50+ Christmas Salad Recipes
While we love a holiday feast that celebrates indulgence (hello, Baileys Pecan Pie), a light and fresh salad is always a welcome sight on Christmas. Balance out all those heavy sides and desserts with a crisp Wedge Salad with Turkey and Blue Cheese-Buttermilk Dressing, a flavorful Beet-and-Citrus Salad, a spicy Swiss Chard Salad With Spiced Hazelnuts, or any of our other delicious Christmas salad recipes.
Bacon and Brussels Sprout Slaw
Crunchy, creamy, tangy slaws aren't just for summer; they add a welcome contrast to the heartier dishes of fall--and free up much-needed oven space on Turkey Day.
Fall Greens and Apple Salad
Fall Greens and Apple Salad
Fennel and Blood Orange Salad
This salad is a feast for the eyes, and a welcome relief from the brown and gold tones on the Thanksgiving table. Sweet-tart blood oranges and a honey vinaigrette offset the bitter edge of the endive and radicchio (you can also use milder romaine lettuce hearts). If you can’t find blood oranges, try ruby red grapefruit or pretty pink Cara Cara oranges.
Old-School Cranberry Salad
Of all the cranberry salad recipes, this is one tried and true Thanksgiving staple that deserves a spot at your holiday table. Our traditional cranberry salad has a gorgeous ruby color that brightens up any gravy-covered plate, and the variety of tastes and textures will satisfy every family members’ preferences. Maraschino cherries balance the tartness of the cranberries without altering the flavor profile, so you still get the familiar flavor you love to enjoy this time of year. This whole cranberry salad recipe has a lot of flexibility, but make sure it marinates long enough for all the ingredients to meld together naturally.
Play with different citrus here, such as tangelos, blood oranges, or clementines.
Create a fresh, flavorful citrus salad with our favorite slow-cooked salmon, seasoned with an aromatic blend of lemongrass, fennel, scallions, and dry white wine. Our homemade citrus vinaigrette steals the show with its crisp combination of orange juice, honey, Dijon mustard, and orange zest. Tender, baby soft butter lettuce pairs perfectly with the light dressing and simple ingredients. Avocado adds a lovely creaminess to each bite, while the salmon and orange segments mingle for a moist, hearty meal. We love serving this up for an impressively tasty weekday lunch or for dinner with some extra roasted veggies on the side. You’ll find that this salad is the perfect transition to the warm months ahead.
Wedge Salad with Turkey and Blue Cheese-Buttermilk Dressing
You can have this filling salad ready in just 15 minutes, making it a no-brainer for weekday lunches. Use our Slow-Cooker Turkey Breast recipe to get the protein ready and on hand for this hearty salad. Unlike roasting, slow-cooking locks in moisture, creating juicy and flavorful meat, which is so important when cooking a healthier, leaner protein like turkey breast. If not kept under the correct conditions with proper pampering, it becomes dry and tough. The creamy blue cheese-buttermilk dressing that accompanies this crisp wedge salad combines buttermilk, garlic, mayonnaise, sour cream, chives, parsley, blue cheese, and paprika for a flavorful topping to this simple salad of just iceberg lettuce, tomato, red onion, and turkey (in lieu of the usual crumbled bacon). This recipe makes for a perfect lunchtime or dinner salad.
Everything Bagel Salad
Your favorite brunch special just took on a new, heartier format. Everything here comes through: The bagels, capers, lox, raw onions, and cream cheese are all balanced out by spinach’s natural mild sweetness. This makes a lot of salad, so you could serve it as either a main or a side dish for a larger crowd. Using whipped cream cheese will make it easier to whisk. You can opt for hot smoked salmon, but cold is a classic. Since the spinach is hardy, you can make this up to 30 minutes before serving.
Quick Chopped Salad with Buttermilk Dressing
The whole family will love this easy-to-prepare chopped salad, especially because you can substitute any fresh vegetables you like. Swap out the tomatoes for cucumbers, or replace the avocado with carrots. The lettuces can be any combination of leafy greens—try Bibb, arugula, spinach, romaine. The creamy dressing, which is similar to ranch, tastes great and can be prepared up to two days in advance and stored, covered, in the refrigerator. To easily transport this salad to a party, toss the salad ingredients together in a large bowl and make the dressing in a glass jar with a lid (such as a Mason jar). Shake the jar until the dressing is combined, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Roasted Pumpkin-and-Baby Kale Salad
Shaved Carrot, Asparagus, and Apple Salad
Add sweetness and color to your usual cabbage slaw with this creative side dish that includes green apple, asparagus, basil, and carrots. A vegetable peeler is the best tool to get super thin slices of asparagus. (Buy thicker spears to make this job easier.) We love using angel hair cabbage in this easy salad because it’s delicately shredded and breaks down quickly in the vinaigrette while still maintaining a nice crunch. Unlike other slaw recipes, this one needs to be served immediately, although you can prep the fruit and vegetables a day or two in advance and store them, covered, in the refrigerator.
Turnip Green Salad
If you think turnip greens are only edible if they are simmered in a pot of liquid and seasoned with a ham hock, check out this recipe. This summer salad makes delicious use of abundant produce such as fresh turnip greens, heirloom grape tomatoes, and colorful watermelon radishes. Ideal as a side dish for a summer cookout, the hearty greens and cauliflower lend enough bulk to make this salad a main dish. Feel free to add other summer vegetables to the recipe, such as chopped zucchini, yellow squash, or cucumbers. We've topped this salad with Green Goddess Dressing for even more flavor.
Romaine, Asparagus, and Watercress Salad with Shrimp
The beans, chicken, and dressing can all be made a day ahead in your slow-cooker. Assemble this meal in minutes and round out this light salad with a loaf of crusty bread. If you have any leftover, it will make a great lunch the following day. Slow cooking requires little fat, so trim the excess from meats and poultry. Preserve the flavor of fresh herbs by adding them to the dish once it comes out of the slow cooker. Removing the slow cooker lid while cooking releases valuable heat, so resist the urge to check on the dish as it cooks.
Chopped Salad with Chive Vinaigrette
Hearts of romaine pack this family-friendly Chopped Salad with Chive Vinaigrette with tons of nutrients, including vitamins B1 and C, potassium, copper, iron, and folate.
Chicken, White Bean, and Spinach Salad
The beans, chicken, and dressing can all be made a day ahead in your slow-cooker. Assemble this meal in minutes and round out this light summer salad with a loaf of crusty bread. If you have any leftover, it will make a great lunch the following day. Slow cooking requires little fat, so trim the excess from meats and poultry. Preserve the flavor of fresh herbs by adding them to the dish once it comes out of the slow cooker. Removing the slow cooker lid while cooking releases valuable heat, so resist the urge to check on the dish as it cooks.
Crispy Salmon Salad With Roasted Butternut Squash
If you make the vinaigrette and slice the oranges and onions in advance, this becomes a fast throw-together side on the holiday. Though we love the texture and flavor variety of three kinds of greens, you could use all of one type if you’d rather.
Chickpea Salad Boats
This recipe captures all of the bright, fresh appeal of a salad in a pretty, portable bite. Sturdy endive leaves have a nice cup shape for filling; you also could use Little Gem or small Bibb lettuce leaves. To get a head start, make the filling (minus the pears) up to a day in advance. About an hour before guests arrive, gently stir in the pear and fill the leaves.
Winter Greens and Citrus Salad
If you make the vinaigrette and slice the oranges and onions in advance, this becomes a fast throw-together side on Turkey Day. Though we love the texture and flavor variety of three kinds of greens, you could use all of one type if you’d rather.
Smoky Mushroom and Barley Salad with Poblano
If barley isn’t a pantry staple for you, this Mexican-spiced mushroom dish will change that. For this fast-fix recipe, be sure to pick up pearl barley; it cooks in almost half the time of regular barley.
Shaved Vegetable Salad With Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
If you can’t find golden or Chioggia beets, just use red beets; wear gloves to prevent stains on your hands. Once tossed with the dressing, the vegetables wilt slightly to a crisp-tender texture. You can make the dressing a day ahead and reheat just before tossing with the salad; shave the vegetables (but not the apple) up to a day ahead.
Roasted Beet-and-Citrus Salad with Honey-Orange Vinaigrette
This Roasted Beet-and-Citrus Salad is colorful, seasonal and has a beautiful presentation. Not only does it look pretty, this dish tastes light and fresh. The beetsand citrus elements also offer different textures for a more interesting experience than your everyday green salad. One of our test kitchen professionals said “the citrus segment and the orange-zest-spiked vinaigrette pair well with the earthy sweet of the beets.” (Jarred citrus ingredients are available in the refrigerated section of the fruit and vegetable department at the grocery store.) The mixture of red and yellow beets will add a pop of color to your dinner table.
Grilled Scallop Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette
This easy salad is zippy, crunchy, light, and fresh—an antidote to an overindulgent Christmas. And it happens to pair especially well with a leftover turkey-and- cranberry-sauce sandwich. We love the depth that the wine-soaked raisins add, but you could also omit the wine and instead use raisins straight out of the box.
Winter Citrus Salad
Give your favorite seasonal salad a hearty boost by swapping grilled purple cabbage in place of the traditional iceberg. It's crunchy, and rich, and chock-full of Vitamin C. Losing the bacon keeps this starter vegetarian. And sumac—a purple spice with a bright, tart flavor—is well worth finding and keeping on hand. Look for it in Mediterranean groceries or specialty spice shops. It shouldn't be too difficult to find.
Celery-and-Parsley Salad with Wine-Soaked Raisins
Holiday fare is delicious and comforting—but all too often it's also an overwhelmingly heavy meal. To offset all those deep rich flavors, you want something bright and fresh, with enough flavor to cut through those other dishes. This salad is like a breath of fresh air at the table: The tangy yogurt and bold citrus will ensure it quickly becomes a favorite.
Cabbage Wedge Salad
Give your favorite fall salad a hearty boost by swapping grilled purple cabbage in place of the traditional iceberg. It's crunchy, and rich, and chock-full of Vitamin C. Losing the bacon keeps this starter vegetarian. And sumac—a purple spice with a bright, tart flavor—is well worth finding and keeping on hand. Look for it in Mediterranean groceries or specialty spice shops. It shouldn't be too difficult to find.
Beet and Citrus Salad With Almond Gremolata
Thanksgiving fare is delicious and comforting—but all too often it's also an overwhelmingly heavy meal. To offset all those deep rich flavors, you want something bright and fresh, with enough flavor to cut through those other dishes. This salad is like a breath of fresh air at the table: The tangy yogurt and bold citrus will ensure it quickly becomes a favorite.
Shaved Turnip Salad
Fruity and just slightly spicy, Aleppo pepper teams up with grapefruit juice in a knockout vinaigrette, providing the perfect balance for the raw turnips. Turnips are high in vitamin C and have a good amount of fiber, to boot.
Carrot Ribbon Salad
Getting your hands on a Y-shaped vegetable peeler is the secret to long and beautiful carrot ribbons. Although we used regular carrots here, multicolored carrots would make a vibrant addition to this salad. To save time, make the dressing and carrot ribbons ahead of time. Pro tip: Soak the ribbons in ice water to get a nice distinct curl.
Cranberry Fluff Salad
While it might not be the best-looking dish on the holiday table, it will be incredibly popular. Super sweet and creamy, this dish will work just as well as a side as it will as a dessert. We guarantee there won't be leftovers.
Ambrosia Fruit Salad
Whether you consider it a salad, side dish, or dessert, ambrosia is a holiday classic. It's quick and easy to make and can sit overnight if you like.
Instant Pot Brussels Sprouts and Farro Salad
Hearty and filling, this easy Instant Pot side dish was an instant hit in our test kitchen. For a vegetarian option, omit the bacon, saute the Brussels sprouts in olive oil, and cook the farro in vegetable stock.
Beet and Labneh Salad with Duck Fat Granola
This stunning beet salad is a looker for sure, but don’t be fooled—it couldn’t be easier to make. It’s a perfect pick for holiday entertaining; with a sprinkle of Duck Fat Granola, this opening course is dressed to impress.
Succotash Salad with Lentils
Filling lentils tag team with a garden’s bounty of vegetables to add fiber and color to this bright, seasonal salad. On the flavor playground, basil and tomatoes are best friends, so it’s no surprise this herb-loaded dressing is the perfect way to tie all of this salad’s vegetables together.
Squash-Ribbon Salad with Herbs
Ethereal squash ribbons plus a simple vinaigrette combine for a salad that takes the edge off soaring summer temperatures. Customize this no-cook side with a generous handful of your favorite herbs—we love the combination here, but sneaking in some cilantro or tarragon would add a flavorful twist. If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, toss the squash mixture with some cooked whole wheat penne for a summery pasta supper.
Fruit and Arugula Salad with Fig Vinaigrette
There’s only one thing better than the juicy watermelon and peaches in this salad—the outstanding fig vinaigrette. Jammy and sweet with a subtle savory essence, fig preserves provide a flavor foil for tart vinegar and act as an excellent thickener for this dressing, which helps it cling to all the ingredients in this salad. Peppery arugula adds the perfect spicy bite that stands up to the sweet summer fruit. Make a double batch of the vinaigrette and use it to marinate chicken or brush over salmon before grilling.
Superfast Farro and Chickpea Salad
Here’s a great dinner template to keep in your back pocket when you get to the end of the week and you don’t think you have anything stocked for dinner. A couple pantry staples, a little cooked whole grain, some bold-flavored condiments, a few crunchy veggies and you’re done. Here, we get inspiration from Thai flavors for the dressing—cilantro, lime juice, and garlic—but feel free to riff on it with whatever you might have on hand.
Grilled Caesar Salad With Sourdough Breadcrumbs
Greek yogurt and sourdough bread lend a natural dose of probiotics to our riff on Caesar salad. Alliums such as garlic offer prebiotic fuel to help the good bugs thrive. (This is the difference between pre- and probiotic foods.) Keep the sourdough croutons whole if you don’t want to dirty the food processor, or you can lightly crush them in a ziplock bag.
Kale Salad with Spiced Chickpeas and Berries
To make this salad ahead of time, pour the dressing into the bottom of a portable container, and arrange the kale and all the toppings (except for the chickpeas) on top without mixing. When you’re ready to eat, combine all the salad components with the dressing. Bring chickpeas in a separate container so they’ll stay crunchy, and toss them on at the last minute.
Fig and Greens Salad
Chickpeas, goat cheese, and walnuts pump up the protein in this arugula salad, making it a hearty meatless main. Dried figs add a big fiber boost—more per serving than any other fruit.
Wilted Chard and Shaved Fennel Salad
Lightly sautéed chard leaves and stems are the base of this slightly warm chard and fennel salad. Rainbow chard makes the prettiest salad, but any type of chard will work as a stand-in. Cooking the greens for just a few minutes keeps them vibrant and makes them tender but not too soft. Look for a small fennel bulb with the lacey green fronds still attached. If fennel isn’t available at your market, a small onion would be a good substitute here. Serve with pork chops or roast chicken.
Sweet Potato and Chard Salad
Be sure to dice the sweet potato into relatively similar-size small pieces to ensure quick, even cooking. This one-pot cooking method shows how easy it is to cook potatoes and greens to the perfect doneness in the same pot—just start the potatoes a few minutes ahead, then add the chard. While the potatoes and chard cook, warm precooked farro in the microwave, or make a batch of quick-cooking farro on the stovetop. For the best flavor, use tarragon vinegar, which is infused with fresh tarragon flavor. In a pinch, use white wine vinegar.
Sautéed Radish Salad with Avocado Dressing
Lightly cooked radishes develop rounder flavor, with less pungency and a touch of sweetness, while staying crisp at the core. The simple avocado puree adds silky creaminess to the mix. If you can’t find pea greens, arugula or watercress would also work well here.
Roasted Pistachio-Crusted Salmon and Kale Salad
A simple crust of toasted pistachios takes salmon from everyday delicious to special enough for guests. For even cooking, look for a fillet that is about the same thickness throughout, or ask at the fish counter to trim off the tail end. While the salmon roasts, you can whisk together the Dijon mustard vinaigrette and add the salad ingredients to the bowl. If you like slightly wilted salad, toss it with the dressing while the salmon finishes so it has time to wilt a bit. For a more crisp salad, toss with the dressing at the table. Serve with rice pilaf or farro.
Arugula Salad with Lemon and Pine Nuts
Peppery arugula combines with tangy lemon, salty cheese, and sweet toasted pine nuts for a perfectly balanced side salad. Slowly drizzling the olive oil into the lemon juice mixture helps emulsify the dressing. If you add the oil all at once, it’s harder to combine it with the acid, and it ends up looking like the dressing is separated. Serve this salad with grilled chicken or seared steak or top with lemony tuna salad.
Kale-Radicchio Salad With Farro
This simple and delicious kale and farro salad is one of Elyse Kopecky's favorite recipes from her cookbook, Run Fast. Eat Slow. (The chef, writer, nutrition coach, mom, and runner co-authored the cookbook with Shalane Flanagan, four-time Olympian and world-class marathoner.) Elyse loves prepping healthy grain salads—such as this one—ahead of time so she can enjoy quick and easy lunches during a busy work week. For this recipe, you can cook the farro and toss the kale with the dressing in advance. "The al-dente texture of the farro combined with the lemon and garlic flavors in the dressing make this salad reminiscent of a bowl of fresh pasta." —Run Fast. Eat Slow. This recipe originally appears in Run Fast. Eat Slow. by Elyse Kopecky and Shalane Flanagan.
Beet, Fennel, and Apple Salad
This bright and fresh first course will set the tone for the rest of the dinner. Red-and-white-striped Chioggia beets (also called candy cane beets) make a festive presentation, but if you can’t find them, use red or golden beets.
New Potato and Fennel Salad
This bright and tangy potato salad pairs wonderfully with the ham. We prefer buttery Castelvetrano olives if you can find them.
Beet-and-Orange Salad with Spiced Pecans
For this bright, beautiful salad, use ready-to-eat peeled and steamed beets (which cut the cook time down to just 15 minutes), or roast your own.