Our Country French Salad is one of the most colorful, flavorful salads you could dream of! We combine red and yellow fresh roasted beets, with roasted asparagus, fresh spring greens, candied pecans and smooth soft goat cheese. Best of all, it's tossed with our tangy lemon thyme vinaigrette. Can you say flavor explosion?
Cheesecake Factory copycat
Some say this is the best green salad in the world. We love the French Country Salad at The Cheesecake Factory and decided to try and recreate it at home. At the restaurant, they use a champagne balsamic vinaigrette. You can purchase something similar at your local market, or try our delicious lemon thyme vinaigrette, a lemon garlic salad dressing that does a remarkable job dressing this salad!
How to roast asparagus in the oven
Start with prepping the veggies. Trim tough ends from the asparagus and cut in two inch long pieces. Toss the asparagus with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and spread it on a baking sheet. You want to roast it just 4 to 5 minutes.
Roasting beets in the oven
To liven the color of this salad, we like using both red and yellow beets.
- Wash the beets.
- Wrap them individually in foil.
- Roast them in the oven about 45 minutes.
- Once their cooled, unwrap them and rub the skin off with a paper towel.
- Slice beets, then dice and chill until ready to serve.
How to toast and sugar pecans
Sugared pecans add crunch and a sweet/savory finish to the salad. It's so easy to throw the pecan halves and sugar into a hot frying pan and toast them as the sugar melts. This is an easy and effective method to add some excitement to many salads.
And some goat cheese
Goat cheese has a mild flavor and creamy texture. It's too soft to "chop" so we either crumble it at the end or form little ball-like pieces.
Toss it with lemon thyme vinaigrette
Our salad dressing for the French Country Salad is a fun one. If you like Meyer lemon vinaigrette, lemon basil vinaigrette, or lemon shallot vinaigrette, your going to love this dressing. Have you ever tried a "whole lemon" dressing? This dressing literally has an entire lemon in it!
How to make whole lemon dressing
You chop the lemon up in tiny pieces and mix it with the other ingredients -- fresh lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper and thyme. It is really yummy. Catching little bites of lemon here and there is like finding little surprises! It's even better the next day with the fresh lemon has mellowed.
Put it all together!
Next comes the exciting part with you take all the different sections of the salad and bring them together! We like to toss the asparagus and spring greens together with the dressing until everything is coated just a bit. Then garnish with beets, pecans and goat cheese. Take note not to mix the goat cheese too much or it'll get pasty.
And that's all folks! Follow the easy directions and you'll have a masterpiece! If you're looking for a new green salad recipe, this salad is well loved. Lots of good nutrients and lots of flavor! We hope you'll try it.
Check out these other salad recipes!
Pear Salad w/Pomegranate, toasted almonds, avocado & bleu cheese
Cherry Salad with Gorgonzola and Toasted Almonds
Classic Greek Salad and Vinaigrette
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French Country Salad
- 6-8 cups Spring mix
- ½ bunch Asparagus roasted
- 1 cup red beets roasted (about 1 large beet)
- 1 cup yellow beets roasted (about 1 large beet)
- 6 ounces Goat cheese crumbled
- ½ cup Pecans sugared
Whole Lemon & Thyme Vinaigrette
- 1 small lemon; minced
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup Fresh lemon juice
- 3 cloves garlic; minced
- 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon fresh Thyme, minced (or 1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme leaves)
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
For the Asparagus
- Trim tough ends from asparagus. Preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit. Cut the asparagus into 2-inch long pieces.
- Toss asparagus with 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Spread the asparagus out onto the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt.
- Roast for 4 to 5 minutes, until the asparagus is tender but still has a bite. Cool asparagus and set aside.
To Roast Beets
- Wash beets.Wrap individually in foil.Place in 375 degree Fahrenheit oven for 45 minutes. Cool slightly, then rub skin off cooked beats with a paper towel. Slice beets, then dice and chill until ready to serve.
To Sugar Pecans
- Heat a frying pan to medium high heat. Add pecans and 2 Tablespoons sugar and stir until sugar melts. Pour pecans out on to foil, lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Let cool.
For Whole Lemon & Thyme Vinaigrette
- Wash lemon; slice it; then mince in tiny pieces with a sharp knife. Mix lemon with other ingredients in jar with tight fitting lid. Shake until all ingredients are well blended. Pour over salad and toss until all pieces are coated.
Dressing is best the next day.To Assemble
- Toss greens and asparagus with vinaigrette until everything is lightly coated in dressing. Garnish salad with beets, goat cheese and pecans.
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originally published April 23, 2020
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