These top Thanksgiving salad recipes are full of big flavor and seasonal produce! They’ll wow everyone around the table.
When it comes to Thanksgiving sides, the star doesn’t have to be the gravy, stuffing or mashed potatoes. These days, another category is king: the Thanksgiving salad! That’s right, the salad can be one of the more delicious things on your plate on this massive food holiday. Because here’s the thing: it’s bright, colorful, vibrant and textured, with sweet tart, savory and tangy ingredients that are the ideal contrast to those mushy brown entrees and sides.
Here are our top Thanksgiving salad recipes that highlight the produce of the season. From apples to pears, sweet potatoes to squash, and pomegranate to beets: there’s something every eater will be excited about.
One of the best Thanksgiving salads: this Crisp Apple Salad! Crisp tart apple slices pair with pops of pomegranate seeds, creamy goat cheese, and crunchy, cinnamon-spiced pecans. Toss them all over fresh greens with a zingy maple and apple cider vinegar dressing, and it’s truly salad perfection.
This sweet potato salad is ideal for Thanksgiving! Make roasted sweet potatoes, then toss with baby arugula, cranberries, pumpkin seeds and a little crumbled goat cheese or feta. Honey Mustard or Balsamic Dressing give it a tangy pop. The savory, sweet, tangy, creamy and crunchy contrasts will wow everyone!
Here’s a dreamy Thanksgiving salad if there ever was one: this brilliant Pear Salad! It’s a study in contrasts: fresh, juicy pear against funky gorgonzola cheese; bright pomegranate against savory shallot. Throw in some toasted pecans and cover it in tangy poppy seed dressing, and well: it’s absolutely irresistible.
One of the best Thanksgiving sides of them all: a Brussels Sprout salad! The raw greens of this popular veggie aren’t bitter at all: they’re sweet and feathery, with irresistibly tasty flavor. Combine them with a sweet and tangy Djion mustard dressing, apples, and dried cherries, and they’re pretty darn perfect.
Here’s a standout Thanksgiving salad starring everyone’s favorite ingredient: Butternut Squash Salad! This one is a symphony in a bowl: hearty sweet squash pairs with crisp apple, chewy cranberries and a citrusy orange vinaigrette. All the best flavors of fall and winter ingredients sing together in perfect harmony!
Here's a hearty fall and winter side dish that's just begging to jump onto your table: wild rice salad! This mix of rice with crunchy veggies, pecans, cranberries, and feta cheese crumbles is ideal for any occasion, from the holidays to a simple cozy dinner. A maple Dijon vinaigrette dressing infuses a tangy flavor throughout, punctuated by bursts of fresh parsley.
One of our top favorite Thanksgiving salads? Pomegranate salad! Crunchy pomegranate seeds make a beautiful confetti over the top of leafy greens. Add tart green apple slices, toasted pecans, and goat cheese or feta crumbles, and it’s a true symphony of flavor! Top it with creamy apple cider vinegar dressing or pomegranate vinaigrette.
Here's an easy Thanksgiving salad that comes together quickly, but my does it deliver on flavor! The crunch of the apples, creamy goat cheese, and fluffy arugula are the ideal pair for the tangy sweet dressing. Your guests won't be able to stop eating this one!
Want a fancy Thanksgiving salad idea? Try this Endive Salad: equal parts refreshing, tangy, bitter, crunchy, and tangy! Bitter endive pairs perfectly with juicy orange and a sweet tart red wine vinaigrette. Top it off with savory Parmesan shavings and crunchy almonds, and the contrasts are divine.
Looking for a stunning Thanksgiving salad? Enter: delicata squash salad! This is no ordinary green side salad. It stars our favorite squash: the delicata, which is brilliantly sweet and has edible skin (no peeling necessary!). Roast up that squash in just 20 minutes, and in the meantime prep those refreshing pomegranate seeds, crunchy pistachios, and tangy honey mustard dressing.
This delightful fennel salad is one anyone can enjoy despite any preconceptions, pairing the shaved raw vegetable with sweet apple, zingy lemon and savory Parmesan cheese. Delicate fennel fronds make a feathery garnish, and each bite is irresistibly crunchy with a pop of acidity.
Here's a tasty Thanksgiving salad: Watercress Salad with Apple! Pair this bitter leafy green with lemon, apple and savory Parmesan shavings and you won’t be able to resist another bite! The sweet apple, zingy citrus and flaky salt balance out the watercress beautifully, making for a fresh and vibrant side dish.
Try this kale slaw with apples! The colorful mix of fresh veggies is simple to put together and tastes refreshingly sweet tart. It stars hearty kale, crisp apples, sweet carrot, and a zingy maple apple cider vinegar dressing. Toss the entire mixture with sliced toasted almonds to make it sing!
Here’s a fun, fresh Thanksgiving salad to add to your repertoire: this apple slaw! Cabbage, apples and carrots partner up to form the basis of a tangy slaw. They’re doused in a creamy poppyseed dressing that you’ll want to pour on just about everything. It’s a slaw spin that’s unique in flavor but simple enough that you’ll want to keep making it all season long.
This delicious beet salad has all the right elements: baby greens, creamy goat cheese and a tangy balsamic beet dressing. Basically, it’s salad perfection! It works with roasted beets or if the oven's not free, try Instant Pot Beets.
Here's an elegant salad we never tire of: fennel orange salad! It features beautiful juicy oranges, with their vibrant color and citrusy flavor. Add to that a famous pairing: sliced raw fennel, which adds a subtle licorice essence. Throw it over greens with a few garnishes, top with a zingy homemade citrus vinaigrette, and wow! It's stunning.
Here’s a unique Thanksgiving salad: this Hearty Farro Salad! Farro is an ancient grain with a chewy texture and nutty flavor that’s burst on the scene in the past few years. This one is our ultimate, pairing the whole grain with earthy mushrooms, feathery arugula, savory pops of cheese, and a zingy vinaigrette (omit the tomatoes for the Thanksgiving version).
This tasty salad features Tuscan kale, lemon and Parmesan and might be one of our top ways to eat this leaft green! After you taste this kale salad, you’ll agree that those green leaves smothered in a lemony, garlicky Parmesan dressing can only be one thing: drop dead delicious.
This apple manchego salad is made simply of apples and Manchego cheese cut into matchsticks, with a bit of olive oil and some sliced chives. Nothing pretentious — just pure ingredients combined in a simple way to make each shine. The way the apples and cheese are cut makes it hard to distinguish between the two – making it all the more fun to guess what will be part of each bite!
Here’s a Thanksgiving salad idea that’s flavorful and versatile: arugula beet salad! It features jewel-toned roasted beets with baby arugula, all covered in a zingy citrus vinaigrette. Add thin-sliced shallots and toasted walnuts, and it tastes sophisticated with minimal effort.
More Thanksgiving resources
Here are all our Thanksgiving resources to help you plan for the holiday. Whether it’s mains, sides, appetizers, or desserts: we’ve got you covered! Here are a few lists of recipes:
Make the dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk the maple syrup, vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, and black pepper. Whisk in the olive oil 1 tablespoon at a time until a creamy dressing forms. (If desired, make in advance and refrigerate up to 2 weeks; bring to room temperature prior to serving).
Thinly slice the apple.
Place the greens on a large platter or individual plates. Top with apple slices, candied pecans, goat cheese or feta crumbles, and pomegranate seeds or dried cranberries. Top with about 6 tablespoons of the dressing (or more as desired) and serve immediately. (To make ahead, keep all components separate with fresh ingredients and dressing refrigerated. Toss the apples with lemon juice to prevent browning. Bring dressing to room temperature and add all ingredients together directly before serving.)