10 Ways To Spruce Up A Salad

Despite the weather acting like it's summer, local produce is still in the final stretch of winter. Which gets a bit monotonous.  But there are plenty of ways to spruce up a salad mid-winter without reaching for lackluster out-of-season tomatoes.

Here are some of my favorite ways to add flavor, crunch and spice to salads. 

1. Wasabi peas or wasabi edamame:
For heat-seekers, wasabi spiced peas and roasted edamame make a great topper.

2. Speck, prosciutto or other cured meats: I love a few thin slices of good quality speck or prosciutto draped over greens.

3. Pomegranate seeds: They're like little jewels of antioxidant-rich juice.

4. Nuts and seeds: From roasted pumpkin seeds to spiced pecans, they add flavor and protein.

5. Fresh herbs: Sprinkle basil, thyme, oregano, cilantro, whatever you have on hand, on top.

6. Fennel: One of my go-tos for winter crunch, slice the fennel bulb thin and pair it with orange or grapefruit segments, a classic pairing.

7. Pickles: Inspired by Sweetgreen's seasonal salad of pickles, portobellos and goat cheese, I'm topping my salads with pickled beets, green beans and cucumbers.

8. Little fish: Try Spanish style boquerones, the tasty little anchovies sold in the fridge section at good markets and some grocery stores. Sardines or herring are also good choices.

9. Fried egg: Taking a cue from the classic French frisee salad, I'm all about a fried egg with a slightly soft yolk as a delicious salad topper.

10. Walnut oil: I find myself reaching for toasty walnut oil over olive oil these days for dressing a salad. It adds a nice nutty flavor and it's a great source of good fatty acids.