it to use as needed. Anytime I make pulled pork, I portion the leftover pork into individual containers and freeze them to be reheated for salads.
ground beef or ground turkey: cooked and seasoned generously with Mexican spices or taco seasoning
taco meat: with black beans and corn
pulled pork or carnitas: shredded and chopped bite-size
cooked or roasted chicken: shredded or diced
hard boiled eggs: chopped
canned tuna fish: drained well
cooked shrimp or fish
beans: black, kidney, or pinto beans
cheese: shredded, diced, or crumbled
avocado: sliced or diced
fruits: diced apples or pears, orange slices, fresh berries
plenty of crunch: croutons, tortilla chips, or my personal favorite Fritos
salt and pepper
salad dressing of your choice: Italian, Poppyseed, White Balsamic Vinaigrette, and the absolute BEST Homemade Ranch Dressing are a few of our favorites.
WHEN READY TO SERVE:
Warm the protein and chop it bite-size, if needed. Add the protein to the pre-made salad greens and vegetables. Add the toppings of your choice, although Fritos are never optional. Squeeze lime generously over the salad, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Or toss with your favorite salad dressing.
(ANY COMBINATION OF THE BELOW INGREDIENTS WILL KEEP NICELY FOR SEVERAL DAYS IN THE REFRIGERATOR)
Prep the vegetables and place in serving size containers. (I use these containers and these containers to store prepped salads. Add a paper towel to each box to help the produce last longer. Place in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
WHEN READY TO EAT:
Warm the protein of your choice and chop bite-size, if needed. Add the protein to the pre-made salad greens and vegetables. Add the toppings of your choice. Squeeze lime generously over the salad, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Or toss with your favorite salad dressing. Enjoy!
Try topping your salads with these combinations:
Carnitas (or pulled pork), avocado, cotija cheese, lime, salt, and pepper
Grilled chicken, bacon, hard-boiled egg, cheddar cheese, ranch dressing
Chicken, berries, feta cheese, almonds or walnuts, poppyseed dressing
Tuna fish, strawberries, avocado, lime, salt, and pepper
Chicken or bacon, red grapes, shaved parmesan cheese, candied walnuts, white balsamic dressing
Taco meat, beans, corn, avocado, shredded Mexican cheese blend, lime, salt, pepper
* don’t forget to add plenty of crunch to each salad!
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