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Healthy Thanksgiving Salad


Healthy Thanksgiving Salad is a refreshing side to your Thanksgiving menu with cranberries, pecans and an amazing homemade dressing! Serve with leftover turkey for a yummy lunch the next day!

Healthy Thanksgiving Salad

Thanksgiving Salad

Thanksgiving food is about tradition, gratitude and deliciousness!  Most families have specific foods that they have eaten for their Thanksgiving dinner for years and continue to serve those, because – tradition!  Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, rolls, and pumpkin pie are classic Thanksgiving dishes.  We like to add new colorful, fresh recipes to our menu every year and salad is definitely one of those.  A lot of Thanksgiving foods can be really heavy, which is why we always like to have a fresh green salad to lighten up the menu.   Our Healthy Thanksgiving Salad includes:

  • Spinach and Lettuce – gives a nice variety of fresh green color.
  • Red Onion – a bit in flavor and beautiful purple color.
  • Mandarin Oranges – fresh bright citrus flavor, brings sweet flavors to add to the savory.
  • Dried Cranberries – Adds sweetness and texture variety.
  • Pecans – brings a crunch to the salad, nutty sweet flavor, and protein.
  • Turkey – this is optional but we love the savory flavor and heartiness it adds.
  • Dressing – beautiful combination of tangy, savory and seasonal flavors.

These are simple ingredients because it just shouldn’t be overly complicated on a food-heavy day like Thanksgiving!

Healthy Thanksgiving Salad

Getting Kids to Eat Salad

One of the most common questions we get is “how do I get my kids to eat _______”.  Salad is one of those foods that is considered an ‘adult’ food to many people.  Admittedly, salad can be a difficult food for younger kids to eat if you don’t pay attention to the ingredients used in the salad and how it is prepared.   We have a lot of years of experience feeding our own kids salad, but also have asked all of you also!  These are a few articles that have great tips if your kids aren’t salad eaters:

Healthy Thanksgiving Salad

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Healthy Thanksgiving Salad


Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Massaged Kale Salad with Maple Pecans

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 254kcal





  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, dijon mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  • To de-stem kale, hold onto the end of the stalk and with your other hand, run it along the stalk tightly to remove the leaves from the stalk.
  • Chop kale into small bite size pieces. Rinse the chopped kale well in a colander. Drain it, pat it dry, or use a salad spinner to get as much liquid off as possible.
  • Add chopped kale to a large mixing bowl. Drizzle dressing over the kale, and rub (massage) into the kale for 2-3 minutes or until the kale starts to darken in color.
  • In a small pan, add the pecans and remaining maple syrup and heat over medium low heat. Once the pans begins to heat, stir the pecans constantly until the maple syrup sticks to them like candy. Remove from heat and spread out on a piece of parchment paper or tin foil. Let them cool.
  • Add apple slices to the kale salad arranging in a pretty pattern. Sprinkle with feta cheese. When pecans are cooled, sprinkle evenly on top. Serve and enjoy!


Calories: 254kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 581mg | Potassium: 383mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 7631IU | Vitamin C: 73mg | Calcium: 278mg | Iron: 2mg
Keyword : Massaged Kale Salad



Natalie Monson

I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.

Learn More about Natalie

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And I’m thankful for you, too. Sounds like Sarah put on a great Thanksgiving. I think it’s hilarious she wouldn’t let you put wheat flour in the rolls.

That salad was so scrumptious I went back for seconds! It made me feel healthy while I overdosed on turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and those wonderful Lion House Rolls. Thanks again!

I can’t find the dressing anywhere. Went to the link and got a page for the spinach salad pizza but still no place where the dressing is listed. Because I am dying to try this recipe. Yum!