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hearty salad

Ramona King

Fall Harvest Salad with Butternut Squash


Get back on the health wagon with these 12 post-Thanksgiving salads

It takes almost superhuman strength to be able to stop eating Thanksgiving day leftovers. Personally, stuffing my face with turkey, gravy and macaroni and cheese for days after the holiday has passed is my own slice of heaven. But this lasts for only so long. Soon I have to give into reason and finally reintroduce salad greens back into my life. 

But that doesn't have to be a huge sacrifice. In fact some of our favorite salad recipes will let you re-purpose Thanksgiving leftovers so you can keep eating them for a few more days — score!

Sweet Potato Salad With Toasted Coconut and Grapes
You don't feel like giving up your Thanksgiving sweet potatoes just yet? Good. With this salad you don't have to. This recipe came to us courtesy of the Plantation Room in Pine Mountain, Georgia. Here cubed sweet potatoes are tossed with toasted coconuts, sherry vinegar and raisins soaked overnight in coconut rum. What you're left with is a gloriously salad that is both well-balanced and hearty.
Get the recipe Apple Salad with Fennel and Walnuts
This super simple autumn salad is pure perfection while apples are in season. The only hard ingredient requirement here is fennel bulbs but if you'd like to add some other crunchy veggies, such as celery stalks or jicama, go crazy. Also, consider chopping the fennel fronds and add them in as well. The walnuts add another element of flavor in addition to texture. 
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Salt-Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese Mousse
Here is a trick all the pros know: roasting beets in salt helps to keep them moist while they cook keeping all of their flavor intact and preventing colors from running once the beets are cut. Salty, tangy goat cheese is a classic pair for beets, and turning the goat cheese into a spreadable mousse gives you the option for a more elegant presentation. However, if you’re just looking for a slightly less fussy salad, omit the milk and leave the goat cheese in a more crumbly form. Increase the amount of arugula and toss all the ingredients together after you cut the beets.
Get the recipeSmoked Trout Salad with Green Goddess Dressing
In addition to being visually stunning, this salad is knock-your-socks-off delicious. When serving smoked fish it's best to try pairing it with rich, creamy flavors, such as this Green Goddess dressing, in order to help prevent the saltiness of the fish from becoming too overpowering. If you’ve never tried such a dressing before, the flavors could be described as cucumber ranch. The scallions, parsley, and cucumber add depth to a creamy dressing that unites the smoky trout and the mild potatoes. Adding the brightness and sweetness of pickled onions offers acidity to cut through the rich, savory flavors.
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Fall Harvest Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette
This salad is literally fall in a bowl. In addition to roast butternut squash, this salad calls for chayote squash, or mirlitons, which are native to Mexico and Central America, but have grown around Louisiana since the 19th century. They are members of the gourd family, and have a tart flavor when cooked. When eaten raw, they have a fantastic crunch with a faint flavor of zucchini or cucumber. Tossing this salad with a Dijon vinaigrette elevates this dish to an entire different level. Don't worry if you can't stop eating it — we couldn't either. 
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Shaved Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad with Pecorino and Walnuts
If you haven't had Brussels sprouts raw, you're missing out, especially when you doll them up, Caesar salad-style. Between the walnuts, Pecorino cheese and the sprouts themselves, this easy salad is bursting with umami. In order to get the Brussels sprouts shaved thinly, consider investing in a mandolin. If you happen to have any leftover sprouts from Thanksgiving, you know what to do with them now. 
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Grilled Kabocha Squash Salad with Maple Vinaigrette
One of the best things about fall is all the squash options. This salad features kabocha squash, which is thin-skinned, naturally sweet and creamy. Arugula adds a nice peppery kick and the maple Dijon dressing balances an otherwise fairly sweet dish with nice, tart acidity. 
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Want even more post-Thanksgiving salad ideas? Look no further: 
Cynthia Graubart’s Apple Kale Coleslaw
Apple and Crispy Brussels Sprouts Salad
Heirloom Tomato BLT Salad with Green Goddess Dressing
Spinach and Blue Cheese Salad With Sliced Apples and Spiced Caramelized Pecans
Curry Sweet Potato Salad

Photo (apple salad): Ramona King
Photo (trout salad): Lauren Booker
Photo (Brussels salad): Maura Friedman

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Ryan Shepard is the editor-in-chief at Southern Kitchen. Though originally from Los Angeles, she has lived in Atlanta since early 2017 and cannot imagine calling any other city home (except maybe New Orleans). Before joining Southern Kitchen's staff, Ryan worked on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on public policy issues. When she's not at work, she enjoys hunting down the best Mexican food in the city and drinking whiskey, obviously.