Last-Minute Side Salads to Save Your Thanksgiving Feast
If you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, your menu will be planned to perfection. But as you look over the dishes you’ll be serving, you might find that everything looks a little…heavy. From the turkey (and possibly ham, too), to multiple rich casseroles made with heavy cream and cheese to a dessert table that has dozens of sweet options. And even though we love to go all out on Thanksgiving, and it’s surely no time to count calories, you may want a lighter alternative to break up all the decadence. These Thanksgiving salads are the ideal way to add some fresh veggies and greens to your Thanksgiving plate. Don’t be mistaken—these Thanksgiving side salads aren’t just plates of lettuce with a little dressing. Perfect for fall, these Thanksgiving salad recipes are filled with seasonal ingredients like pecans, apples, and cranberries, and tossed in dressings like warm bacon or maple-cider vinaigrettes. Because the turkey, casserole side dishes, and desserts are the big-ticket items on your Thanksgiving menu, side salad recipes shouldn’t be difficult. Even if these salads look fancy, like our marinated fig salad or bacon-blue cheese salad with white wine vinaigrette, these Thanksgiving side salads come together in a snap. From including both ham and turkey to adding vegetarian or gluten-free options to being sure there’s a dessert for pumpkin pie and chocolate lovers, it can be a challenge to satisfy every guest on Thanksgiving. These delicious salads will ensure that every family member and friend has a well-rounded plate with something fresh on it.
Bitter Greens Salad with Lemon and Pecorino
No one will know that you threw this tangy, fresh salad together in just five minutes.
Beet-and-Orange Salad with Spiced Pecans
This colorful salad that achieves sweet, savory, salty, and tangy flavors only takes 15 minutes to put on the table. You might want to make extra batches of spiced pecans to set out as dinner guests arrive.
Farro Salad with Toasted Pecans, Feta, and Dried Cherries
If you’re assigned to bring salad to Thanksgiving this year, wow your family with this 30-minute salad that’s packed with fall flavor.
Apple and Goat Cheese Salad with Candied Pecans
Granny Smith apples and candied pecans add crunch to this quick salad that gets some tanginess from goat cheese. The simple, olive oil-based vinaigrette has surprising flavor levels from orange zest and allspice.
Roasted Asparagus Salad
Recipe: Roasted Asparagus Salad
This colorful salad is an easy way to add more veggies (that aren’t baked with heavy cream or covered in cheese) to your Thanksgiving meal.
Marian's Apple-Fennel Salad
Recipe: Marian's Apple-Fennel Salad
This simple salad is a snap to make, and it has a crisp and light feel.
Arugula with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
This 10-minute salad feels decadent because of the warm bacon vinaigrette. You can make this easy salad right before guests arrive.
Brussels Sprout Slaw with Apples and Pecans
This crunchy, fresh slaw is a fall cousin to the summer varieties, and it comes together so quickly.
Leafy Green Salad with Pears
Recipe: Leafy Green Salad with Pears
This five-ingredient, 10-minute salad has a large (but delicious) yield for a crowd.
Marinated Fig Salad
Recipe: Marinated Fig Salad
The only time-consuming aspect of this salad is the 30 minutes the figs need to marinate. Other than that, all you have to do is put the ingredients on the plate to achieve this restaurant-worthy salad.
Waldorf Spinach Salad
Recipe: Waldorf Spinach Salad
The dressing for this twist-on-a-classic salad has a hint of cinnamon that’s perfect for a holiday.
Harvest Salad with Roasted Citrus Vinaigrette and Spiced Pecans
This salad is as full of delicious flavor as it sounds. You can make the vinaigrette and pecans a few days ahead if you have time.
Arugula Salad with Smoked Almonds
This quick salad is topped with tangy honey-cider vinaigrette. Sliced peppers would make a delicious addition to the heirloom tomatoes on this salad. Wait until just before serving to drizzle on the salad dressing to avoid wilting.
BLT Salad with Olive Vinaigrette
Recipe: BLT Salad with Olive Vinaigrette
Kalamata Olive vinaigrette and creamy Gorgonzola cheese take this salad a step up from its famous sandwich counterpart, and it’s ready in just 25 minutes.
Spinach-Apple Salad With Maple-Cider Vinaigrette
Sugared, curried pecans and maple-cider vinaigrette make this spinach salad ideal for a holiday meal. After they try this amazing salad, your family will ask you to make it again at Christmas.
Recipe: Cranberry-Almond Coleslaw
This Thanksgiving, hold the cranberry salad for this 15-minute crunchy slaw recipe.
Arugula-Pear-Blue Cheese Salad
Recipe: Arugula-Pear-Blue Cheese Salad
This super fast salad recipe is an easy but sophisticated choice for any family gathering.
Mango-Spinach Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette
This mango, bacon, red onion, and queso fresco-topped spinach salad might look fancy, but it’s ready in less than 20 minutes. Make it right before dinner so you can serve the warm vinaigrette immediately.
Chopped Kale and Bacon Salad
Recipe: Chopped Kale and Bacon Salad
The homemade buttermilk dressing that tops this easy-to-make salad will replace the store-bought ranch that’s in your fridge.
Recipe: Fig-and-Kale Salad
The short-and-sweet name of this recipe doesn’t mention that it’s also topped with chopped bacon, blue cheese, and a warm vinaigrette that’s made with a hint of ginger and pecans that lightly roast in the dressing while it’s on the stove.
Brussels Sprout-and-Leek Slaw with Bacon and Pecans
This sweet, tart, crunchy slaw has balanced flavor in every bite. You’ll love the honey vinaigrette it’s topped with, and of course, there’s bacon.
Roasted Carrots with Avocado and Feta Vinaigrette
This veggie salad will fall right in line with the rest of the Thanksgiving spread.
Colorful Collard Slaw
Recipe: Colorful Collard Slaw
This easy slaw recipe with apples, collards, and carrots is a great side with any fall meal, including Thanksgiving.
Mushroom, Apple, and Goat Cheese Salad
Mushrooms add another level to this dressy apple and goat cheese salad, and the honey-balsamic vinaigrette is to-die-for delicious.
Bacon-Blue Cheese Salad With White Wine Vinaigrette
Although the presentation looks fancy, this salad is easy to make and has a short ingredient list.