Simple Salads and dressings for sophisticated foodies

While I am scratching my head to find what best French recipes I could share in the hot summer that is just starting, I realized I am preparing about every other day a different salad and a different dressing. Most of them are from popular French regional or family recipes. Below, you’ll discover great quick and healthy fix, more or less inspired from authentic traditional French recipes, but surely tasty and welcome on your summer table!


Capture d’écran 2014-07-03 à 14.56.02The salad niçoise: This recipe finds its origin in the region of Nice, a beautiful Mediterranean town on the Azur Coast. There are several variations to it while the base is steamed green beans, tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, olives, tuna.

Now, I suggest the following list of ingredients, highlighting in BLUE those who are optional. Based on what’s in your fridge, you will succeed!

Recipe for 2 to 3 persons:

  • 2 cups of steamed cold green beans (cut no longer than 2 inches). You may use ready to eat frozen ones (defrosted), but I don’t recommend using the canned ones, I find them to squashy…
  • 2 small tomatoes cut in 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 hard boiled eggs cut in 1/2 inch slices
  • a 5 onces can of tuna, drained and chopped (choose the no salt, whole piece, in water)
  • a hand-full of black olives (sliced from the can works fine too, make sure you rinse well to take the taste of brine away)
  • 4 to 12 salted filets of anchovy (some love it, some don’t, make sure you know what your crowd likes)
  • 1 cup of cold finger potatoes boiled, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup of finely sliced shallots or red onion.
  • Fresh chopped parsley to taste
  • 1/4 cup of French dressing, or Daphné’s Cuisine dressing (See dressing recipe at the end of this blog post)
  1. In a large salad bowl, mix together all the ingredients EXCEPT the eggs and the anchovies.
  2. On the top, place the eggs pieces, and the anchovies, finish with pouring the dressing over.

wpid-img_20140716_081621.jpgThe lentils salad:
This salad doesn’t have a regional origin. I discovered it at my friend Jean’s table, back almost 20 years ago. It was a hot summer in France, and I was at Jean and Jacques’s house with a group of dancers for a memorable body-mind centering / breath and movement connection 1-week adventure… In a former life. I must say that Jean is an amazing cook (and most of all, an artist ), who was enchanting our breakfast table with home-made jams from the fruits of the garden, freshly baked brioche, seasonal casseroles etc. Anyhow, one more influence in my passion for delicious healthy cooking. Long story short: I since personalized the lentils salad recipe; and here I share my version. Feel free to continue the tradition of personalizing and sharing it!

Recipe for 2-3 persons:

  • 1 cup of cooked French lentils. You can use the ready to eat type in pouch or can (if can, rinse well), it is fine. Also, it doesn’t have to be the French (du Puy) version, but they are just firmer and holds better.
  • 1 large or 2 small ripe tomatoes, chopped in 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, chopped in 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup of chopped cucumber (1/4 inch)
  • 1/4 cup of black olives, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp of capers (in brine, not dry salted) – if you don’t like it, just don’t add it, I understand.
  • 1 small shallot clove
  • 1/4 cup of chopped parsley
  • A generous dose of Daphné’s Cuisine dressing (see recipe at the end of this blog post).
  1. Mix all the ingredients in a large salad dish, adding the eggs last.
  2. Serve cold.

Capture d’écran 2014-07-03 à 15.07.31The poireau vinaigrette (young leek and dressing): The leek has so many health benefits, and is often a star vegetable featured in all the diets advertised in magazines when bikini season strikes. Leeks are very popular in Europe and BTW, is the symbol of the Wales. In France, there are tons of recipes using this vegetable, for all seasons. To prepare the leek in dressing, it is so simple:


  1. One medium size leek for 2. Best when using young leeks.
  2. Take of most of the dark green leaves, and the hairy base (1/2 inch) of the leek.
  3. Slice in 3 inches trunk, and cut once through the length.
  4. Rinse in cold water and leave it about 10 minutes to make sure all the soil is gone.
  5. Boil 30 minutes in salted water (or 30 minutes in a steamer), drain and let it cool.
  6. Serve cold with either the French dressing, or Daphné’s Cuisine dressing (see recipe at the end of this blog post).

Capture d’écran 2014-07-03 à 14.58.44Mix herbs and leaves salad: This recipe is very flexible, and will depend on what you have available. I offer the basics and encourage you to play around with what you like. It is also VERY healthy, as it has some detox plants in it, and about nothing else. I like to serve this with simply cooked fish (poached, or gently stir fried with EVOO and lemon drizzle) for a light meal. One can always add potatoes to make it more filing!

Recipe for 2-3: in a salad bowl, mix together

  • 2 cups of roughly chopped red lettuce leaves
  • 1 cup of roughly chopped arugula
  • 1/4 cup of sage leaves, cut in 2
  • 1/2 cup of parsley leaves roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup of coriander leaves
  • Simple lemon dressing (see recipe at the end of this blog post).


3-color salad (slightly Italian recipe, but oh… so decadent)



Mama mia! This is a treat, a feast, a reward…Let’s get to the recipe, because there is no words:



  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 medium size ripe tomatoes
  • 1 fresh mozzarella cheese ball
  • a hand full of basil leaves
  • Simple italian dressing (see recipe at the end of this blog post).
  1. Peel the avocado, cut in 2 halves and remove its stone
  2. Slice thinly (1/6 inch) the avocado, tomatoes and mozzarella ball.
  3. On a flat dish, create rows alternating tomato, avocado, tomato, mozzarella, tomato, avocado, tomato, mozzarella….
  4. Sprinkle  with roughly chopped basil
  5. Pour the dressing on top


DRESSINGS (recipes for 2-3 persons):

Traditional French dressing:
Whisk together:

  • 2 tbsp of red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of French Dijon mustard
  • 4 tbsp of canola oil
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of coarse pepper

The Daphné’s Cuisine dressing (my secret dressing, not secret anymore):
Whisk together:

  • 1 tbsp of red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of old style whole grain mustard (French mustard will do the job)
  • 4 tbsp of canola oil
  • a pinch of coarse pepper

Simple lemon dressing:
Whisk together:

  • 2 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 pinch of salt,
  • 1 pinch of coarse pepper

Simple italian dressing:

  • 2 tbsp of Balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2 pinch of salt,
  • 2 pinch of coarse pepper



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