French salads are an important part of the diet in France. The most common is the 'Salade verte', the plain green salad, which is used most days with either the mid-day or the evening meal. It is served in a separate dish either with the main meal or after the main course.
Lettuce is used most frequently but other greens such as watercress or chicory – known as endive – is also used. Young dandelion leaves (pissenlit), lamb’s lettuce and curly endive or chicories are also popular.
Salad leaves must always be washed thoroughly, then dried and tossed in a freshly made salad dressings, usually an oil and vinegar dressings, although oil and lemon juice can be used too.
You will know if you have got the right combination of oil and vinegar as the dressing should taste of oil with just a hint of acidity. If you are drinking a good wine with your meal this is important so as not to spoil the taste of the wine. You can buy flavoured vinegars, but it is easy to flavour your own with garlic or herbs. This is a matter of personal taste; some people do not like garlic whereas others love its taste. It is more popular in the south of France than the north.
If you only want a subtle taste of garlic for your dressings, a good way to get this is by just rubbing a piece of fresh garlic around the bowl before adding the dressing.
Simple salads such as the tomato, potato, cucumber, carrot, etc., are also used as part of the Hors d'oeuvres, whereas more elaborate salads with a mixture of ingredients including meat or fish are served alone, such as the Salade Niçoise.
However, it doesn't really matter so much as when they are served but how they look – and these wonderfully fresh French salads really do deserve a place on your table.
Again you really don't need to wait for an occasion to serve these wonderful salads, just make them for a light lunch or whenever you feel like one – they are so tasty and extremely healthy.
What you could do is prepare enough for a few days, place them in plastic boxes and keep them in the refrigerator. You then have something to give everyone without the work – and that's a blessing when you are busy!
Here is a taste of some easy French salads!
A fresh green salad recipe to add to your hors d'oeuvres or just to have with your family meal. The French usually have a green salad with their midday and evening meal. It is served with the main course or immediately after the main course.
This is a classic salad from the south of France or a Provençal salad. It is a good salad to have with French bread and a glass of wine – makes a light delicious lunch or supper.
A carrot salad recipe to add colour and texture to your hors d'oeuvres or to tempt your kids to eat healthy! Who could resist this little taster, it's so simple but delicious.
This lovely tomato salad will give a bright and colourful display to your Hors d'oeuvres table. Your French salads won't be the same without it!
A cool green cucumber salad recipe which will bring a lovely addition to your table for a starter or hors d'oeuvres. It is so easy and inexpensive to make and is another tasty French salad you will enjoy.
A delicious French potato salad that will satisfy everyone at your table. An easy and economical recipe which deserves a place of honour among your salads.
A red cabbage salad recipe to give you a dazzling and colourful starter for your hors d'oeuvres table. It's sure to please everyone with its rich texture and colour. Easy and economical to make.
A very simple but tasty bacon salad, or Frisée aux Lardons, as it is known in France. It is a popular salad all over France and I am sure you will love it, too!
A refreshing chicken and almond salad that is so easy to make at home and will please all your family and friends. The flavour of the lightly toasted almonds goes wonderfully well with the cooked chicken and the orange and mayonnaise sauce. Divine!
Originating in Nice, South of France this fresh salad consists of salad leaves and any available fresh herbs. The inhabitants of Nice would pick the fresh plants daily for this salad and indeed some still do. It is expensive in restaurants, but it has a really fresh flavour.
A healthy green lentil salad giving you a rich and colourful salad that is so popular in France. You can make this very quickly and easily using any salad greens and herbs you like. Serve it warm or cold, just as you prefer.
A traditional salad from Lyon in France which is amazingly tasty and very easy to make at home. It is wonderful for a light meal and makes a great hors d'oeuvre or starter.