…because it’s a marathon, not a sprint
Turkey and traditional aspects get all their glory at Thanksgiving. What’s not to love about potatoes, gravy, and a steaming basket of rolls? But gobbling them down can make us feel, well, full. That’s why we always strive for a little balance when planning holiday meals—and that means adding some special vegetable side dishes to the menu. Salad may not be at the top of the list when planning your feast, but it makes a wonderful first course along with an appetizer. And, when special ingredients like nuts, fruit, and cheese are added, it’s just as indulgent as any other option. Take this chopped salad for example. It’s an ode to all of our favorite fall flavors: roasted pecans, sweet roasted squash, savory bacon, dried cranberries, and hearty Brussels sprouts. Best of all, this colorful salad is easy to enjoy with a spoon, making it perfect for large family gatherings where bowls are passed around the table.
Get the Recipe: Thanksgiving Spoon Salad
Pomegranate and Arugula Salad
Taylor garnishes this fall salad with a homemade vinaigrette and tops it with fresh pomegranates and walnuts.
Get the Recipe: Pomegranate, Arugula Salad
Roasted Acorn Squash and Portobello Mushroom Salad with Endives, Apples and Pumpkin Seeds
This salad uses all your favorite fall ingredients: roasted squash and mushrooms, tart apples and pumpkin seeds.
Get the Recipe: Roasted Acorn Squash and Portobello Mushroom Salad with Endives, Apples, and Pumpkin Seeds
Pear and Blue Cheese Salad
Sprinkle toasted walnuts, pecans, almonds or cashews over a crunchy pear, watercress and arugula salad.
Get the Recipe: Pear and Blue Cheese Salad
Crunchy Sweet Brussels Sprouts Salad
Instead of eating whole Brussels sprouts this year, try chopping them up and tossing them with crunchy chopped walnuts and sweet dried cranberries. While the bean sprouts are sautéing, add some nutmeg for a hint of fall spice and aroma.
Get the Recipe: Crunchy Sweet Brussels Sprouts Salad
Barefoot Contessa’s Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
For a salad full of fall flavors, top baby arugula with roasted butternut squash and slices of nutty Parmesan.
Get the Recipe: Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Apple Cider Vinaigrette
Colorful Crunch Salad
Katie’s salad is a great mix of flavors: She combines four different greens, sweet apples and pistachios to create this crunchy salad. The whole thing ends with a creamy peanut butter sauce. If you have an almost empty jar of peanut butter, use it to make the dressing—just pour in the remaining ingredients and shake.
Get the Recipe: Color Crunch Salad
This salad is packed with rich fall flavors and textures, earthy pecans, crispy sweet apples, sharp cheddar cheese, chewy dried cranberries and everyone’s favorite topping: crispy fried onions.
Get the Recipe: Thanksgiving Salad
Green Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette
The key to this salad is the cranberry vinaigrette: it’s sweet, slightly tart, and energizes the dish. The berries are poached in honey and water, then mixed with olive oil and vinegar for a smooth, silky dressing.
Get the Recipe: Green Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette
Sweet and Salty Kale Salad
Watch out, turkey: Giada’s delicious salad is sure to steal the show. She takes it to the next level by combining roasted sweet potatoes and pearl onions with kale, apple, and pomegranate vinaigrette.
Get the Recipe: Sweet and Salty Kale Salad
Butternut Squash and Sausage Salad
Add sweet Italian sausage for a hearty twist on the ultimate fall salad. It’s hefty enough to hold you through until turkey time, but not so heavy that you’ll skip the mashed potatoes.
Get the Recipe: Butternut Squash and Sausage Salad
Valerie’s colorful salad is the perfect combination of baby green beans, corn, and ripe tomatoes. Seasonal spices like sage and nutmeg add a touch of comfort to any Thanksgiving table.
Get the Recipe: Juicy Salad
Smoked Arugula and Apple Salad
“A homemade dressing always takes a simple salad to the next level,” says Giada. To create this simple dressing, she tosses together whole-grain mustard, olive oil, and apple cider vinegar. Don’t have an apple on hand? This salad is also great with pears.
Get the Recipe: Smoked Arugula and Apple Salad
Spinach Salad with Garlic Dressing
Treat your taste buds to Trisha’s spinach salad. She adds crispy bacon to the smoked shortbread, then rounds out the dish with a quick garlic vinaigrette.
Get the Recipe: Spinach Salad with Garlic Dressing
Whipped Cream Green Bean Salad
A salad of crisp-tender green beans, a mustard-creamy whipped cream dressing, and a bunch of fresh herbs tops any leafy green contender among Thanksgiving side dishes.
Get the Recipe: Whipped Green Bean Salad
Warm Brussels Sprout Salad
Valerie’s hot salad couldn’t be easier—she sautes the smoked pancetta, then cooks the Brussels sprouts in the same pot. A drizzle of red wine vinegar is the only spice this delicious dish needs.
Get the Recipe: Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad
Pear, Celery and Farro Salad
Already have a lot of veggies for Thanksgiving? Try this grain-filled recipe. Farro makes a heart-healthy salad base, while pear and celery add fresh flavor and delicious crunch.
Get the Recipe: Pear, Celery and Farro Salad
Pecan and Kale Salad
Ree tosses rolled kale with a vinaigrette vinaigrette, then tops the salad with butternut squash, pine nuts, prosciutto and thinly sliced Parmesan. To wow your Thanksgiving guests, serve this delicious salad on an elegant, slim platter.
Get the Recipe: Pecan and Kale Salad
Maple Roasted Carrot Salad
Ina adds a touch of fall to her roasted carrots by caramelizing them with maple syrup. She tosses carrots with arugula, goat cheese, cranberries, and almonds to complete her five-star salad.
Get the Recipe: Maple Roasted Carrot Salad
Roasted Beet Spinach Salad
You can make Nancy’s Easy Salad by roasting the beets ahead of time, then tossing the vinaigrette and other ingredients when you’re ready to eat.
Get the Recipe: Roasted Beet Salad with Walnuts and Goat Cheese
Candied Pecan Ranch Salad
You won’t believe how delicious this sweet and savory salad is. Shredded romaine lettuce is tossed with a simple ranch dressing, then mixed with raisin walnut croutons and candied pecans. Serve it as a fun first Thanksgiving dish, or pair it with leftovers the next day.
Get the Recipe: Candied Pecan Ranch Salad
Thanksgiving Stuffed Salad
Everyone has a favorite side of Thanksgiving, but is it really the holiday without the stuffing? All the best elements come together in this fresh, crunchy salad: lightly toasted baguette cubes, thinly sliced celery, leeks, carrots, and a generous dose of herbs and pickled red onions . The best part is the dressing, a simple vinaigrette added to vegetable consommé to give you all the comforting flavors you crave. It’s the perfect excuse to lighten up this holiday season or drag every foodie’s favorite day into any season!
Get the Recipe: Thanksgiving Stuffed Salad