15 Best Thanksgiving Salad Recipes

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As you’re planning your Thanksgiving menu, don’t forget a salad. It may not get the attention like mashed potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts or stuffing, but it’s a simple way to get more color and vegetables in your holiday spread. I know many families like to stick to traditional dishes, so a salad is where you can get more creative and while still keeping everyone happy with the classics.

Save these recipes for Thanksgiving, Christmas and other fall and winter dinners.

Why You Need A Thanksgiving Salad

You can always use something fresh with all that heavy holiday food. Crisp greens are a welcome addition to any big meal. You will love the mix in these salads. They have fresh fruit and vegetables to give you that lightness to balance with everything else.

Treat your salad like a side dish. There’s no need to be formal especially if you are doing a buffet-style Thanksgiving. You don’t have to serve the salad first. It can be included in a big serving bowl with the meal. Timing the food so it is all ready at the same time is one of the biggest challenges with holiday dinners. Salads are great because they are served at room temperature or cold.

You can do the prep work in advance. Make the salad dressing a day or two ahead. Some of the ingredients can be chopped too. The key to Thanksgiving is figuring out what you can check off your list before the actual holiday.

Thanksgiving is sides-giving to lots of people. No offense to the turkey main course, but not everyone is a fan. Some of your guests are just here for the sides. So why not add a salad to the mix?

Seasonal Salads

Fall salad with roasted butternut squash and apples in a bowl.

Fall Harvest Salad

4.82 from 11 votes
With a base of chopped kale and romaine, this vibrant salad has roasted butternut squash, pecans, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries. It’s also topped with cornbread croutons.
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Roasted acorn squash salad in a bowl.

Roasted Squash Salad

4.75 from 4 votes
Colorful and vibrant with a base of mixed greens, this roasted squash salad has crunchy and sweet bites including pumpkin seeds, pecans and pomegranate seeds. It also has crumbled goat cheese. You can use almost any kind of winter squash and even go from roasted acorn squash to a butternut squash salad.
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Chopped autumn salad in a bowl.

Chopped Autumn Salad

5 from 3 votes
This seasonal salad has all the best fall flavors: roasted sweet potatoes, diced apples and pears. It has a base of chopped kale and romaine and is tossed in a sherry vinaigrette.
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Pear salad on a plate.

Pear Gorgonzola Salad

4.86 from 7 votes
This arugula salad is inspired by a cheese plate. Gorgonzola, pears and baby arugula give you a salad has strong savory flavors with the undertone of something sweet with fruit also including pomegranate seeds.
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Roasted golden beet salad on a plate.

Roasted Golden Beet Salad

5 from 4 votes
Few things go together better than roasted beets and creamy goat cheese. In this salad they are mixed with peppery baby arugula leaves and arugula vinaigrette along with walnuts.
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Kale Salads

Apple salad with kale, grapes and walnuts in a bowl.

Kale Apple Salad

5 from 3 votes
This kale salad has thinly sliced apples, halved grapes, toasted walnuts and manchego cheese. It’s all tossed in a mustard champagne vinaigrette. 
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Kale salad with roasted cauliflower tomatoes and olives in a bowl.

Roasted Cauliflower Salad

4.92 from 12 votes
You can include roasted vegetables in your Thanksgiving salad. I love this combination of roasted cauliflower with sun-dried tomatoes, Kalamata olives, feta and walnuts dressed in balsamic vinaigrette.
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Sweet potato and chickpea kale salad in a bowl.

Roasted Sweet Potato Chickpea Kale Salad

5 from 5 votes
You can never have too many sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving. For this salad, sweet potatoes and chickpeas roast together on the same sheet pan. Then they are tossed with kale, sunflower seeds, feta and lemon mustard vinaigrette.
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Brussels Sprout Salads

Shaved brussels sprout salad with cranberries. almonds and parmesan in a large bowl.

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad

5 from 5 votes
This is a salad to make for Thanksgiving or Christmas. It has thinly sliced raw brussels sprouts, almonds, dried cranberries and parmesan. If texture and bite are what you’re looking for, then you have to try shaved brussels sprouts.
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Kale brussels sprout pear salad in a bowl.

Kale Brussels Sprout Pear Salad

5 from 4 votes
The combination of sliced brussels sprouts and kale gives this salad so much wonderful crispness. It has the classic combination of pungent blue cheese and pears along with chopped almonds. It’s tossed in a sherry vinaigrette.
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Salad Alternatives to Lettuce

Herby wild rice salad in a bowl.

Lemon Herb Wild Rice Salad

5 from 8 votes
Bright and citrusy with fresh lemon juice and zest, this wild rice salad has a nutty bite thanks to the rice and pistachios. You can even make the rice in advance, so all you have to do is assemble the salad right before the big meal.
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Carrot salad with parsley-cilantro dressing in a bowl.

Moroccan Carrot Salad

4.80 from 10 votes
Blurring the line between salad and side dish, this Moroccan carrot salad is seasoned with cumin, paprika and sumac. It goes all in on fresh herbs with a pesto-like lemon dressing with parsley and cilantro.
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Apple cabbage salad in a bowl.

Apple Cabbage Salad

4.62 from 13 votes
Shredded cabbage is a fresh, crunchy choice for lettuce for salads. This one has apples, toasted walnuts and crumbled blue cheese. It has that combo of savory and sweet ingredients and is dressed in champagne vinaigrette.
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Roasted Beet Salad with Oranges and Pears

Roasted Beet Salad with Oranges & Pears

5 from 4 votes
Greens are almost an afterthought in this roasted beet salad where I mix their earthy flavor with diced pears and oranges. They are tossed with arugula, blue cheese, pistachios and citrus vinaigrette.
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Shaved cauliflower salad in a bowl.

Shaved Cauliflower Salad

5 from 4 votes
You don’t have to cook cauliflower. Leave it raw and thinly slice it for a crunchy salad. This one has pickled raisins, toasted walnuts, red onions, Parmesan and arugula tossed in white wine vinaigrette
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Thanksgiving Salad Tips

Use high-quality ingredients. This is very important for the dressings. That goes for extra virgin olive oil and whatever vinegar the recipe calls for.

Make small adjustments to suit dietary preferences and what you have in your pantry. If you have vegans, serve the cheese on the side and let your guests add it. Use maple syrup in dressings instead of honey. Also, maybe you forgot something on your grocery list. If a salad calls for walnuts, you can substitute with almonds or pine nuts if that’s what you have in your kitchen.

Wait to toss the salad in dressing until your about to serve it. You can make most if not all the components for salads in advance. Then assemble them at the last minute. You can also serve the vinaigrette on the side and let your guests drizzle it onto their own salad, but that may be tougher to do on a plate crowded with other sides and turkey.

Think about your greens. In many of these recipes, you can swap lettuce types, but try to stay with something similar. Arugula and baby spinach are pretty interchangeable, but remember that kale is a green that is heartier than both of them.

Salads are great for leftover turkey. A day-after Thanksgiving sandwich isn’t the only option. Mix shredded turkey into salads.

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Hi, I'm Paige.

Welcome to Last Ingredient where you will find simple seasonal recipes with plenty of fruits and vegetables, all for the home cook.

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