The Perfect Thanksgiving Salad (15 Minutes!)

Home Kitchen

Don’t take away our creamy, hearty Thanksgiving classics. But this new salad is amazing alongside them: It’s a fresh, bright, crunchy green salad with sweet, crisp pear or apple, toasted hazelnuts or pepitas, a simple lemon vinaigrette, and optional vegan goat cheese. 

Not only is it a colorful addition to the Thanksgiving table, but it beautifully contrasts the heavier dishes, aids digestion (hello, bitter greens and vinegar!), and comes together in just 15 minutes! Yep, it’s that easy to brighten up the table. Let’s make salad!

Salt, pepper, pepitas, hazelnuts, olive oil, pear, mixed greens, apple cider vinegar, and lemon

Recipe Inspiration

This salad was born at our team Thanksgiving last year. And when we posted the meal on Instagram, you asked for the recipe. We promised we’d share it in the future, and today is that day, friends!

It’s inspired by Pacific Northwest cuisine, fall ingredients, and a desire to make something super simple that would complement the more traditional Thanksgiving dishes.

How to Make This Thanksgiving Green Salad

The base for this salad is a mix of sweet, tender baby greens and chicories like radicchio, endive, and/or frisée. The chicories add a textural contrast, pop of color (hello, pretty purple radicchio!), and slight bitterness that wakes up the taste buds and encourages healthy digestion!

Drizzling a simple lemon vinaigrette over a big bowl of greens

We toss the greens with olive oil, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar to lightly coat them with big, bright flavor. Flaky salt and freshly ground black pepper add some fun for your taste buds!

Next, we toast the crunchy nuts and/or seeds. Pepitas are our go-to because they’re super quick and easy, but hazelnuts and almonds are delicious, too!

Toasted pepitas and hazelnuts in a skillet

The other crunchy ingredient and star of the show is sliced apple or pear. Our favorite for this recipe is Asian pear because it’s the most crisp and sweet, but other sweet, crunchy varieties will also work!

Using a serving spoon and fork to toss a salad

The final (and optional) ingredient is vegan goat cheese for a rich, creamy component. But with all the richness of a Thanksgiving meal, we don’t find it necessary!

Vegan goat cheese, sliced pears, lemon, salt, and pepper next to a big bowl of our Thanksgiving salad recipe

We hope you LOVE this salad! It’s:

Bright
Crunchy
Fresh
Gorgeous
Easy to make
& Perfect for the Thanksgiving table!

It pairs beautifully with rich, creamy dishes like many of the Thanksgiving classics! For our team holiday meal, we paired it with our Vegan Green Bean Casserole, Easy Vegan Gluten-Free Biscuits, Classic Vegan Gluten-Free Stuffing, Lemon & Herb Roasted Chicken Thighs, and Epic Vegan Sweet Potato Pie.

More Thanksgiving Salads

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Two plates of our Thanksgiving chicory green salad topped with vegan goat cheese

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 5 minutes

Total Time 15 minutes

Servings 4 (side servings)

Course Salad, Side

Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan

Freezer Friendly No

Does it keep? Best when fresh

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GREENS & DRESSING

  • 6 cups tender baby greens, torn into bite-sized pieces (we recommend gem lettuce, green leaf lettuce, or butter lettuce // or sub mixed greens)
  • 3 cups chicories of choice, torn into bite-sized pieces (radicchio, endive, and/or frisée // or sub more mixed greens, but we prefer some bitter greens in this salad for flavor balance and digestive benefits)
  • 1 ½ tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar (or sub champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar)
  • Flaky sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

FOR SERVING

  • 1 small-medium Asian or Bosc pear, core removed, thinly sliced (or sub another sweet, crunchy apple or pear — Fuji, Honeycrisp, or D’Anjou)
  • 1/4 cup toasted pepitas (or chopped hazelnuts or slivered almonds)
  • Vegan goat cheese (optional // for store-bought, we like Treeline // if not vegan, regular goat cheese would also work)
  • If serving with homemade vegan goat cheese (optional), prepare it at least 30 minutes before serving. It adds extra decadence but isn’t essential, especially when pairing with a creamy or decadent meal!
  • If you don’t already have toasted pepitas (or almonds or hazelnuts), toast them first. In a small skillet, toast over low-medium heat, stirring/tossing occasionally until the pepitas begin to pop and puff up — about 3-5 minutes — or until the hazelnuts/almonds become fragrant and lightly browned — about 6-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Roughly chop the hazelnuts if they’re whole.

  • To a large serving bowl, add tender baby greens and chicories. See notes below if preparing the salad in advance to bring to an event. Drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, and vinegar, then sprinkle with a few pinches of flaky salt (gently crushed between your fingers) and a few grinds of fresh black pepper. Toss to evenly coat the greens. Taste and adjust, adding more oil for richness or if dry, lemon juice for brightness, vinegar for sweetness, salt for overall flavor, or black pepper for kick.

  • Add the sliced pear or apple and toasted pepitas (or nuts) and gently toss again, just a couple times. Immediately before serving, garnish with vegan goat cheese (optional) and more freshly ground black pepper. Enjoy!

  • Best when fresh. If preparing in advance, store components separately. Not freezer friendly.

*If preparing in advance to bring to a gathering (we don’t recommend preparing more than 12 hours in advance), it’s best to keep the components separate (greens, apple or pear, dressing, salt, pepper, pepitas, vegan goat cheese) and assemble just before serving. If cutting the apple or pear in advance, toss the slices with a little lemon juice to prevent browning.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with 1 dash each sea salt and black pepper and without optional ingredients.

Serving: 1 side serving Calories: 76 Carbohydrates: 5.5 g Protein: 2.7 g Fat: 5.4 g Saturated Fat: 0.9 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.7 g Monounsaturated Fat: 2.4 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 63 mg Potassium: 167 mg Fiber: 1.9 g Sugar: 2.6 g Vitamin A: 219 IU Vitamin C: 3 mg Calcium: 12 mg Iron: 0.8 mg

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