Salad is never going to be the star of a Thanksgiving meal, but it can play a crucial and surprising supporting role, like Joe Pesci in “Goodfellas” (1990) or Viola Davis in “Fences” (2016), enhancing everything around it while dazzling on its own. A salad can offset the richness of buttery potatoes and custardy or crisp stuffing, perk up gamy turkey meat and play off the ruby red tang of cranberry sauce.

Bitter greens such as radicchio, kale or endive are a fine choice for fall, but crunchy iceberg, feathery arugula or sweet spinach can be dressed up for an autumnal salad, too. Herbs such as parsley, dill or mint add boosts of unexpected flavor. Sweet, chunky or spicy additions will make a salad memorable. Think: fresh or dried fruit, roasted or candied nuts or slices of fresh chiles or frizzled ginger. Finally, the acidity of a good dressing will help cleanse your palate between bites of everything else.

Not convinced? These salads from our archives are the perfect fit for Thanksgiving. Find more ideas in the Recipe Finder.

Chopped Winter Greens Salad With Pears and Date Dressing, above. Lace a sweet and citrusy vinaigrette between sturdy greens such as endive, frisée and radicchio. Shards of salty ricotta salata, chewy dates, slices of fresh pear and buttery pistachios lend their flavors, plus textural and visual interest.


Gem Salad With Grapefruit, Picked Onions and Avocado Dressing. Little gem lettuce, a type of heirloom romaine, is crisp and especially sweet, so it’s an ideal base for a quick, tart salad that hinges on a bright dressing of avocado, cilantro, basil and scallions.


Herbs and Their Stems Salad. Sometimes simple is best: A large bunch of parsley, dill or cilantro gets roughly chopped and tossed with mixed greens in this simple salad that needs only a squeeze of lemon, drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper before it’s ready for the table.


Kale, Clementine and Hazelnut Salad. Curly kale gets a quick massage before it’s tossed in a lemon and honey vinaigrette. Clementine segments add velvety sweetness while hazelnuts bring crunch.


Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower Slaw With Oranges. Instead of steaming, sauteing or roasting Brussels sprouts, this year consider tossing their tender leaves in a salad with cauliflower and orange segments. A dressing made with buttermilk and poppy seeds is the perfect finish.


Winter Red Salad. Sweet and tart and full of texture, this jewel-toned salad can be made a day ahead, but do know that the beets have a tendency to stain. If you’re not a fan of the root, try this All-Red Radicchio, Radish and Pomegranate Salad.


Autumn Salad With Farro, Apple and Roasted Persimmon. Here’s a salad on the hearty side, with nutty farro, juicy apples and roasted, caramelized persimmons. Red onion, pomegranate and dill keep the flavors perky and fresh.


Fennel, Persimmon and Pomegranate Salad. As tasty as it is beautiful, this salad features crunchy fennel, radicchio and hazelnuts; juicy chopped persimmon and pomegranate seeds; as well as a fresh, orange-juice-based dressing. If you’re on the fence about fennel (perhaps it’s too licorice-like in flavor?), try the Roasted Fennel and Lemon Salad With Turmeric Walnuts — roasting mellows those notes significantly.


Apple Fennel Coleslaw. If you like the flavor of fennel, you’ll love it in this coleslaw from Angela Davis, where it plays well with sweet-tart apples, red onion and tender herbs.


Modern Waldorf Salad. This fresh take on a classic would be welcome at any harvest feast. Like the original, it brings a lot of crunch — this time from Asian pears, persimmons and radishes. Grapefruit, pomegranate and feta add pep. Or, consider a classic Waldorf.


Sicilian Green Bean Salad. If you’re not into green bean casserole, consider a green bean salad that pairs blanched beans with spicy peppers, astringent arugula, toasted almonds and a sprightly blend of tarragon, parsley and mint.


Marinated Turnips With Orange and Pumpkin Seeds. Marinating raw turnips is a revelation, rendering them meaty but tender. If you can’t find turnips with their greens attached, use beet greens or kale instead. Orange segments offer a sweet counterpoint, while pepitas bring a bit of crunch.


Sweet Potato Salad With Orange-Maple Dressing. Instead of (or in addition to) a sweet potato casserole, try this not-too-sweet salad from Toni Tipton-Martin, who included the recipe in her book “Jubilee.” It has nuts for crunch, herbs for pungency and a citrusy maple dressing to tie the whole thing together.