Trendy Toppings: 5 Popular Add-Ons To A Kale Entree Salad

The rise of kale cannot be understated. In the past four years alone, kale has seen a 741% rise in entree salads, cementing its status as a must have vegetable. This harsh demand for kale salads begs one question; what the heck are we supposed to use as toppings? In the spirit of popular trends, here are a few of our favorite rising stars.

Quinoa

Quinoa is the little grain that could. Once exclusively reserved for South American cuisine, quinoa has seen an explosion in popularity due to its delightful flavor, powerful nutritional profile, and culinary versatility. It’s naturally gluten-free too, making it a solid substitute for traditional grains. This had led chefs to come up with some truly delightful dishes, like the hail kale quinoa salad from our friends at Taylor Farms! 

Banana Peppers

Although banana peppers have been a popular addition to Greek salads for decades, chefs are just now starting to realize their potential in kale based salads. Banana peppers are particularly well suited to summer salads, as their seasonality lines up perfectly with tomatoes, corn, and sweet onions. For best results, be sure to incorporate a variety of textures and top with a house-made vinaigrette! 

Pomegranate 

Kale isn’t the only thing to see a sharp uptick in popularity recently; in the past year alone, pomegranates have seen an 175% rise in entree salads! Once your crack open the shell, it’s easy to see why. Pomegranate seeds have a delightful pop and dash of color that’s completely unexpected in kale salads, creating a memorable dining experience the moment the plate hits the table. We’d recommend incorporating America’s other favorite trendy food here too: avocados have a creamy bite that’s a beautiful contrast to kale and pomegranate. 

Grilled Octopus

If you’re looking to pull out all the stops and prove once and for all that entree salads deserve a seat at the table, there are few better options than grilled octopus. Aside from looking practically mythical on the plate, grilled octopus adds a unique texture and flavor that is unmatched by typical proteins. Best of all, octopus pairs well with standard kale partners like garlic and fresh tomatoes, meaning that you won’t have to keep a ton of unusual ingredients on hand. 

Shallots

Let’s get this out of the way. We love combining shallots and kale. When the sweet, deep flavor of shallots meets the earthy bitterness of kale, the two create an intriguingly rewarding flavor. We’d argue that shallots are better suited in your dressing however; when incorporated into a citrus forward dressing, shallots boost the flavor of other ingredients instead of taking center-stage. 

  • Pro Tip: Top with a sharp cheese and almonds for a better overall texture!