In the case of Thanksgiving menu planning on the Avasthi family, my brother and I normally follow a tried and true formulation. We all know what works and our buying record appears to be like about the identical each single yr. Nevertheless, the one menu merchandise that at all times appears to lead to a number of groans and eye rolls is my suggestion of a fall salad recipe for the desk. Yeah, I get it—is a salad actually one thing that individuals sit up for on Thanksgiving? Whenever you’re evaluating it to Thanksgiving sides like mashed potatoes and buttery rolls sitting subsequent to it, in all probability not. However yearly I insist on making a salad as a result of personally, I like having one thing contemporary and inexperienced on my plate surrounded by shades of beige. And yearly, with out fail, I’m principally the one particular person consuming the salad.
So this yr, as I begin to plan out our Thanksgiving menu, I wished to tug collectively a salad recipe that not solely I would get pleasure from, however that might elicit a bit extra enthusiasm from my dinner companions on the desk, too. Enter: all of the scrumptious fall flavors with a chunk of freshness that’s the right addition to your Thanksgiving menu this yr.
Sometimes, it’s hard to get excited about a salad, so having a few standout ingredients that all complement each other is critical. No one wants just a plate of greens, especially at Thanksgiving. For this version, I used some classic fall ingredients and elevated them through interesting preparation.
The star here is the sweet potatoes, obviously. The bonus is that you can then use this as both the salad and the sweet potato dish on your table. I used the smallest sweet potatoes I could find at the store, small enough that they fit into the palm of my hand. Getting them nice and tender in the oven with a little char elevated their sweet flavor, and made this salad feel a more decadent.
The other star here is the dates. Now, I have gone on record in the past to claim that I hate dates. I’m still not the biggest fan, but I have found when prepared in a certain way and paired with other ingredients, I can in fact get behind them. Caramelizing the dates in the oven with some olive oil and balsamic makes them nice and chewy with a really great flavor that works well with the sweet potatoes in this salad. It adds a nice textural component to the salad and feels special for the holiday occasion.
The other ingredients in this salad bring the fall feels: pomegranate seeds, crunchy pistachios, and creamy chunks of goat cheese. But what I really love is the big tears of cilantro. I love the freshness that they bring to this salad paired with the rest of the ingredients. I wouldn’t be opposed to skipping the lettuce altogether and just adding a whole bunch of cilantro to the plate for serving. Add a zingy dressing and you have a delicious plate of freshness to add to the holiday spread.
You can absolutely customize this salad as you like. If serving for dinner on a weeknight, I think some avocado would be great, even some apple slices for extra sweetness during the season. Switch out the greens with what you have on hand, and use your favorite dressings. Any way you serve it, this salad will be a fresh and delicious addition to your autumn dinner table.