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Crunchy Salad Toppings

Stuck in a salad rut? These crunchy salad toppings are a great way to up your salad game. Below you’ll find the best salad toppings for your next salad including homemade and store-bought options.

Looking for salad inspiration? Check out my cucumber fennel salad, bell pepper cucumber salad, or apple cabbage salad.

What You’ll Love About These Salad Crunchies

  • Great on any salad – Whether you’re eating a leafy green salad, pasta salad, healthy salad, or salad bowl. These aren’t just for salads, you can use them on buddha bowls, grain bowls, or other vegetable-focused meals. 
  • Texture – The best salad toppings add a crunchy element, which is an easy way to take any salad to the next level.
  • Allergy-friendly – All these crunchy topping ideas are dairy free. There are also many gluten free and nut free options.

Crunchy Salad Toppings

1. Roasted Chili Lime Pumpkin Seeds

A bowl of overflowing seasoned roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) spilling out onto the table next to a bowl with fresh lime slices.

Crispy chili lime pepitas make the perfect snack or delicious protein-rich crunchy topping. These crispy seeds are tangy, smoky, and sweet with a little kick from the cayenne.

They add the perfect crunch to a bowl of greens, arugula quinoa saladpersimmon salad, or massaged kale salad.

2. Crispy Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)

A bowl of crispy baked garbanzo beans with a few on the counter next to the bowl.

These crispy baked garbanzo beans are flavorful, crunchy, and full of plant-based protein. They’re baked not fried making them a healthy crunchy salad topper. Plus, they’re very customizable. Season them with different flavors depending on the salad you’re adding them to.

3. Vegan Bread Crumbs

A bowl of vegan Italian bread crumbs.

Homemade vegan bread crumbs taste exactly like traditional bread crumbs. This pantry staple has a crispy texture and a flaky crumb, and is a great way to use up stale slices of bread! 

Add this crunchy topping to my Italian green bean salad or Italian artichoke salad for a little extra crunch.

4. Oven Baked Crispy Prosciutto

Slices of oven baked crispy prosciutto in a bowl.

Crispy prosciutto is one of my favorite salad toppings. It’s super crispy with a salty taste and has protein. Plus, it’s made with just 1 ingredient. If you don’t like the texture of prosciutto, this crispy prosciutto will turn you into a raving fan.

Add it to any leafy green salad, warm potato asparagus salad, or beet and butternut salad.

5. Tropical Trail Mix

two glass jars of homemade trail mix

Tropical trail mix uses a combination of dried fruits, nuts, and crunchy add-ins for a salty-sweet taste. It’s full of healthy fats and is free of refined sugar. This tropical trail mix is an unusual crunchy topping for salads, but it works well.

You get a touch of sweetness from the dried fruit, savory flavor from the plantain chips, and a little extra crunch from the nuts. It works well on simple lettuce salads such as a butter lettuce salad or a leafless salad such as fennel salad (use in place of the nuts and dried fruit) or bok choy salad.

6. Rice Paper Chips

Crispy seasoned homemade rice paper chips.

Rice paper chips are an easy snack made with just two ingredients, have a crunchy texture like potato chips, and only take a few seconds to cook.

They’re naturally gluten-free and can be made savory or sweet. Their crisp texture makes them an incredible crunchy topping for salad, but make sure to dress the salad first then crush them over the top so they don’t lose their crunchiness.

7. Crispy Quinoa

A heaping spoonful of crispy quinoa hovering above a bowl of more golden brown crispy quinoa.

Crispy quinoa is naturally gluten free, has a crunchy texture, and is full of protein. and is a great way to repurpose leftover quinoa! When roasted, its flavor becomes nutty and is a great addition to any salad.

8. Homemade Vegan Croutons

A bowl of homemade vegan croutons with some spilling out of the bowl.

Homemade vegan croutons are buttery and crunchy with a savory flavor. They’re perfect for anyone with a dairy allergy or lactose intolerance and can easily be made gluten-free.

These make a delicious topper for salads such as roasted broccoli Caesar salad, soups, and more.

9. Dukkah

Dukkah or Duqqa (pronounced DOO-Kah) is an Egyptian seasoning that consists of a blend of herbs, toasted nuts and seeds, and fragrant spices. This flavorful condiment is easy to customize. Sprinkle over the top of your salad for that extra oomph.

Enjoy it on broccoli salad without mayo or roasted Brussels sprouts salad.

9. Oven Cooked Bacon

A plate of perfectly cooked bacon fresh warm from the oven without a rack.

Once you learn how to cook bacon in the oven without a rack, you’ll never go back to cooking it on the stove. Learn my tips and tricks for achieving perfectly cooked bacon (to your preference) and the benefits of this method.

Bacon is a great salad topping adding a crispy texture and smoky/sweet flavor.

10. Quick Pickled Vegetables

Pickled red onions and cucumbers

Quick pickled vegetables add a fresh, tangy crunch to salads, wraps, and bowls. Add them to heartier salads like my Mediterranean black lentil salad, Southwest quinoa mango black bean salad, taco salad bowls, or chicken mango salad.

11. Ebi Tempura

Ebi tempura on a cooling rack with a side of soy sauce.

Ebi tempura, or shrimp tempura, is a popular Japanese dish with a light and airy crispy coating and tender middle. It’s naturally gluten-free and dairy-free and is a great way to add both protein and a crunchy element to a salad.

More Delicious Crunchy Salad Toppings 

  • Plantain chips – A great gluten free option that adds a tempura-like flavor to salads like sushi salad.
  • Crunchy chow mein noodles – great on any type of Asian salad such as bok choy salad with sesame lime dressing or bell pepper cucumber salad.
  • Raw vegetables – such as water chestnuts, jicama, sugar snap peas, or bell pepper.
  • Sunflower seeds – toast them for more flavor and add to any salad.
  • Toasted sesame seeds – add a nutty flavor and subtle crunch to any salad.
  • Crushed tortilla chips or tortilla strips – a great option for any Mexican type of salad.
  • Pita chips – use these to scoop up a vegetable salad such as shaved cucumber fennel salad or zucchini corn salad.
  • Ramen noodles – break the noodles into smaller chunks and arrange them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet or sheet pan. Bake at 350ºF for 10 minutes until golden brown, watching closely so they don’t burn. Add the toasted ramen noodles to any leafy green or cabbage salad.
  • Sweet potato chips – add a subtly sweet and savory element.

I hope you love this guide for crunchy salad toppings! Leave a comment below if you enjoyed it or if I missed a crunchy topping you love!

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