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The Perfect Pantry's Thanksgiving Favorites: salads, slaws, and green vegetables

Brussels sprouts and broccoli with maple mustard vinaigrette.

Many years ago, my husband Ted and I participated in a potluck Thanksgiving dinner. Being from out of town, we were asked to bring something easy, carrots and celery for a dip. However, when we arrived, we realized that our celery was the only bit of green on the entire holiday table. Turkey, potatoes, stuffing, gravy, onions: all brown. No green vegetables, and no salad.

Our own holiday menus feature plenty of green along with the traditional bird and sides. We always serve salad, and at least one green vegetable. Here are some of our favorites, to consider as you're putting the finishing touches on your own menu.

Two of our favorite green vegetables together, Brussels and broccoli with maple mustard vinaigrette (top photo) brings a little bit of the tang of Dijon mustard to the table. 

Raw shaved Brussels sprouts with dried cranberries, feta and pine nuts.

Another way to get Brussels sprouts on the table, this salad of raw shaved Brussels sprouts with dried cranberries, feta and pine nuts will surprise and delight your guests, who might not even realize there are Brussels in it!

Sautéed escarole with garlic and parmesan cheese.

Escarole is one of those dark leafy greens we should all be eating more often. It's a bit bitter until you cook it, when it mellows. Toss it with some garlic, and top with parmesan cheese, and this dish of sautéed escarole with garlic and parmesan cheese is a real winner.


Not all greens need to be dark and leafy. This dish of wilted cabbage with warm lemon-dill dressing might be described more as light and fluffy.

Broccoli raab (sometimes spelled rabe) with grapes and honey.

Broccoli raab with honey and grapes, a recipe from my friend Julia, exemplifies the combination of bitter and sweet that works so well on the holiday table. Raab (sometimes spelled rabe) is a healthy, dark leafy green. I'd never have thought of this pairing of ingredients myself. It's crave-worthy, so please try it.

Happy Thanksgiving!  

Favorite salads, slaws and green vegetables for the holiday table.

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I agree completely that there have to be green vegetables for Thanksgiving. My family usually has Broccoli Gratin, and I always want brussels sprouts , although they're a hard sell with some people in the family.

Kalyn, I need a salad, too. I'm learning to love raw Brussels sprouts in salads, and I always try to sneak some onto the holiday table (and they can be a tough sell around here, too).

'Top photo' is a favorite of mine from The Perfect Pantry, and I'm glad to be reminded.
About Brussels sprouts: when we had little kids, I told them they were 'baby cabbages' and they ate them without complaint!
I found some very 'baby' sprouts at a farm stand -- looks like they go on the menu in the vinaigrette. (already salivating)

Susan, I love those baby Brussels sprouts. They're like candy!

Love your story, Lydia! These recipes all sound great - I just bought the ingredients for the broccoli raab with grapes and honey for dinner tomorrow.

Thanksgiving MUST have green things! We have a lot of veggie lovers in our family, so we always have a huge tossed salad and some side veggies. This time someone is bringing a collard greens dish, and we'll also have a green bean casserole (yes, it's a weakness of mine).

For the many house guests we will have for the weekend, I'm making a huge batch of your vegan Asian red cabbage slaw with peanuts, scallions and mint, which is a big favorite in our house. (I'm also making your peanut sauce so that I can do a big batch of peanut noodles).

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Judy, the broccoli raab with grapes is such a surprising recipe, combining bitter and sweet. Your menu sounds great -- wish I were there! Have a wonderful holiday.

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