25 of Our Favorite Salads—Because Every Thanksgiving Needs a Salad

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We might associate Thanksgiving with comforting, creamy green bean casseroles, mountains of mashed potatoes, and turkey smothered in gravy. (Not to mention slices of both pumpkin and apple pie.) And those are all well and good—but the very best Thanksgiving tables have something leafy or green to balance out our plates.

And it doesn’t just need to be a pile of lettuce. Your Thanksgiving salad can come in all shades and shapes: shaved Brussels sprouts, roasted fennel, tart green apples. Here, I’ve combed through our salad selection and picked out 25 of my favorites to add to your feast.

Oh, and if you’re looking for more menu inspiration, don’t forget to head over to our Food52 Automagic Menu Maker!

1. Kale Salad With Salami, Pecorino & Walnuts

If you want everyone’s eyes to light up when you bring out a kale salad, just do as EmilyC does and throw in some salty salami and meaty walnuts.

2. Carrot & Radicchio Salad With Fig-Balsamic Vinaigrette

Radicchio is infamously bitter, so here are a couple ways to tame it: squashy carrots and a jammy balsamic dressing.

3. Brussels Sprouts Caesar

For an utterly fall take on a classic Caesar salad, ditch the romaine and use hearty Brussels sprouts instead. We love they don’t wilt under the dressing.

4. Autumn Salad With Horseradish Vinaigrette

Horseradish’s spicy, punchy personality works wonders with sweet, earthy fall vegetables.

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5. Sautéed Dates With Roasted Butternut Squash, Wheat Berries & Blue Cheese

Warm, sticky dates star in this squash salad. Funky blue cheese keeps the sweetness in check (you could also swap in feta if you want).

6. Joshua McFadden’s Bitter Greens Salad With Melted Cheese

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Melted cheese? On salad? Yes. Don’t say we didn’t warn you: Once you start with this trick, you won’t be able to stop.

7. Spiced Beet Salad With Citrus-Ginger Dressing

Down-to-earth beets get a lift from juicy citrus and zingy ginger—and we’re here for it.

8. Roasted Apple & Fennel Salad With Toasted Hazelnuts & Goat Cheese

Roasted vegetables can be salad, too! The goat cheese adds some tangy creaminess and the hazelnuts, some much-needed crunch.

9. Warm Farro & Mustard Green Salad With Maple-Roasted Acorn Squash

Slightly-spicy mustard greens are a great way to liven up squash. If you can’t find them, escarole would be a nice substitute.

10. Shaved Brussels Sprouts With Brown Butter Vinaigrette, Walnuts & Pecorino

Shaved Brussels sprouts get tossed with a brown-buttery vinaigrette (as life-changing as it sounds), then topped with salty pecorino and lots of walnuts.

11. Roasted Butternut Squash & Toasted Farro Salad With Curried Brown Butter

Butternut squash, nubby farro, and more brown butter because, no, we can’t be stopped. This one is curried for warm spice.

12. Deb Perelman’s Winter Slaw With Farro

If you’ve only been serving slaw alongside summer spreads, now is the time to right that wrong. Just follow Deb Perelman’s lead.

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13. Quinoa Salad With Hazelnuts, Apple & Dried Cranberries

A grainy salad that’s full of our favorite fall things: apples, dried cranberries, and crunchy hazelnuts. If you want to add some cheese, who’s to stop you?

14. Caesar-Style Kale Salad With Roasted Onions & Ricotta Salata

A Caesar-inspired kale salad that pays homage to the glory that is roasted onions. If you can’t track down ricotta salata, feta would work too.

15. Farro, Golden Beet & Feta Salad With Pecans & Chive-Sage Dressing

This chive-sage dressing is good on just about any grain salad in the colder months, especially this one with farro and sunny beets.

16. Orange, Parsley & Walnut Salad

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When you need a break from the turkey and mashed potatoes and gravy, this refreshing endive salad with raw citrus is here for you.

17. Roasted Mushroom Salad

Calling all mushroom lovers. These roasted beauties are simply flavored with garlic, parsley, red wine vinegar, and little else.

18. Northern Spy’s Kale Salad

A kale salad that’s as just about famous as a kale salad can get. Including two types of cheese—creamy cheddar and crumbly pecorino—definitely doesn’t hurt.

19. Cauliflower Salad With Pickled Grapes, Cheddar Cheese & Almonds

Yes, you could and should include these tingly pickled grapes in other fall salads, from broccoli to fennel.

20. Potato Salad With Arugula & Dijon Vinaigrette

A potato salad that’s more salad than potato. Peppery arugula and winey Dijon are a perfect match for the spuds.

21. Brussels Sprouts & Apple Salad With Cheddar & Rye Bread Crumbs

A confident, hearty salad that would love to be served next to any roasted meat, from turkey to pork shoulder.

22. Kale & Bulgur Salad With Brown Butter–Apple Vinaigrette

Bulgur is an A+ way to make any salad a little more substantial. Here, it teams up with kale and apples (mustard greens and pears would be a fun riff).

23. Fall Salad With Lemony Brown Butter Vinaigrette

Fennel seeds, cumin seeds, and a handful (yes, a literal handful) of fresh herbs make this fall-forward salad one we will crave on Thanksgiving—and for the rest of fall and winter.

24. Shaved Fennel & Apple Salad With Sultanas, Mint & Almonds

If you have yet to shave fennel into thin, pappardelle-like ribbons—well, what are you waiting for? A mandoline is very helpful here.

25. Herb & Seed Salad

Sometimes simple does it. This salad includes parsley, basil, dill, and chives, plus sesame and sunflower seeds for crunch-crunch-crunch texture.

What’s your go-to Thanksgiving salad? Share recipes in the comments below!

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