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A picture of Liz’s Bistro Salad

Liz’s Bistro Salad

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings as a side 1x


Crunchy, light, bright, and ultra-fresh. This French-inspired bistro salad is an absolute star as a side for nearly any dinner. Tender greens, fresh herbs, pickled onions, and a delicate vinaigrette on top. 


Units Scale

Pickled Onions

  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup white or red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • a pinch of salt and sugar

Bistro Salad

  • 1 romaine heart, stem removed and chopped
  • half a head of butter lettuce, stem removed, gently torn
  • 2 tablespoons fresh minced tarragon
  • 1/2 cup fresh dill, chopped or torn
  • 1/4 cup fresh chives, minced


  • 1/2 cup canola oil (see notes)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (more to taste)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard or mayo – the purpose of this is to emulsify the dressing


  1. Pickled Onions: Place the onions in a jar; fill the jar about a third of the way with vinegar, then fill to the top of the onions with water. Add salt and sugar, shake, and keep in the fridge for a few hours or a few days. (I’d suggest 30 minutes minimum if you’re short on time.)
  2. Vinaigrette: Shake all dressing ingredients in a jar. It should be pleasantly bright and mellow – remember we’ll be adding a bunch of onions and herbs to the salad, so it’s okay for this dressing to be pretty chill. Keep this in the fridge if making ahead.
  3. Salad: Prep all your salad greens – chop the romaine and the herbs, and gently tear the lettuce leaves into bite sized pieces.
  4. Toss: Just before serving, toss greens, herbs, pickled onions, and dressing together – starting with about half of the dressing that’s in the jar, and adding more as necessary.
  5. Serve: Taste and adjust; add salt and pepper to taste. It’s tender, bright, a little puckery, and so fresh. I love it.


To make ahead: prep the onions and the dressing. Chop the greens. Store everything separately in the fridge, and assemble the amount you need just before serving! This works really well as a make-ahead side salad for dinners throughout the whole week. I would double the dressing and then just buy a bunch of greens and throw my 2-4 person salads together every night throughout the week.

If you want to scale this up, you should have enough dressing for a 6-8 serving salad; just add another romaine heart and use a full head of butter lettuce instead of half.

You can use another oil if you want, but I like canola for the neutral flavor – it keeps the dressing very mild.

  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Chop
  • Cuisine: French-Inspired

Keywords: bistro salad, french salad, side salad