20 Fresh and Vibrant Salads for Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is a time for plates piled high with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pie, and much more. In short: it’s a day of feasting at its finest. But in the mix of all those ultra-comforting side dishes, I also like to include the option for something a little lighter — like a fresh and vibrant salad — to balance out the heartier, heavier dishes.
These 20 colorful salads will show you it’s worth making room for a bright spot on the Thanksgiving table in the form of a refreshing salad — like an arugula, pear, and blue cheese salad; or a kale and apple salad with warm pancetta vinaigrette. For any with more delicate greens, remember to dress them right before serving to make sure everything stays crisp.
This classic and easy spinach salad nixes the standard bacon vinaigrette, but you’ll never miss it because what you get instead is way better: a warm brown butter dressing that really makes this salad sing.
If you like Caesar salad, like real Caesar salad with plenty of anchovies and garlic, then this is the salad for you. Because this salad is packed with sturdy, zippy chicories, like endive and radicchio, it won’t wilt quickly and can actually benefit from sitting in the dressing a bit to mellow out.
This salad is easy to throw together and light, with a hint of sweetness and a good crunch factor — just what you want in a Thanksgiving salad.
This salad is one of those recipes where the end result is way more than the sum of the ingredients. And what really makes it stand out is the warm vinaigrette.
Impress your kale-loving friend with a grilled kale salad in your Thanksgiving mix. It’s smoky and garlicky, studded with chunks of grilled bread, and topped with a fresh citrus dressing.
This salad is a great make-ahead side dish because the kohlrabi and cabbage are sturdy enough that they won’t wilt very much as they sit, and the flavors meld together really well.
This classic salad might just be one of the most delicious, enjoyable ways to eat a pile of greens — France meets California, cozy and fresh at the same time.
When you want a salad but prefer to skip the greens, this cauliflower “couscous” salad — loaded with tomato, chickpeas, olives, herbs, and a bright lemon dressing — definitely does the trick.
This is a fun twist on a warm spinach salad, with the hearty kale standing up to a rich pancetta dressing and tart apples.
Can’t find decent fresh berries this time of year? No problem. Instead, we love swapping them and sweetening this salad with some seasonal persimmons or dried cranberries.
Not only will this shredded kale salad with a fresh citrus dressing be a total crowd-pleaser at your Thanksgiving table, but it’s also an ideal make-ahead dish.
With brown rice, crunchy pecans, and a burst of sweetness from grapes, this salad is a cross between a big bowl of leafy greens and a hearty side dish.
When you want a simple salad to make the meal complete, this tumble of arugula and shaved fennel is all you need.
It’s really hard to go wrong with vegetables like these. The bitter radicchio is pleasant with the sweet, anise-flavored fennel, and the romaine lightens everything up with its crunch.
This vibrant combination of apples and cabbage is made for fall comfort classics, which is precisely why it makes a welcome addition to your Thanksgiving spread.
This light and crunchy salad is a bright companion to the heavier sides on your holiday table. The raisins also pair really well with the spiced chickpeas for a wonderful combination of sweet and savory.
This salad gives your fresh and comforting all in one bowl, with a big pile of greens topped with crunchy pecans, soft baked goat cheese, and a thick walnut vinaigrette.
This go-to side salad is colorful and bright, with a mixture of greens, a touch of lemon zest, and some crunchy pepitas.
Eaten within a few hours of making it, the salad is crunchy and refreshing, but you can also make it a day ahead, leaving the Brussels sprouts soft and infused with the brown butter dressing.
Not all salads are made the same, so how can you choose the right plate of greens for your table? Play our Recipe Roulette, with a Thanksgiving twist, to decide which salad will have your guests seeing green this year.