French Dinner Salad with Low Fat Cottage Cheese Dressing – A Classic French Green Salad

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Are you looking for a new or updated version of a traditional dinner salad This version of a French Dinner Salad is inspired by the traditional Nicoise salad consisting of romaine lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, green beans, baby potatoes and Great Northern beans.

What’s even better? The dressing is a low-fat, guilt-free version with cottage cheese as a base.

French Dinner Salad

This French Dinner Salad itself is simple to throw together. The base consists of romaine lettuce which even the pickiest eaters will gobble up. The key for a beautiful presentation is to put the toppings in little piles on top of the bed of romaine instead of mixing it all together.

We pile up individual sections of cherry tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, boiled baby potatoes (salted and drizzled in olive oil), Great Northern beans and green beans.

Classic French Green Salad

This salad won’t break the calorie bank with Low-Fat Cottage Cheese Dressing. It is the perfect accompaniment to this hearty French-inspired dinner salad. The dressing is made of ingredients that we typically have on hand including cottage cheese, Dijon mustard, canned evaporated milk, vinegar and salt.

Barbara brought this salad to a friend’s house for dinner and both husbands – hungry farmers – gave it two thumbs up. Barbara’s husband particularly liked the potatoes which gives it a heartier texture.

This classic French salad can easily be modified by adding a can of drained tuna or diced grilled chicken (try our easiest grilled chicken ever). It’s a great option for pitch-ins due to its beautiful presentation. Bring the salad dressing separately to the party and dress right before serving.

French Salad Ingredients

Romaine Lettuce: Separate romaine leaves and wash under cold water. Dry well. Slice the romaine into thin strips. Use as much romaine as you need. This will be the base of the classic French green salad. Substitute a lettuce mix or plain old iceberg, if desired.

Hard Boiled Eggs: Use your favorite process to hard boil several eggs, drain under cold water to cool. Peel and cut into quarters.

Baby Potatoes: Scrub potatoes in cold water. Boil in salted water until fork tender. Drain well, and then drizzle with olive oil while still warm. Season with salt and pepper. Grocery stores sell bags of baby Yukon Gold potatoes which are my favorite for this French Bistro Salad.

Cherry Tomatoes: Wash, dry and cut into halves or quarters. Heirloom cherry tomatoes in a variety of colors look particularly pretty in this salad.

Green Beans: Use your favorite type of green bean. Canned green beans are the easiest, just drain; however, fresh green beans have the best flavor. Steam until crisp tender, and drizzle with olive oil.

Great Northern Beans: Drain and rinse the canned  beans well. Let them dry out before seasoning with salt and pepper.

Cottage Cheese Dressing Ingredients

Cottage Cheese: Use low fat cottage cheese if you are being health-concise.

Evaporated Milk: Look for fat free evaporated milk. For an easy substitution, just regular or skim milk.

Dijon Mustard: Plain yellow mustard or whole grain mustard would also work.

Salt

White Vinegar: White wine vinegar or rice vinegar would both taste great as substitutions.

Notes about This French Dinner Salad Recipe

  • You can make this recipe as big or little as you like by adding more of each salad ingredient.
  • Substitute regular diced tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes if that’s what you have on hand.
  • You can really use any potato that you have on hand. If it’s a larger potato, you will want to cut into smaller pieces. Using colorful potatoes makes a beautiful presentation.

This French Dinner Salad itself is simple to throw together.  The base consists of romaine lettuce which even the pickiest eaters will gobble up.  The key for a beautiful presentation is to put the toppings in little piles on top of the bed of romaine instead of mixing it all together. 

  • Make this classic French salad a main course by adding grilled chicken or canned tuna for added protein.
  • An optional step is to drizzle the potatoes with olive oil (about 1 Tablespoon) after boiling and draining for added flavor. Be sure to salt the potatoes too.
  • It is best to season the canned green beans and Great Northern beans with salt and pepper after draining.
  • This makes an impressive salad. You can bring the ingredients separately and arrange on sight of any gathering.
  • Use nonfat cottage cheese if preferred to keep it even lower in fat.
  • Feel free to use this dressing on any salad that you prefer.
  • Check out our Amazon store for our favorite pantry and kitchen items.

How to Make French Dinner Salad with Low Fat Cottage Cheese Dressing

For the full ingredient list and recipe steps for French Bistro Salad, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post. 

  1. Chop or shred romaine. Arrange as the base of the salad on a large serving platter.
  2. Prepare eggs by hard boiling, peeling, and cutting into wedges.
  3. Drain cans of green beans or steam fresh.
  4. Drain and rinse Great Northern beans. Season each with salt and pepper.
  5. Boil potatoes until cooked through. Drain and dress with olive oil and salt and pepper.
  6. Arrange eggs, tomatoes, potatoes, and both beans into piles on the romaine.
  7. To prepare low fat cottage cheese dressing, mix cottage cheese, evaporated milk, Dijon mustard, vinegar and salt in a food processor and blend until smooth. Dress salad with dressing before serving.

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Cheesy Frito Salad is an easy side dish option with corn chips and a melted Velveeta dressing.

French Dinner Salad with Low Fat Cottage Cheese Dressing

Are you looking for a new or updated version of a traditional dinner salad? This version of a French Dinner Salad is inspired by the traditional Nicoise salad consisting of romaine lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, green beans, baby potatoes and Great Northern beans. 
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time0 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: French
Keyword: classic French green salad, classic french salad, French Bistro Salad, French dinner salad, low fat cottage cheese dressing, Nicoise Salad
Servings: 6
Calories: 273kcal
Author: Barbara

Ingredients

Salad

  • 2 lb. Romaine Lettuce one package
  • 4 Hard Boiled Eggs
  • 15.5 oz. can Great Northern Beans
  • 14.5 oz. can Green Beans
  • Baby potatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive oil
  • 1 cup Cherry tomatoes

Cottage Cheese Dressing

  • 1 cup cottage cheese low fat
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk fat free
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 teaspoons vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Thinly shred romaine lettace. Hard boil eggs, chop or cut into 1/4 wedges.
    French Dinner Salad is a classic French bistro salad with romaine lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, green beans, potatoes and Great Northern beans.
  • Drain and rinse Great Northern Beans; generously season with salt and pepper.
    French Dinner Salad is a classic French bistro salad with romaine lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, green beans, potatoes and Great Northern beans.
  • Drain canned green beans, season with salt and pepper. Or, steam fresh green beans, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.
    French Dinner Salad is a classic French bistro salad with romaine lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, green beans, potatoes and Great Northern beans.
  • Boil baby potatoes until fork tender in salted water. Drain, drizzle with olive oil and salt. Set aside.
    French Dinner Salad is a classic French bistro salad with romaine lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, green beans, potatoes and Great Northern beans.
  • Halve or quarter cherry tomatoes.
    French Dinner Salad is a classic French bistro salad with romaine lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, green beans, potatoes and Great Northern beans.
  • For dressing, add cottage cheese, evaporated milk, Dijon mustard, vinegar and salt into a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth.
    French Dinner Salad is a classic French bistro salad with romaine lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, green beans, potatoes and Great Northern beans.
  • To assemble salad, arrange romaine on the bottom. Arrange eggs, Great Northern Beans, green beans, potatoes, and cherry tomatoes in piles on top of the romaine.
    French Dinner Salad is a classic French bistro salad with romaine lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, green beans, potatoes and Great Northern beans.
  • Serve cottage cheese dressing on the side or drizzle generously on top and toss.
    French Dinner Salad is a classic French bistro salad with romaine lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, green beans, potatoes and Great Northern beans.

Notes

  • Make this a main course by adding grilled chicken or canned tuna for added protein.
  • An optional step is to drizzle the potatoes with olive oil (about 1 T.) after boiling and draining for added flavor. Be sure to salt the potatoes too.
  • It is best to season the canned green beans and Great Northern beans with salt and pepper after draining.
  • This makes an impressive salad. You can bring the ingredients separately and arrange on sight of any gathering.
  • Use nonfat cottage cheese if preferred to keep it even lower in fat.
  • Feel free to use this dressing on any salad that you prefer.
  • Try our Classic Spinach Salad with Bacon and Hard Boiled Eggs. 

Nutrition

Calories: 273kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 136mg | Sodium: 629mg | Potassium: 972mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 14037IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 218mg | Iron: 4mg

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