Pleasing Provincial Fare

One of the culinary highlights of our time in Europe was the week spent shopping the farmers’ markets of Provence during the harvest season of early Autumn. There is nothing like a French market to make one appreciate the beauty of living. Perhaps it’s the way the French deeply revere the provenance of their food or the time they take to enjoy every meal, but there is something about being in Provence that makes a person stop and smell the cantaloupes. And we did our fair (fare?) share of stopping, shopping and speaking with local purveyors, smiling like fools and filling our bags to capacity with the most beautifully imperfect and irregularly shaped (but oh-so-delicious) vegetables and fruits as well as local cheeses made from every animal in the barnyard.

Because we’ve never met a farmers’ market we didn’t like, we made every excuse to return several times over the course of our week in Aix-en-Provence. And like true Frenchmen, we found that our favorite meals were often the most simple - like the crudité and cheese platter lunches of which we couldn’t get enough! We'd love to share this gorgeous salad recipe, which includes all of the local and seasonal finds from our favorite farmers’ market in Provence.

La Salade du Marché (The Market Salad)

Ingredients (serves four)

For the salad:

2 bunches of kale, rough chopped

4 tomatoes, diced

1 bunch of French radishes, sliced

2 large carrots, sliced

2 cups of dry green lentils

For the dressing:

¼ cup olive oil

Juice from ¼ of a lemon

3 cloves of garlic, minced

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


12 hours in advance of serving your meal, begin preparing the lentils by rinsing and soaking them if purchased as dried goods (alternatively, you can often find pre-cooked lentils). Once soaked, rinse again, and place lentils in a sauce pan and cover with fresh water, add a pinch of sea salt.  Place sauce pan on a medium heat for approximately 15-20 minutes or until the lentils are cooked to your preference.  Drain the lentils, set aside and allow them to come to room temperature.

Combine olive oil, minced garlic and freshly squeezed lemon juice in a small bowl and mix.

Place salad ingredients in a large serving bowl and toss in ½ of salad dressing (reserve ½ for final dressing by guests).

Serve salad in bowls, dividing the cooled lentils among the individual bowls. 

Allow guests to add dressing, salt and pepper to their taste and voila!  A healthy, local vegan market salad!