12 Salads to Lighten Up Thanksgiving Dinner

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So much of Thanksgiving is ordered and planned like a ritual: The sweet potatoes, the turkey, the gravy. But what about the salad? Many Thanksgiving menus don't include a salad at all — a hot and gooey green bean casserole is the closest you get. But I think that a salad is a crucial element of a rich meal like the one we enjoy on Thanksgiving.

A fresh, crisp salad cleanses the palate and helps you appreciate those creamy potatoes even more. A salad also looks beautiful on a Thanksgiving buffet: Kale slaw with gleaming wedges of citrus really stands out, especially when nestled in between white potatoes and brown gravy! And it doesn't take long to throw together a great salad -- you can toss it, dress it, and plate it up at the last minute.

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So, from a simple broccoli and currant salad, to a root vegetable slaw with orange-cumin dressing, and a gorgeous citrus salad to another with avocado and fennel, here are some of our all-time favorite winter salads to accompany the Thanksgiving feast.

KALE
• 1 Kale Slaw with Peanut Dressing - My favorite autumn salad. The peanut dressing makes it taste so good.
• 2 Kale Salad with Blood Orange and Meyer Lemon - Kale shaved feather-thin and dressed with citrus juice. So festive!
• 3 Kale Salad with Apricots, Avocado and Parmesan - Another kale salad with sweet notes of apricots, and savory nibbles of avocado and cheese.

BROCCOLI
• 4 Broccoli Salad with Carrots and Currants - A hearty, simple salad.
• 5 Sexy, Spicy Broccoli - Broccoli marinated in sesame oil, garlic, and chili flakes. A great way to wake up your meal!

CITRUS
• 6 Avocado and Grapefruit Salad - Delicious and refreshing. Looks beautiful when plated up before the meal.
• 7 Celery and Grapefruit Salad with Parmesan - Crunchy and juicy. Probably the most refreshing salad I know.
• 8 Fennel, Beet, and Orange Salad - A trio of winter ingredients, all together.

ROOT VEGETABLES
• 9 Root Vegetable Slaw With Orange-Cumin Dressing - Bright and zesty.
• 10 Quick Celery Root Salad with Capers and Lemon - Tart, crispy, and beautiful.
• 11 Cabbage Beet Coleslaw - A showstopper of a salad!
• 12 Fennel and Radicchio Winter Salad with Pecans - Balanced, refreshing, and nutty.

Are you serving a salad with Thanksgiving dinner? If so, what are you planning?

(Images: See linked recipes for full image credits)

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