The Best Thanksgiving Salads—from Vintage Throwbacks to Fresh New Recipes

Roasted Acorn Squash Salad with Sorghum-Tahini Vinaigrette
Photo: Jennifer Causey; Food Styling: Melissa Gray; Prop Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

Move over mashed potatoes, there's a new side in town. Salad might not be the first thing you think of when your Thanksgiving feast comes to mind, but felt it was necessary to highlight a few of our favorites that surely deserve a spot on your table. While most of us are loading up on cornbread dressing, sweet potato casserole, and of course turkey—some of your guests might be looking for the salad. In the South, "salad" is a bit of a loose term—so, whether it's a pile of fresh greens, scoop of old-fashioned fluff, or a slice of retro congealed salad, we have something for everyone. These medleys are loaded with seasonal produce, from acorn squash, sweet potatoes, and cranberries to collard greens and kale. Not only are they delicious, but they also showcase the vibrant colors of fall. This holiday season, try adding one of these easy, flavorful recipes to your Thanksgiving menu.

01 of 16

Autumn Salad with Maple-Cider Vinaigrette

Autumn Salad with Maple-Cider Vinaigrette
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Christine Keely

Recipe: Autumn Salad with Maple-Cider Vinaigrette

This hearty fall salad tastes as good as it looks on your sideboard. The secret to this recipe? Take the time to massage the kale which tenderizes it just enough for the perfect bite.

02 of 16

Classic Cranberry Salad

classic cranberry salad
Emily Laurae/Southern Living

Recipe: Classic Cranberry Salad

With a perfect balance of sweet and tart, this simple spin on a traditional congealed cranberry can be served as a side or relish.

03 of 16

Brussels Sprout Slaw with Apples and Pecans

Brussels Sprout Slaw with Apples and Pecans
Greg DuPree

Recipe: Brussels Sprout Slaw with Apples and Pecans

It's hard to beat a good crunch, so we went all in with shaved Brussels, crispy apple slices, and toasted pecans. This dish makes for a light side to accompany your casseroles or serve it up as a base for leftover turkey at a later meal.

04 of 16

Cranberry Fluff Salad

Cranberry Fluff Salad
Photographer: Greg DuPree, Food Stylist: Emily Neighbors Hall Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

Recipe: Cranberry Fluff Salad

Though it might not be the prettiest dish on the table, we're honoring tradition with this vintage-inspired, tasty treat. Whether you're using fresh or frozen cranberries, we know adults and kids alike will enjoy this ultimate fruity, fluffy salad.

05 of 16

Harvest Salad

Harvest Salad
Greg Dupree; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch

Recipe: Harvest Salad

Brimming with roasted veggies and fresh greens, this salad is the ideal complement to roasted turkey and mashed potatoes. Better yet, make the dressing ahead of time for easy assembly.

06 of 16

Molded Cranberry Salad

Molded Cranberry Salad
Hector M Sanchez

Recipe: Molden Cranberry Salad

According to Grandma, no Thanksgiving in the South is complete without a jell-o mold salad—and this timeless cranberry dish still shines.

07 of 16

Beet, Fennel, and Apple Salad Recipe

Beet, Fennel, and Apple Salad
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller; Food Styling: William Smith

Recipe: Beet, Fennel, and Apple Salad Recipe

This bright salad has a can't-be-beat festive presentation featuring an array of colorful beets.

08 of 16

Spicy Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

Spicy Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
Greg DuPree; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Christine Keely

Recipe: Spicy Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

Looking for a new take on a traditional sweet potato casserole? Cue this delicious recipe all of your guests will love.

09 of 16

Chopped Kale Salad with Toasted Breadcrumbs

Chopped Kale Salad with Toasted Breadcrumbs
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Recipe: Chopped Kale Salad with Toasted Breadcrumbs

Keep it simple with this fall twist on a Caesar salad that uses fall's bounty of kale.

10 of 16

Spiced Coconut-Cherry Mold

Spiced Coconut-Cherry Mold
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Spiced Coconut-Cherry Mold

This old-school dish just might be worth adding to your dessert lineup this year.

11 of 16

Roasted Acorn Squash Salad with Sorghum-Tahini Vinaigrette

Roasted Acorn Squash Salad with Sorghum-Tahini Vinaigrette
Jennifer Causey; Food Styling: Melissa Gray; Prop Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

Recipe: Roasted Acorn Squash Salad with Sorghum-Tahini Vinaigrette

When fall rolls around, all the squash varieties deserve some attention. You might already be serving up a squash casserole, but don't let that stop you from adding this acorn squash salad as a fresh, seasonal side.

12 of 16

Simple Beet Salad

Simple Beet Salad
Jennifer Davick

Recipe: Simple Beet Salad

Need a last-minute side to complete your holiday menu? This three-ingredient salad is a cinch to throw together. Simply bake, slice, and garnish for a vivid dish.

13 of 16

Collard Green Salad with Oranges and Port-Soaked Cherries

Collard Green Salad with Oranges and Port-Soaked Cherries
Greg Dupree; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch

Recipe: Collard Green Salad with Oranges and Port-Soaked Cherries

Instead of a big pot of bacon-flavored collard greens, try serving up this fresh, slightly boozy salad topped with sweet oranges, port-soaked cherries, and tangy goat cheese.

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Ranch Tomato Aspic

Ranch Tomato Aspic
Jennifer Causey

Recipe: Ranch Tomato Aspic

This unexpected rendition of tomato aspic first graced the pages of Southern Living in 1983. Though a dish only some can truly appreciate, make a statement this year by displaying this forgotten classic on your Thanksgiving table.

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Apple and Goat Cheese Salad with Candied Pecans

Apple and Goat Cheese Salad with Candied Pecans
Sheri Giblin

Recipe: Apple and Goat Cheese Salad with Candied Pecans

These smoky candied pecans are so irresistible you'll want to double the batch to keep some on hand for snacking.

16 of 16

Turkey Salad

Turkey Salad
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Turkey Salad

Wondering what to do with all that leftover turkey? Here's the recipe you'll be making the day-after–and year-round.

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