15 Festive Christmas Salads for Your Holiday Dinner

Brussels Sprouts Dill Salad

The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

Hearty, comforting dishes are ubiquitous on the Christmas dinner table, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for a festive and flavorful holiday-worthy salad. Whether you serve it as a starter course or offer it as a side dish, a light and refreshing salad can bring much-needed balance to a big meal with rich, heavy mains.

This collection of favorite Christmas salad recipes will put some holiday sparkle into your annual Christmas feast while offering a refreshing, healthy alternative. There are plenty of options to add to your menu, from tossed green salads with Santa-approved red accents, to a stunning Mexican fruit salad that mimics a holiday wreath, plus comforting warm vegetable salads, and nostalgic fruit salad recipes.

  • 01 of 15

    Fennel and Apple Salad With Honey Yogurt Dressing

    Fennel and Apple Salad With Honey Yogurt Dressing

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

    This wintry white salad marries apples' crisp, tart taste with the anise-flavor of fennel. Cortland apples are shredded and tossed with crunchy fennel matchsticks in a healthful, sweet, and creamy dressing made with honey and non-fat Greek yogurt. Serve as a cooling starter or a side dish for roasted meat.

  • 02 of 15

    Brussels Sprout Dill Salad

    Brussels Sprouts Dill Salad

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

    Bring Brussels sprouts to your holiday table in a whole new way by keeping them raw in this vibrant, crunchy salad. Sliced thin, the sprout takes on a whole new personality in this wholesome salad loaded with great textures and flavors, including crispy almonds, fresh dill, and a showering of salty Pecorino cheese.

  • 03 of 15

    Ambrosia Fruit Salad

    Ambrosia Fruit Salad With Sour Cream Dressing

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    For many American families, particularly in the Southern states, Christmas dinner wouldn't be complete without an ambrosia fruit salad. Make it with fresh and canned fruit, miniature marshmallows, and sour cream, adding a snowy garnish of flaked coconut on top. Serve in glass bowls or piled atop a bed of lettuce leaves for a nostalgic start or ending to your holiday meal.

  • 04 of 15

    Red and Green Salad

    Red and Green Salad

    The Spruce/Katarina Zunic

    Deck the Christmas dinner table with this vibrant and festive red and green salad. With slender zucchini ribbons, peppery green arugula leaves, and tart pomegranate seeds, all tossed in a bright, citrusy vinaigrette, it makes a lovely, light starter. If assembling ahead of time, keep the dressing separate and add just before serving to avoid soggy leaves.

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  • 05 of 15

    Warm Bacon Dressing Over Greens

    Warm Bacon Dressing

    The Spruce

    You need only a few ingredients to make this sophisticated dressing that sings with bacon flavor. When drizzled over, the warm bacon dressing wilts the salad leaves slightly so they become soft and tender while still keeping their bite. It's an impressive holiday dinner course that will turn salad into comfort food.

  • 06 of 15

    Spinach, Feta, and Blood Orange Salad With Orange Sumac Dressing

    Spinach, Feta and Blood Orange Salad with Orange Sumac Dressing

    Anita Schecter

     

    Beautiful blood oranges bring their signature sweetness and fantastic color to this simply great spinach salad. It's a very merry first course for winter holiday dinners, which happily coincide with blood orange season. The bright and zingy olive oil dressing with blood orange juice and dried sumac spice will turn any winter salad into something special.

  • 07 of 15

    Pear and Greens Salad

    Pear and Greens Salad

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

    Like a chorus of joyful voices singing Christmas carols, this elegant winter salad creates beautiful harmony from the sum of its parts. Ripe, juicy pears, tangy blue cheese crumbles, toasted walnuts, and apple cider vinegar come together in every bite to hit all the right notes on your palate.

  • 08 of 15

    Old-Fashioned Frozen Fruit Salad

    Freeze the salad

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

    Serve up some nostalgia this holiday season with a molded salad. Once a must-have for Southerners at holiday gatherings and church potlucks, with an ingredient list including mini-marshmallows, whipped cream, and canned fruit cocktail, these salads have a retro-cool appeal that makes them a fun addition to your Christmas feast. The salad is delicious with ham or turkey at your Christmas dinner.

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  • 09 of 15

    Raw Vegan Kale and Orange Salad

    Raw Vegan Kale and Orange Salad

    Rasmusbredahl/Getty Images

    Tangerine oranges, or winter clementines, add something special to this easy, colorful, Christmas-ready salad. Save prep time by assembling it fully a few hours ahead of eating. The sweet, spicy, citrusy dressing will tenderize the tough kale leaves as they sit in the fridge, and infuse them with great flavor for a softer, gentler kale salad like you've never tasted.

  • 10 of 15

    Roasted Beet Salad With Goat Cheese

    Roasted Beet Salad With Goat Cheese

    The Spruce/Diana Rattray

    Bring good tidings to your holiday table with a bright-red beet and goat cheese salad. You can prep the roasted beets up to a week ahead, and the easy balsamic vinaigrette 2 weeks prior to serving. Simply toss the beets with crumbled cheese, crunchy pecans, and mixed salad greens, and dress the salad when you are ready to eat.

  • 11 of 15

    Green Salad With Dried Cranberries and Fig Balsamic Dressing

    Green Salad With Dried Cranberries and Fig Balsamic Dressing

    Kelly Cline/E+/Getty Images

    Fig-infused balsamic vinegar is a magical ingredient that lets you enjoy the sweet, jammy flavor of figs even when the fresh fruit is not in season. It's the star of the tasty dressing for this holly jolly Christmas salad of mixed greens, crimson dried cranberries, crunchy walnuts, and tangy feta cheese crumbles.

  • 12 of 15

    Roasted Cauliflower Salad With Pomegranate

    Roasted Cauliflower Salad With Pomegranate

    Laurel Randolph

     

    Warm roasted veggies are always a cause for comfort and joy on chilly winter evenings. With bright pops of color from ruby-red pomegranate seeds, a scattering of green pistachio nuts, and fresh parsley and lemon to keep things light and salad-like, this delightful roasted cauliflower medley is a perfect addition to your Christmas feast.

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  • 13 of 15

    Red Cabbage Salad

    Red Cabbage Salad

    The Picture Pantry-Getty Images

     

    Sweet, sour, and oh-so-good, red cabbage slaw is an excellent accompaniment to your holiday roast turkey or baked ham. It tastes even better when prepared ahead and left in the fridge (and lasts well up to 5 days), so you can cross one thing off of your list for Christmas Day cooking.

  • 14 of 15

    Mexican Christmas Eve Fruit Salad

    Mexican Christmas Eve Fruit Salad

    The Spruce/Ulyana Verbytska

    Mexican Christmas Eve salad is a colorful combination of fruits and vegetables bathed in a light, lime-spiked dressing that is arranged in the shape of a Christmas wreath. Though it involves multiple steps, assembling this traditional Nochebuena (Christmas Eve) salad is easy enough for even beginner cooks, and creates a show-stopping edible centerpiece for your holiday gatherings.

  • 15 of 15

    Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

    Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

    B*2/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0

    Your family will dash to the holiday dinner table for this fabulous first-course salad. Warm, tender cubes of oven-roasted sweet potato nestle in a bed of Romaine lettuce leaves adorned with peppery radish and ripe cherry tomatoes. A topping of feta cheese crumbles and toasted pine nuts are the ultimate finishing touch.