Thanksgiving Dinner Salad

Have you heard about Olivia's Organics Healthier Holiday Recipe Contest? If you haven't, get right over to Olivia's Organics Facebook page, and check it out!

To enter, all you have to do is share a new healthy holiday recipe on Olivia's Organics Facebook page, and you'll have the chance to win 52 weeks' worth of Olivia's Organics salads! The contest started on October 15 and runs until December 20, so hurry up and get your entry in.

Olivia's Organics is seeking healthy alternatives to traditionally heavy holiday meals, so I decided to tackle the heaviest of meals: Thanksgiving dinner. I could have made some lightened up versions of sides, but the more I got to thinking about it, the more I thought it would be fun to make over the entire meal and turn it into a salad.

I thought about the main components of Thanksgiving dinner -- turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and gravy -- and then about some of the usual sides -- sweet potatoes or yams, green bean casserole, creamed spinach, turnip, squash, and cranberry sauce -- and then about dessert -- pumpkin pie -- and of course, some wine.

Using these ideas, I came up with a fabulous salad that encompasses most of them and some substitutions you can make based one what you like in your salad or as part of your Thanksgiving dinner.

My salad ended up featuring turkey, stuffing, baby yams, spinach, dried cranberries, and a dressing made from pumpkin seed oil and late harvest Riesling vinegar (and just a touch of maple syrup). I could have boiled and sliced some baby potatoes, steamed some green beans, roasted some squash, or toasted some pumpkin seeds and thrown those in as well.

Because this is a salad and you can make it as big or as little as you want, I haven't included amounts but just directions for throwing it together and recipes for the components, when necessary.

Thanksgiving Dinner Salad

Cover a plate with a few handfuls of Olivia's Organics Baby Spinach.

Toss with some pumpkin seed oil and late harvest Riesling dressing (recipe below).

Top with roasted and sliced baby yams (recipe below).

Adorn with dried cranberries.

Sprinkle with sourdough-sage stuffing (recipe below).

Top with cubed or shredded cranberry-maple-rubbed roasted turkey breast (recipe below).


Pumpkin Seed Oil And Late Harvest Riesling Dressing

Combine 1 tablespoon pumpkin seed oil with 2 teaspoons late harvest Riesling vinegar (or add more to taste). Add about 1/8 teaspoon maple syrup (or more if you like a sweeter dressing). This recipe can be increased to serve more... but I just made enough for 1 or 2 salads.

Roasted Baby Yams

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place yams on a foil-lined baking sheet. Poke all of them two times with a fork. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper, and drizzle them with olive oil.

Roast until tender, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Sourdough-Sage Stuffing (adapted from Saveur)


1 stick of unsalted butter
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 stalks of celery, trimmed and finely chopped
1 tablespoon parsley leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
Salt and pepper
5 cups fine fresh sourdough bread crumbs
1/4 cup chicken stock


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter over medium-low heat in large saucepan. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until very soft, about 10 minutes.

Stir in celery, parsley, and sage. Season with salt and pepper, and continue cooking for 5 more minutes.

Remove from heat and transfer mixture to a large bowl. Add bread crumbs to the mixture and toss until well combined.

Stir in the chicken stock, and mix to moisten stuffing. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.

Spread the stuffing on a buttered sheet pan, and bake until golden brown, 30 to 45 minutes.

Cranberry-Maple-Rubbed Roasted Turkey Breast

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rub turkey with cranberry maple rub (available from Old Town Spice Merchants), and let sit for 15 minutes.

Roast for about 15 to 20 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.

This was not Thanksgiving dinner, but if I ever had to have a healthier Thanksgiving dinner, I would opt for this salad. It has all those flavors reminiscent of the holiday, so it's also perfect when you want a taste of Thanksgiving at some other time of the year.

And can I just tell you that using stuffing for croutons was one of the best ideas I've ever had! I absolutely loved it and continued adding it to my salads for the rest of the week. It's a little more time-consuming than making or buying croutons, but I think it adds so much more flavor and disperses the crunch more evenly throughout the salad.

What would be in your Thanksgiving salad?