10 Fresh Fall Salads for the Thanksgiving Table
Sure, Thanksgiving might be mostly about the turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes. But that doesn’t mean that you should skip the greens: they’re a fresh counterpoint to all of the carb-heavy plates. And when you’ve got an exciting salad selection picked out, they won’t feel dutiful. You need something that’s light with interesting texture and color to stand up to all of the other healthy dishes. You also need something with a bit of structure that won’t wilt immediately, especially if you do Thanksgiving family style. Luckily, each of these ten options fits the bill. And, as an added bonus, each one is also make ahead. Take our Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Manchego and Almonds. You can assemble the entire dish the day ahead, and the Brussels won’t brown or turn soggy during the meal. Our Grilled Radicchio Salad with Goat Cheese, Thyme, and Grapes has a smoky component, a tangy component, a salty one, and a sweet one. It’s balanced and complex, and won’t be shoved to the far corner of the dinner table. Several of our other salads have sweet-tart components in them like apples, citrus segments, and pomegranate seeds. Think about it: these flavors are in cranberry sauce, too, and pair exceptionally well with roasted meat. You might just want to add some of these options to your regular weeknight dinner rotation.
Our spiced pecan recipe produces an addictive (and relatively healthy) snack. These Rosemary Pecans are simple enough, in fact, to whip up for movie night or book club. But this method is also a smart way to add major flavor to an appetizer spread. Rather than putting out plain roasted nuts, take the (very little) time required to coat them in melted butter, sugar, cayenne, and salt, before roasting them in the oven for about 10 minutes. Once they’re toasted, stir the pecans with chopped fresh rosemary for an earthy, woodsy finish. And FYI: These nuts taste great with sparkling wine.
Shrimp With Spiced Cocktail Sauce
Say hello to your new signature cocktail sauce recipe. When serving the classic combination—shrimp and cocktail sauce—as finger food, forget the bottled stuff. This from-scratch version amounts to little more work than chopping shallot, ginger, and garlic, and heating those ingredients, along with a few more (tomato paste, mustard seeds, and so on) in a saucepan. You’ll transfer the dip to a bowl and let it chill for a while pre-party, before serving the spicy, flavorful sauce alongside cooked, cold shrimp. Guests tend to expect store-bought sauce, so this easy, rich dip will blow them away. (Maybe double the recipe?)
Goat Cheese Spread
A good cheese spread recipe should pack in tons of flavor without requiring a ton of chopping or any real “cooking,” so to speak. That’s why we combined two packages of soft goat cheese with a smattering of chopped fresh herbs and black pepper to create this simple, earthy spread that offers a taste of a much more complex recipe. Use any variation of fresh herbs you love, like chives, tarragon, flat-leaf parsley, or dill. Experiment with combinations until you’ve found your signature spread, and serve it alongside crackers. The spread makes a bright addition to any cheese plate, but also stands on its own as an appetizer.