Two plates of a fall salad with cabbage, fennel, greens, and candied pepitas.

Shortly after making the candied pepitas last week, I threw them into a salad with shaved cabbage, fennel, greens and Manchego. It’s been years since I’ve made the effort to candy a nut or seed to throw into a salad, and I’ve forgotten how delicious and festive they are, this time of year especially.

Use the recipe below as guide. Here, I’ve used both vinegar and fresh citrus in my favorite shallot vinaigrette, but you if you don’t have an orange on hand, you can keep it simple. Here, cabbage and fennel are mixed with some tender greens and baby kale, but  change the composition to your liking: slivered endive would be delicious as would thinly sliced apple or pear or segments of orange or a sprinkling of pomegranate arils. Shaved Manchego (though blue cheese or parmesan would be nice, too) plus the candied pepitas make the dregs of this salad pretty irresistible.

I don’t think a Thanksgiving salad needs to be anything more than greens plus a light dressing, but if you’re up for taking it a step further, this is a good option.

Question: Thanksgiving salad: essential or superfluous?

PS: More Thanksgiving ideas here.

A large bowl with ingredients for a fall salad with dressing in a jar on the side.
A large bowl filled with fall salad tossed with dressing.
A fall salad on a plate.
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Two plates of a fall salad with cabbage, fennel, greens, and candied pepitas.

Fall Salad: Cabbage, Fennel, Manchego & Candied Pepitas

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For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup finely minced shallot
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • juice of one orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the salad:

  • 1/4 to 1/2 head of cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 head fennel, thinly sliced
  • 3 to 4 scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
  • a few handfuls of other greens: baby kale, arugula, whatever looks good
  • candied pepitas, optional
  • shaved Manchego to taste
  • fresh cracked pepper to taste


  1. Make the dressing: Place the shallots, vinegar, juice, and salt in a small bowl. Let stand 15 minutes. Whisk in 1/3 cup of the olive oil. Taste. Adjust with more olive oil to taste — there should be nice balance of sweet and sharp in the dressing, and it will be on the thin side.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, fennel, scallions, greens, candied pepitas, shaved Manchego, and pepper. Pour over some of the dressing. Toss. Taste. Adjust with more dressing or salt or pepper to taste.
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Toss
  • Cuisine: American