We all know that salads are good for us, which can be just the problem when actually sitting down to eat one. They’re touted as healthy and contain essential vitamins from all those veggies and that big chunk of lettuce. However, compared to some other foods, salads can be just so blasé, especially if you’re stuck in a salad rut.

Do you bring the same boring salad bowl to work every day? Upgrade your not-so-exciting lunch with these 5 rockin’ raw ingredients to ramp up your boring salad.

1. Granny Smith Apples

These particular apples add a crisp, tart burst to that boring lettuce. Health-wise, Granny Smith apples are particularly high in the flavonoids cyanidin and epicatechin, which act as antioxidants in your system and neutralize harmful free radicals. They’re also full of soluble fiber and potassium. Try these apples on this vegan chick’n salad with cranberries and pistachios.


2. Butternut Squash

Salads can have a lot of crunch to them, so throw in some creamy, soft butternut squash to play up the texture. Butternut squash is delicious served warm or cold, so use it both ways on top of your salad. Health wise, this vegetable contains vitamin A, which helps support eyesight. Try these Butternut Squash Tacos with Vegan Tempeh Chorizo.

butternut tacos with tempeh chorizo

3. Sun-Dried Tomatoes

The chewy texture of sun-dried tomatoes will provide a nice textural balance to lettuce, and their tangy taste helps hide some of the bitter taste of greens. That burst of intense taste is a nice surprise to replace those fresh cherry tomatoes on your salad. Since the flavor is so strong, you can use the dressing very sparingly and rely on this vegetable to pack in the flavor along with a bit of olive oil. Learn how to sun-dry your own tomatoes here.

5 Rockin’ Raw Ingredients to Ramp Up Your Boring Salad

4. Avocado

This premium topping tastes delicious when paired with arugula. Savor the creamy texture while getting a dose of heart-healthy fats. There are some great health benefits to adding some of this fruit to your salad. Avocados provide nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B vitamins, and folic acid. Plus, they help the body absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha, beta-carotene, and lutein. Try this grilled avocado with roasted tomatoes on top of your salad.

Grilled Avocado with Roasted Tomatoes

5. Grapes

Grapes pack all the juicy sweetness of raw fruit without having an overbearing taste on the whole salad. They’re great toppings for maintaining good health, since grapes contain vitamins A, C, B6 and folate in addition to essential minerals like potassium, phosphorous, magnesium and selenium. Try throwing purple grapes in this Vegan Kale Waldorf Salad.

5 Rockin’ Raw Ingredients to Ramp Up Your Boring Salad