Table of Contents
Crunchy foods are some of the best foods to eat and enjoy. We all love a good crunch! They also make some of the best salad toppings because they can add a different texture to your salad.
But did you know that crunchy foods can also be some of the yummiest high fiber foods you can add to your salad as toppings? Today we’re going to talk about crunchy salad toppings that also add fiber.
Crunchy Foods Can Have Insoluble Fiber
The telltale snap that makes (some) food crunchy is related to the insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber gives your fiber food that roughage. Think strings in your celery.
Fiber-rich foods are able to maintain their integrity and create a satisfying texture that is distinctly crunchy. So, when you savor that satisfying crunch in your favorite salad, it’s the influence of insoluble fiber that’s not only benefiting your digestion but also taking your salad to a whole new level of deliciousness.
What Are The Benefits Of Insoluble Fiber?
Insoluble fiber is actually a type of complex carbohydrate and it helps give plants their structure. The thing about insoluble fiber is that you can’t digest it.
Even though insoluble fiber doesn’t get digested, your digestive system still loves it. This is because insoluble fiber helps to clean up “shop”. Think of insoluble fiber as a little broom cleaning up shop as it travels through your gut.
Insoluble fiber (like soluble fiber) also attracts water which means it can help to soften your poop. On top of that, it also helps to bulk up your poop. This means that fiber helps with easy and effortless pooping.
Make sure to add fiber slowly to your diet to help minimize gut upset.
Crunchy Toppings Help Build a Gut-Healthy Salad
Crunchy toppings complement a gut-healthy salad perfectly because they add color and in some instances add a prebiotic food. Prebiotic foods are dietary fibers that aren’t digested but rather travel to your colon where they act as food for your healthy gut bacteria. These foods not only contribute to a healthy and happier gut but they have also been linked to a wide range of other health benefits.
I have a whole blog post on how to build a gut-healthy salad, you can check it out here.
The Best Salad Toppings
When it comes to creating a delightful and nutritious salad, choosing the best salad toppings is key. A medley of vibrant and flavorful ingredients can transform a boring bowl of greens into a satisfying, crunchy, and healthy meal.
From crunchy nuts and seeds to crispy apples, the possibilities for salad topping ideas are endless. Incorporating a mix of crunchy salad toppings not only provides a boost of fiber but also enhances the visual appeal of your salad all while adding a delightful contrast to every bite.
Without further ado, here are sweet and savory crunchy salad topping ideas that take your culinary creations to a new level of taste, texture, and nutrition.
Sweet Crunchy Salad Toppings
Apples are a prebiotic food which means it’s a special type of fiber that can help feed your good gut bacteria. You can take apples from sweet to savory.
When you dry bananas you go from something soft to something crunchy. Green bananas are a prebiotic food. Here is a banana chip recipe from Nourished Roots Nutrition using the oven to dry the chips.
Candied Pecans or Nut Clusters
Candied pecans are perfect in a salad with a little bleu cheese, yum. You may also like these honey roasted nut clusters from Craving Something Healthy.
Freeze-Dried Sweet Corn
You can use freeze-dried sweet corn as a salad topping and also baking.
Granola isn’t just for your cereal. You can also use it for your salad and the oats add prebiotic fibers. Get creative like with this cherry pecan granola from The Real Foods Dietitians.
Pear by itself can be pretty crunchy but drying it will also give you a crunch and be something a little different. USA pears has a pear chip recipe and all you need are pears, water, and lemon juice.
Pomegranates are in season around the fall and they are yummy in a salad or you can juice them too. Here are some more ideas on how to use pomegranate seeds.
Sugar Snap Peas
Sugar snap peas can either be a topping or you can slice them and use it as the base of your salad. This would be a fun way to vary up your greens which helps build a gut-healthy salad.
Whether it’s freeze-dried strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries, the crispy and light texture will add a satisfying crunch and a touch of sweetness to any salad. These fruits will also enhance the nutritional value of your salad providing fiber and a boost of powerful antioxidants.
Make your own vegetable chips by thinly slicing carrots and then baking or air frying them until they become crispy. Colorful carrot chips will provide both sweetness and crunch and are loaded with vitamins and fiber for a nutritional boost.
Savory Crunchy Salad Toppings
Sometimes you don’t want something sweet on your salad, but there are still plenty of crunchy salad toppings you can choose that will add flavor, color, and an interesting texture.
Asparagus is a prebiotic food making this a savory crunchy salad topping or it can even be the base of your salad and mixed with strawberries like in this recipe roundup here.
From raw to roasted broccoli will be crunchy either way. Cooking broccoli does help soften the fibers making it easier to digest but it can still make you gassy.
Celery is always good in a salad. If you’re celery has gone limp throw it in a smoothie. It’s a Veg World After All® has a celery smoothie recipe that uses apples and bananas.
A classic crunchy salad topping that is also good with a little ranch to dip in. Here are some more ideas on how to use cucumber.
Another classic crunchy salad topping and you can make your own with some old bread. Gimme Some Oven has a very easy homemade crouton recipe.
This topping will also give some plant-based protein which will help keep you full. You can even get spicy like with these spicy garlic edamame from Lettuce Veg Out.
Chop up some raw green beans for a crunchy add-on to your salad. If you want more ways on how to use green beans outside of your salad bowl this post has different green bean ideas.
Any type of nut really works well as a salad topping but slivered almonds are one of my favorites. If you got the time you can even make your own slivered almonds. Other nuts to consider as a salad topping include walnuts, cashews, and pistachios all of which will provide protein, healthy fats, and a boost of fiber.
Red, yellow, or orange all of these peppers will give you crunch and lots of color which means you get antioxidants too. Although I do love a good stuffed bell pepper for a hot dish with some crunch like these quinoa stuffed peppers from The Oregon Dietitian.
Roasted chickpeas are perfect in a salad and just like edamame will also add plant-based protein. Summer Yule gives us a roasted chickpeas recipe made using the air fryer.
Protein plus crunch is what you get when you roast lentils. Lentils also provide fiber and are brimming with vitamins, and minerals. They are super easy to make and The Lean Green Bean has a good roasted lentils recipe.
Different seeds will give you different flavors but you’ll get a good crunch from all of them. Sunflower seeds are a popular salad staple but don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. Try pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and sesame seeds as a crunchy salad topping for a boost of fiber and a wide range of vitamins and minerals. Here are some seed ideas with a fiber count.
Tortilla chips can make for a great taco salad. Pop some tortillas into your air fryer (like this chip recipe from Carrots and Cookies) to make your own fresh chips.
Thinly sliced and fried shallots bring a delicate crunch and a subtle onion flavor to your salads. They are also packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.
Onions add a unique and satisfying crunch to salads, enhancing their texture while providing your greens with a boost of flavor. They are also a prebiotic food and are rich in antioxidants and plant compounds that may protect your body from chronic disease.
Choosing the best toppings for your salad
Crunchy salad toppings can transform a simple salad into a delicious meal. Choosing the right crunch involves considering your personal taste preferences, texture, and nutritional value. Consider dietary preferences like vegan or gluten-free, or food intolerances as well.
The key is balancing flavors and textures that you enjoy and that complement the other ingredients in the salad. Don’t be afraid to get creative!
Amanda is a pizza loving registered dietitian nutritionist specializing in mindfulness and gut health. She quickly realized that gut health goes beyond the gut; it is also about honoring our gut feelings. She is the creator of The Mindful Gut™ which uses science and strategy to help people improve their gut health.