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8 Romaine-less Thanksgiving salad recipes to make after the CDC’s e coli warning

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a food safety alert advising that U.S. consumers refrain from eating any romaine lettuce. These recipes allow you to keep salad on the Thanksgiving table, no romaine lettuce required.

Garden Spinach-Potato Salad
Garden Spinach-Potato SaladRead morePhoto courtesy Taste of Home

While usually the more green veggies, the better, for a hefty holiday feast, this Thanksgiving, you’ll want to hold the Caesar salad from the family dinner table.

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a food safety alert advising U.S. consumers to refrain from eating any romaine lettuce in response to a new outbreak of illnesses caused by a particularly dangerous type of E. coli bacteria. If you already have a head of romaine or a salad mix in your fridge, the CDC says to toss it in the trash, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick.

The news certainly comes as a lettuce letdown, but fortunately it doesn’t mean you need to skip out on salad altogether. There are plenty of delicious recipes to fill your favorite salad bowl that don’t require one single leaf of romaine.

Here, find everything from Brussels sprouts Caesar to an arugula salad from Vedge chef Rich Landau to multiple kale- and spinach-based dishes, all involving easy-to-find ingredients that will ensure a healthful, food-poisoning-free holiday.

Warm Chickpea Squash Salad Over Kale with Tahini Sauce

Makes 6 servings


  1. 1 medium-large kabocha squash, peeled and cubed (could also sub 1 butternut or 2 acorn squash)

  2. 2 shallots, sliced into semi-circles

  3. 1/2 tsp ground allspice

  4. 3 Tbsp olive oil, divided in half

  5. Salt and pepper, to season

  6. 1 garlic clove, minced

  7. 1 lemon, juiced

  8. 1/3 cup tahini

  9. 1/4 packed cup fresh cilantro, chopped

  10. 1 Tbsp warm water, optional

  11. 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas (opt for ones with salt), drained

  12. 1/2 bunch of lacinato kale, stems removed, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place squash and shallots on foil, and toss with allspice and 1.5 Tbsp. of olive oil until lightly coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

  2. Bake 30 minutes, or until squash is fork tender. While squash is baking, whisk together the garlic, lemon juice, tahini, cilantro and pinch of salt and pepper. Mixture should thicken somewhere between a dressing and a paste. If thinner consistency is desired, whisk in a little warm water.

  3. Use hands to massage kale with remaining 1.5 Tbsp. olive oil.

  4. Once squash is tender, remove from oven. Add chickpeas to the pan and toss. Place kale at the bottom of a large dish. Spread squash and chickpeas atop. Drizzle tahini sauce on top. Check seasoning, and adjust salt and pepper, if needed. Serve.

Recipe courtesy FoodFitnessFreshAir

Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese, Toasted Pecans and Cranberry Vinaigrette

Makes 8-10 servings


  1. 3/4 cup dried cranberries

  2. 1 1/2 cups boiling water

  3. 3 Tbs. fresh orange juice

  4. 1 1/2 Tbsp cider vinegar

  5. 1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

  6. 6 Tbsp canola oil

  7. 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  8. Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

  9. 10 oz arugula

  10. 1 1/4 cups pecan halves, toasted


  1. 5 oz goat cheese, crumbled

  2. Put the dried cranberries in a small bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Let steep for 10 minutes, then drain.

  3. In another small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, vinegar and mustard. Slowly whisk in the oil. Fold in the cranberries and parsley, and season with salt and pepper.

  4. Put the arugula in a large serving bowl. Scatter the pecans and goat cheese over the top. Drizzle with the cranberry vinaigrette and serve immediately. 

Recipe courtesy Williams-Sonoma Kitchen

Caesar Brussels Sprouts Salad with Almonds

Makes 4 servings


  1. 2 Tbsp sliced almonds

  2. 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

  3. 1/2 tsp black pepper

  4. Dash of kosher salt

  5. 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

  6. 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil

  7. 2 Tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese

  8. 1 (12-oz) pkg shaved fresh Brussels sprouts


  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add sliced almonds, and cook 4 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring occasionally. Combine lemon juice, pepper, kosher salt, and chopped garlic in a bowl; let stand 5 minutes.

  2. Add olive oil and Parmesan cheese to bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add almonds and Brussels sprouts; toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Recipe courtesy Cooking Light

Arugula Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing, Oil-cured Olives, and Red Onion

Makes 3 servings


  1. 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

  2. 1/4 cup vegan mayo

  3. 1 tsp Dijon mustard

  4. 1/4 to 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper

  5. 1 (16 oz) pkg baby arugula

  6. 1/4 cup oil-cured olives, pitted

  7. 1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced


  1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk the first four ingredients together, and set aside. Since arugula is a delicate green, the dressing should not be too thick. If it appears too thick, then add a few drops of cold water to think the dressing appropriately.

  2. Add the red onion to a salad bowl. Roughly chop the olives and add them to the salad bowl.

  3. Just prior to serving, add the greens to the onions and olives, and toss with the dressing.

Recipe courtesy owner and chef Richard Landau of Vedge, V Street, Wizkid, and Fancy Radish

Roasted Apple & Fennel Salad With Toasted Hazelnuts & Goat Cheese

Makes 4-6 servings


  1. 3 baking apples (those that retain their structure when baked like Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Jonagold, Pinklady, etc.)

  2. 2 fennel bulbs with fronds

  3. Extra virgin olive oil

  4. Salt and pepper, to taste

  5. 1 pinch red pepper flakes

  6. 1 handful mint leaves

  7. 4 scallions, thinly sliced

  8. 1/2cup hazelnuts, toasted, peeled and chopped

  9. 4 oz fresh goat cheese, crumbled (crumbled mild blue cheese would be delicious as well)

  10. 1 lemon, zest and juice


  1. Preheat the oven to 425*F. Cut the fennel bulbs into 1-inch wedges, reserving the fennel fronds for finishing the salad. Cut the apples into similarly sized wedges. Spread the fennel on one parchment-lined sheet pan, and spread the apple on another. Drizzle both generously with olive oil, and season with salt, freshly cracked black peppers, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Roast the apple pan for 15 to 20 minutes, and roast the fennel pan for ~30 minutes, flipping each halfway through, until all are caramelized, golden brown, and tender. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on sheet pans.

  2. Meanwhile, prep mint leaves and fennel fronds. Slice scallions. Toast, peel and, chop hazelnuts. Crumble goat cheese.

  3. To finish the dish, carefully layer the roasted apples, roasted fennel, mint leaves, fennel fronds, sliced scallions, toasted hazelnuts and crumbled goat cheese on several layers on a shallow serving platter. Zest over 1 lemon and shower the whole thing with lemon juice and a drizzle of best quality extra virgin olive oil. 

Recipe courtesy Food52

Spinach Salad with Citrus and Roasted Beets

Makes 12 servings


  1. 2 lg cucumbers, chopped

  2. 1 sm red onion, sliced

  3. 1/2 cup white wine vinegar, divided

  4. 2 lb small red potatoes, halved

  5. 2 garlic cloves, minced

  6. 1-1/2 tsp salt

  7. 1/2 tsp celery seed

  8. 1/2 tsp coarsely ground pepper

  9. 1 pkg (6 oz) fresh baby spinach

  10. 8 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

  11. 1/2 cup snipped fresh dill

  12. 1/4 cup olive oil


  1. In a small bowl, combine the cucumbers, onion and 1/4 cup vinegar. Let stand for 20 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until tender. Drain. Transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle with remaining vinegar; sprinkle with garlic, salt, celery seed and pepper. Cool.

  3. Add the spinach, bacon, dill, oil and cucumber mixture; toss to coat. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Recipe courtesy Taste of Home

Spinach Salad with Citrus and Roasted Beets

Makes 8 servings


  1. 12 small beets

  2. 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

  3. 1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced

  4. 1/4 cup red wine vinegar

  5. Salt, to taste

  6. 3 tangerines

  7. 1 lg red grapefruit

  8. 1 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard

  9. Freshly ground black pepper

  10. 3/4 lb curly leaf spinach (12 cups), stemmed and torn into bite-size pieces


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Put the beets in a medium baking dish. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and rub to coat the beets. Cover with foil and bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the beets are tender. When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel and quarter them.  

  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, cover the onion slices with the vinegar. Add a large pinch of salt and mix well. Let stand for about 1 hour.

  3. Using a sharp knife, peel the tangerines and grapefruit, removing all of the bitter white pith. Working over a bowl, cut in between the membranes to release the sections. 

  4. In a small bowl, whisk the mustard with 3 tablespoons of the vinegar from the onion slices. Whisk in the 1/4 cup of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

  5. Put the spinach in a large bowl. Drain the onion slices and add to the spinach along with the tangerine, grapefruit and beets. Drizzle the mustard dressing over the salad and toss well. Serve right away.

Recipe courtesy Food and Wine

Kale-Quinoa Salad with Tahini Dressing

Makes 8-10 servings


  1. 1 bunch kale (about 1 lb)

  2. 1/2 cup raisins

  3. 1/4 cup sunflower seeds

  4. 1 cup quinoa, rinsed

  5. 1 tsp garlic powder

  6. 1/3 cup tahini

  7. 1/3 cup water

  8. Juice of 1 1/2 lemons

  9. 1 1/2 Tbsp agave nectar

  10. 1 garlic clove, minced

  11. Sea salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a small saucepan, combine quinoa, garlic powder, pinch of salt, and 1 1/2 cups of water. Cook for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed.

  2. Wash kale, remove stems, and cut into thin slices.

  3. In a small bowl, whisk together tahini, water, lemon juice, agave nectar, fresh garlic, salt and pepper.

  4. Combine kale, quinoa, raisins, sunflower seeds, and dressing, and mix together. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and sprinkle with extra sunflower seeds before serving. 

Recipe courtesy Soom Foods