42 Fresh and Vibrant Salads That Will Brighten Your Thanksgiving Table

updated Nov 1, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

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 Thanksgiving salad — to balance out the heartier, heavier dishes.

These 42 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 juicy citrus medley salad; or with 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.

Warm and Toasty Salads

1 / 13
The Ultimate Fall Salad
This roasty, toasty salad celebrates everything you love about autumn. It's packed with squash, apples, and chewy farro, and tossed in a bright lemon vinaigrette.
Go to Recipe
2 / 13
Green Bean Salad

Adorned with toasty nuts, fried shallots, and radicchio, this green bean salad is a beautiful addition to your Thanksgiving dinner spread.

Go to Recipe
3 / 13
Thanksgiving Lentil Salad
This salad is a perfect choice because it's also hearty enough that it can act as the main dish for any vegetarians or vegans at the table.
Go to Recipe
4 / 13
Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Chickpeas, Feta, and Herbs
Apples lend just the right touch of sweetness to this roasted cauliflower and chickpea salad. It's definitely one that's attention-grabbing.
Go to Recipe
5 / 13
Quick and Easy Roasted Vegetable Salad
This warm salad is full of fall flavor thanks to sweet potatoes, kale, pumpkin seeds, and a tangy balsamic dressing.
Go to Recipe
6 / 13
Roasted Delicata Salad with Warm Pickled Onion Dressing
What's ingenious about this recipe is the dressing is made in the microwave. That means you won't have to use precious stovetop space to prepare it.
Go to Recipe
7 / 13
Garlicky Grilled Kale Salad with Grilled Bread
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.
Go to Recipe
8 / 13
Alice Water's Baked Goat Cheese with Spring Lettuce Salad
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.
Go to Recipe
9 / 13
Kale with Apples, Currants, and Warm Pancetta Vinaigrette
This is a fun twist on a warm spinach salad, with the hearty kale standing up to a rich pancetta dressing and tart apples.
Go to Recipe
10 / 13
Chopped Brown Rice Salad with Grapes and Pecans
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.
Go to Recipe
11 / 13
Baked Goat Cheese Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette
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.
Go to Recipe
12 / 13
Farro Salad with Roasted Vegetables and Fontina

This healthy and hearty salad, mixed with diced fontina and drizzled with balsamic vinegar, is full of flavor and texture: nutty, chewy, and salty.

Go to Recipe
13 / 13
Bulgur and Lentil Salad with Roasted Shrimp

The bulgur adds a nice chew to contrast with the earthy, creamy lentils, and top with some easy roasted shrimp, you can have a satisfying yet light salad for Thanksgiving.

Go to Recipe

Bright and Light Salads

1 / 16
Weeknight Winter Salad
Swiss chard isn't something you typically see in a salad but it's a great green to toss into the bowl because it won't wilt right away.
Go to Recipe
2 / 16
Spinach Salad with Warm Brown Butter Dressing
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.
Go to Recipe
3 / 16
Chicory Salad with Anchovy Dressing
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.
Go to Recipe
4 / 16
Light & Easy Broccoli Salad
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.
Go to Recipe
5 / 16
Arugula, Pear & and Blue Cheese Salad with Warm Vinaigrette
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.
Go to Recipe
6 / 16
Mediterranean Cauliflower Couscous Salad
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.
Go to Recipe
7 / 16
Collard Green Salad with Strawberries & Tahini Dressing
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.
Go to Recipe
8 / 16
Kale & Quinoa Salad with Dates, Almonds & Citrus Dressing
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.
Go to Recipe
9 / 16
Arugula & Fennel Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
When you want a simple salad to make the meal complete, this tumble of arugula and shaved fennel is all you need.
Go to Recipe
10 / 16
Carrot Tahini Salad with Spiced Chickpeas
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.
Go to Recipe
11 / 16
Sicilian–Inspired Blood Orange Salad
The perfect salad is crucial to any supper, and Thanksgiving is no exception. Skip the greens and let a tangy blend of citrus fruits lead the show in this colorful and vibrant salad.
Go to Recipe
12 / 16
Lemony Green Salad with Radicchio & Pepitas
This go-to side salad is colorful and bright, with a mixture of greens, a touch of lemon zest, and some crunchy pepitas.
Go to Recipe
13 / 16
Pomegranate Salad
This pomegranate salad livens up humdrum winter salads with tang and color.
Go to Recipe
14 / 16
Beet and Strawberry Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

This vibrant salad is the perfect way to dress up not-so-seasonal strawberries in the fall.

Go to Recipe
15 / 16
Green Bean Salad

Adorned with toasty nuts, fried shallots, and radicchio, this green bean salad is a beautiful addition to your Thanksgiving dinner spread.

Go to Recipe
16 / 16
Smashed Shito Cucumber Salad
It’s all about big flavor and the spicy-fresh contrast between cool, crisp cucumbers and shito, a smoky Ghanian hot pepper sauce.
Go to Recipe

Slaws and Other Crunchy Cruciferous Salads

1 / 12
Raw and Roasted Radicchio Salad with Sweet Potato, Manchego, and Crunchy Seeds
Keep some of the radicchio raw while roasting the rest of it not only helps tame its natural bitterness, it lends lots of great texture to every bite.
Go to Recipe
2 / 12
Thanksgiving Slaw
The name says it all: If you're looking for a crunchy, refreshing side that's fits perfectly among everything else on your Thanksgiving table, you can do no better than this salad.
Go to Recipe
3 / 12
Kale Slaw
Smoked almond make this slaw particularly special because they lend tons of smoky, salty flavor to the situation. Plus, they're already roasted so all you have to do is give them a rough chop.
Go to Recipe
4 / 12
Cabbage and Apple Slaw with Honey-Lime Dressing
Great slaw can upstage salad whenever it gets a chance. This one, full of sweet and crisp apples and dressed with honey and lime, is familiar yet not run-of-the-mill.
Go to Recipe
5 / 12
Kohlrabi and Cabbage Salad with Maple Lemon 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.
Go to Recipe
6 / 12
Crunchy Cabbage Slaw with Farro, Pecorino, and Dates
This no-wilt salad starts with hearty kale and cabbage, giving you the option to make it well in advance of dinner.
Go to Recipe
7 / 12
Collard Green Salad with Strawberries & Tahini Dressing
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.
Go to Recipe
8 / 12
Apple Cabbage Salad with Brown Sugar Cider Vinaigrette
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.
Go to Recipe
9 / 12
Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apples, Hazelnuts & Brown Butter Dressing
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.
Go to Recipe
10 / 12
Roasted Cabbage Slaw with Hazelnuts & Lemon
A quick broil softens the shredded cabbage and gives it a gentle sweetness with a note of smoky char.
Go to Recipe
11 / 12
Farro and Broccoli Salad
This hearty make-ahead salad has farro, broccoli, smoked almonds, aged cheddar, golden raisins, and dried cranberries, and is served with a quick pickled shallot viniagrette.
Go to Recipe
12 / 12
Shredded Cabbage and Sweet Potato Slaw

The base of this winter slaw is a mix of red cabbage and julienned sweet potato, bejeweled with orange segments and pomegranate.

Go to Recipe