A hearty winter salad might not be at the top of your "quintessential Thanksgiving" list, but these healthy, brightly colored side dishes are just what a holiday meal needs. With the exception of the pancetta in the Milk Street salad, these are vegan, too.
Cauliflower Salad with Lime and Turmeric
Sometimes an occasion calls for brightness. This salad embodies that while also being hearty enough to feel like a substantial addition to the meal. Turmeric has been lauded for its supposed health properties, but I love it for its subtle, lovely bitterness. It brings balance to the lime and adds a beautiful color. This simple salad will stand out both visually and in flavor. It can be made ahead, but store the arugula separately — it wilts quickly if dressed too early. You can toss all the other ingredients with the dressing together at least a day ahead if needed, but save the arugula until the last minute before serving.
— Ali Rosen
1 large head cauliflower (about 2 pounds)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Dash of salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
3 cups arugula
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
1 cup pepitas or sunflower seeds
Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Chop the cauliflower into small florets and place them on a sheet pan. Drizzle the olive oil on the cauliflower and add a dash of salt. Roast in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, turning once or twice, until the cauliflower is golden brown.
Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Once the cauliflower is cool, chop it into smaller bite-size pieces and toss in a bowl with the turmeric, and then add the arugula, lime juice and seeds and toss. Serves 4 to 6.
— From "Bring it! Tried and True Recipes for Potlucks and Casual Entertaining" Ali Rosen (Running Press, $25)
Greens with Walnuts, Parmesan and Pancetta Vinaigrette
Bitter greens pair with a rich dressing for this take on salade frisée au lardons. The dish typically is made with frisée lettuce, a poached egg and meaty salt pork for the lardons. We take our lead from Paul Bertolli, who refurbished the classic in his 2003 “Cooking by Hand,” using a mix of greens, toasted walnuts, pancetta and Parmesan. To make this salad, use any combination of bitter greens such as frisée, endive, radicchio, escarole or arugula.
To toast the walnuts, spread them evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned and fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes. A sharp Y-shaped vegetable peeler is the perfect tool for shaving the Parmesan cheese. For a heartier meal, and one that harkens back to this salad’s bistro roots, top with a fried egg. Also, don’t allow the dressing to cool before adding it to the greens. Its consistency is best when warm, and its heat slightly softens the sturdy greens. By the same token, make sure the greens are not cold when dressed so the warm dressing doesn’t firm up on contact.
— Christopher Kimball
12 ounces (about 12 cups) mixed bitter greens, torn
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
6 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, chopped
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
1 ounce (1/2 cup) Parmesan cheese, shaved
Place the greens in a large bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
In a medium skillet over medium heat, cook the pancetta, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a paper towel–lined plate. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from the skillet, then return it to medium heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until light golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the oil and the vinegar mixture, then remove from the heat and whisk until combined. Let sit for 30 seconds to warm through.
Add the warm dressing, walnuts and 1 teaspoon pepper to the greens and toss well. Taste and season with salt. Divide the salad among plates and top each portion with pancetta and Parmesan. Serves 6.
— From "Milk Street: Tuesday Nights: More than 200 Simple Weeknight Suppers that Deliver Bold Flavor, Fast" by Christopher Kimball (Little, Brown and Company, $35)
Wild Rice Salad with Beets, Grapes and Pecans
This is a salad you can make ahead, but don't fold in the arugula and toasted pecans until you're ready to serve. If you have a multicooker, use it to make quick work of cooking the wild rice.
— Addie Broyles
2 cups wild rice, rinsed and drained
12 baby golden beets
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for rubbing
Freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups pecans
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 small shallot, minced
2 cups seedless grapes, halved
5 ounces arugula (not baby), thick stems discarded, leaves chopped
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large saucepan, cover the rice with at least 3 inches of water and bring to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt and simmer over moderate heat until the rice is tender, about 45 minutes. Drain well, then spread on a large baking sheet to cool; stir occasionally.
Meanwhile, rub the beets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes, until just tender. Let cool, then rub off the skins and cut into 1/2-inch wedges.
Spread the pecans in a pie plate. Bake for about 10 minutes, until fragrant and browned. Let cool, then coarsely chop.
In a large serving bowl, whisk the vinegar with the shallot and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk in the 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add the rice, beets and grapes and toss well. Season with salt and pepper; toss again. Fold in the arugula and pecans and serve.
— From "Potluck: Food and Drink to Share with Friends and Family" by the editors of Food & Wine (Oxmoor House, $29,99)