A significant part of Thanksgiving celebrations is a hearty and delicious meal. When you plan the Thanksgiving menu, your holiday table is bound to be covered in some heavy Thanksgiving side dishes like sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, and various stuffing. But let’s not forget a good salad that perfectly complements the traditional Thanksgiving preparations.
A great salad can balance out the heaviness on the palate and provide a refreshing break. The perfect Thanksgiving salad should be tasty, light, and fresh — crunchy textures, creamy dressings with a variety of seasonal veggies, fruits, and grains like rice and quinoa. If you dress your salad in some nice looking pattern that catches the eyes, that is simply cherry on top.
But the choice of salad to make is not an easy one considering the large variety of options. To help you, we’ve chosen seven refreshing Thanksgiving salad recipes that are sure to be a hit this year on Thanksgiving Day.
Some of these salad recipes are great appetizers, while others can be served on their own as a complete meal. Excited? Read along to discover the best salad recipes that’ll garner all the praise of your guests:
1. Orange Walnut Chicken Salad
This super-healthy, delicious salad has a fantastic blend of unique flavors. To make it, you’ll need some orange juice, walnut oil and kernels, orange zest, vinegar, chicken (poached and seasoned as per your preference), salt, and pepper. Place the walnut oil, orange juice, garlic, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a bowl and whisk them together. In an individual salad plate or a bowl, toss the mixture with two tablespoons of any salad dressing of your choice. You may then top some greens with chicken, cheese, and walnut kernels to round up this Thanksgiving salad.
2. Pear Salad with Blue Cheese
A hit recipe on Cheese Boards and great for a holiday entertaining — it should delight you and your guests too. For blue cheese lovers, this salad is a mouthwatering treat! A stylish Thanksgiving salad, it’s simple yet a stellar combination of flavors you’ll fall in love with! Simply throw in some perfectly sliced or diced juicy pears, blue cheese, peppery lettuce (arugula) to contrast with other flavors; classic walnuts, hazelnuts, or almonds; and some honey mustard dressing (or whatever you fancy). Mix them well and serve them in a bowl or salad plate. This salad is everything you expect from it — it’s sweet, creamy, nutty, fresh, and of course, yummilicious!
3. Tomato Pepper Vegetarian Salad
This one is an exciting salad option to dish out on Thanksgiving for your vegan or vegetarian friends and family members. All you need to do is take a large bowl and combine the neatly seeded and diced tomatoes, red and yellow bell peppers, celery, and onions with a mixture of cider vinegar, sugar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Stir them well and refrigerate them for at least an hour. Take the salad out right before your guests arrive at the table. This will prevent them from turning soggy and preserve the crunch of the veggies. Serve the salad on a platter and toss a few basil leaves to garnish.
4. Apple Walnut Spinach Salad
A great one to put together right after the fall apple-picking spree, this Thanksgiving salad is refreshing and so-very-nutritious. Whisk some diced apples with lemon juice, olive oil, baby spinach, apple cider vinegar, and honey mustard sauce dressing. Top this with toasted and chopped walnuts, crumbled goat cheese, salt, and pepper. It’s effortless to make, mild in taste but truly packed with flavors to die for. A quick tip: Before assembling this salad, toss the sliced apples with some lemon juice to prevent browning.
5. Smoked Salmon Salad With Tomato And Avocado
A healthy and filling salad, this high-protein salad is great for your Thanksgiving feast. Super low on carbs and an option for dieters, it’s a must-try if you’re also a fish lover. Grill salmon fillets marinated in lemon zest, salt, pepper, and garlic. In the meantime, make the salad by combining diced tomatoes, sliced avocados, freshly chopped cilantro, lime juice, and salt. Mix them and drizzle with olive oil. Serve the smoked salmon hot on a plate with the garnished salad mix on the side.
6. Quinoa Chicken Avocado Salad
If the regular pasta salad seems boring, this gluten-free Thanksgiving salad alternative is tasty and heart-friendly too. Take a handful of cooked quinoa and defrosted sweet corn. Throw in some olive oil, tomatoes, cooked roast chicken, ripe avocado, coriander, finely chopped green or red chilly, spring onions, some cherry tomatoes, salt, and pepper, and mix well. Toss them gently together and serve immediately. Great as a full meal, and it’s a lovely Thanksgiving salad that is sure to steal the show!
7. Chicken Tomato Mozzarella Salad
A great salad recipe that is flavorful and bound to make an impressive statement! Take roasted, boneless chicken neatly diced; cherry tomatoes, pieces of cube-shaped mozzarella cheese, red wine vinegar, minced jalapeno, and garlic cloves. Season the mixture with salt and freshly ground pepper and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over it. Garnish with chopped basil to complete the dish. A classic salad that is fail-proof, your guests will love it, and you too!
With this list of tried-and-true, colorful Thanksgiving-salad favorites, we’d be surprised if your guests don’t fall in love with your Thanksgiving menu. And those of your guests who are on a leaner diet wouldn’t stop thanking you enough for filling them up in their preferred way of eating light. After all, ones who are on diets don’t always get plenty of options to choose from. These appealing Thanksgiving salad recipes are great as starters — infused with the wow element that sets the tone for the perfect Thanksgiving celebrations this year! Which among these salad dishes are set to be a must on your Thanksgiving lunch or dinner? Do let us know in the comments below!