Thanksgiving Salad (One Pot)

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Quick and easy Thanksgiving salad recipe, homemade with simple ingredients in one pot in 20 minutes. Packed with apples, pears, kale, spinach, poppy seeds, pecans and apple cider vinaigrette.

This is not to be confused with Thanksgiving jello salad. It is full of warm flavors and colors and will truly be the perfect compliment to turkey and other classic holiday sides. It’s just as good (if not, better) as this old fashioned Creamy Pea Salad (One Bowl) and this Creamy Cucumber Salad (One Bowl).

Overhead Shot of Easy Thanksgiving Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette in Blue Bowl on White Background

What is a good salad to go with Thanksgiving dinner?

Although today’s salad with apples, spinach, pears, pecans is the best choice, these are some other options:

How To Make Thanksgiving Salad Recipe From Scratch?

  1. Make apple cider vinaigrette– Whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, salt, pepper, poppy seeds.
  2. Add kale, spinach, apples, pears– Toss to combine.
  3. Add toppings- Like roughly chopped pecans.
  4. Enjoy- Serve immediately.

What To Serve With Easy Thanksgiving Salad?

The obvious answer is to serve this salad with holiday main dishes like:

It makes a great pairing with soup too:

Chicken is another great option, which can be shredded, thinly sliced or diced. It can be served on the side on mixed into the salad.

How To Make Apple Cider Vinaigrette?

Whisk together the following ingredients until combined. Use immediately, or store in a sealed jar in the fridge.

  • 1/3 cup Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Maple syrup Or honey
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt- To taste
  • Pepper- To taste
  • 2 tsp Poppy seeds

Storage

Make ahead instructions- The salad and dressing can be prepared separately and stored in the fridge for up to 2 days. Combine just prior to serving.

Refrigerate– I do not recommend refrigerating leftovers once the salad and dressing have been mixed. The salad becomes very soggy and wilted and undesirable. You can refrigerate the salad and vinaigrette separately though.

Freeze– Salad cannot be frozen because of the water content and wilting of the leaves upon thawing. The salad dressing, however, would keep in the freezer in a sealed container for up to 1 month. Thaw at room temperature and whisk together to serve.

Variations

Omit poppy seeds– This can be replaced with toasted sesame seeds if you like.

Add other seasonal fruit– I used both apples and pears. Just one or the other can be used too. You can also try raspberries or pomegranate seeds.

Add other leafy greens– Such as spring mix, lettuce, arugula, or whatever fresh greens you have on hand.

Sweetener options– Honey, agave, maple syrup. White sugar does not add the same level of flavor.

Add other nuts– Such as cashews, walnuts, almonds or even pistachios.

Pasta salad– Add small pasta such as ditalini, elbow, shells, orzo.

Add quinoa– Mix in 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa for a heartier salad.

Add dried berries– Such as cranberries, cherries, or even raisins.

Add cheese– Such as fresh grated Parmesan, shredded Swiss, mozzarella, feta, blue, or Gorgonzola cheese.

Sprinkle bacon– Add bacon crumbles as a topping for a salty addition.

Add meat– Such as rotisserie chicken, leftover turkey, steak, or ham.

Tongs Holding the Best Thanksgiving Salad with Apples, Pears and Apple Cider Vinaigrette in Blue Bowl

Tips And Techniques

Try not to omit mustard– It can be replaced with dried mustard powder. It adds another flavor profile and cuts the sweetness.

Apple cider vinegar must be used– It can not be replaced with regular distilled vinegar. It is too strong and over-powering with no sweet notes.

Serve immediately– Once the dressing has been mixed into the salad, it must be served immediately for best flavor and texture.

How to present this salad? Instead of mixing the vinaigrette with the salad, you can do a better presentation by spreading the green salad mix in a large dish. Then, top it off with rows of the toppings. Then, drizzle the prepared vinaigrette on top of the prepared salad, prior to serving. It would be elegant and fancy for a Thanksgiving dinner.

Use high quality olive oil– This provides the best flavor in the salad dressing!

Adjust sweetness– Add more or less maple syrup based on your personal preference.

Adjust seasoning– Add more or less according to taste.

More One Pot Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Easy Homemade Thanksgiving Salad in Blue Bowl on White Background
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One Pot Thanksgiving Salad

Prep Time
20 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

Quick and easy Thanksgiving salad recipe, homemade with simple ingredients in one pot in 20 minutes. Packed with apples, pears, spinach, kale, pecans, apple cider vinaigrette.

Servings: 6 People
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: apple and pear salad, homemade salad, poppy seed salad
Calories: 143 kcal
Author: Abeer Rizvi

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Maple syrup Or honey
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt To taste
  • Pepper To taste
  • 2 tsp Poppy seeds
  • 2 cups Kale Roughly chopped, Fresh
  • 4 cups Baby spinach Fresh
  • 1 Red apple Washed, Patted Dry, Cored, Diced
  • 1 Pear Washed, Patted Dry, Cored, Diced
  • 1/2 cup Pecans Roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. In a large salad bowl, whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, salt, pepper, poppy seeds until combined. Whisk for at least 1 minute.

  2. Add kale, spinach, apples, pears and toss until combined.

  3. Sprinkle pecans on top.

  4. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • Read all my tips above.
  • Tastes best when served immediately. I don’t recommend storing leftovers for later because if the vinaigrette has already been mixed with the greens, they will become soggy over time. You can store the salad and dressing separately for 2 days in the fridge and mix right before serving.
Nutrition Facts
One Pot Thanksgiving Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 143 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Sodium 162mg7%
Potassium 351mg10%
Carbohydrates 18g6%
Fiber 3g12%
Sugar 11g12%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 4152IU83%
Vitamin C 35mg42%
Calcium 89mg9%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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