What are the non-negotiables on your holiday tables? When I was growing up we always had to have my great grandmother’s stewed red cabbage, and my Aunt Carol’s boiled rutabagas. But living in California I’ve come to do things a little differently, for one thing I have at least 4 year round farmers markets close to my house, and so when it comes to shopping for the big day I don’t have to rely on root veggies. There is always a big beautiful salad on our holiday tables, and I’ve put together a collection of 12 of my favorites for you, almost all of them non-lettuce based. They add a spark of color and freshness to the table, and lighten up the heavy traditional meal. And a huge benefit of winter salads is that they can usually be made in advance, which is essential on crazy days like Thanksgiving.
You can’t get any prettier or crunchier than this Sweet Pepper and Onion Salad. I take it as a point of pride to find as many different shades of bell pepper as I can to create an edible rainbow. Good quality colorful bell peppers are available all year long, too.
This year I’ll be making Wild Rice Salad with Cranberries and Nuts for my own Thanksgiving table. Wild rice is a special treat this time of year, and makes a unique salad when you toss it with sweet cranberries and crunchy nuts. You could make this the day before and toss it with extra dressing right before sitting down to dinner.
Another one of my favorites is my shaved Brussels Sprout Salad. I’ve always loved Brussels sprouts, but never thought about eating them raw until this salad came along. The maple cider vinaigrette is so fantastic I use it on all my salads these days. Like most of the other salads here, make this one in the morning, pop it in the fridge, and it will just get better as it waits for the first guests to arrive.
Check out the slideshow below to see all 12 fun winter salads —
Check out 12 Winter Salads for the Holiday Table
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