Cooking can be a real drag. And when the weather is warm, and summer turns up the temperature, the idea of slaving over a hot stove becomes even more unappealing. And that is where the French idea of using the freshest ingredients from your local farmer’s market to prepare a quick no-cook meal comes in.
The french idea of gringoter, meaning to eat small bites or nibble, is quite prevelant when we are looking at French no-cook meals. Like most, French people work long hours, and at the end of the day, are just looking for a quick dish to put together that is filling.
From easy salads to a combination of hams and cheeses that you can eat it anywhere, on the late-night back patio, watching tv, by the pool, or even on a picnic blanket, there is plenty to choose from when you are just looking to put a meal together with something from the fridge. And just because it is quick, doesn’t mean it has to be unhealthy. French food is also about fresh produce, which keeps the cuisine light and healthy.
So for those who find that there are only a certain number of hours in a day (and who don’t have a personal chef on standby!), here are my favorite French no-cook summer meals. These recipes are simple to assemble and easy to eat so that you can focus on enjoying the company of friends and family. So allons-y!
1. Melon au Porto
A lovely ripe melon, topped off with a decadent porto, the perfect appetizer for a hot and sunny day. It may look complicated to make, but with no cooking involved, you will be able to whip up this classic French starter in a snap. You can get the recipe for Melon au porto here.
Serve with: Kir
2. Salmon Tartare
The delicate taste of fresh wild salmon accompanied with a light touch of lemon and that little something extra to push it over the top. You can also try a tomato tartare, if you don’t eat fish.
If you are looking for a traditional French starter that is easy to put together, without cooking, it doesn’t get any better than this. Get the recipe for salmon tartare here.
Serve with: Reisling or Pinot Blanc wine
3. French Charcuterie Board
Charcuterie night is not just for parties, in France. Learn how to put together a a variety of meats, hams, sausages and pâtés for the perfect French charcuterie board on those nights when you just don’t want to cook.
Paired with a baguette, and you are good to go. Learn how to put together a French charcuterie board here.
Serve with: Beaujolais Rouge wine
4. Salade Niçoise
The salad niçoise a recipe that even French chefs can’t agree on. Get the main ingredients in this quintessential summer no-cook salad, and the accompaniments to serve with it. Traditionally from the city of Nice, learn how to make a classic salade niçoise here.
Serve with: light local rosé wine from Côtes de Provence
5. Cheese board
Put together a cheese platter, with the perfect combination of hard cheeses, soft cheeses, goat and sheep cheeses, and of course blue cheeses. Including the bread, wine, sweet fruits, as well as salty accompaniments. Learn how to put together a cheese platter here.
Drinks: serve with a classic French aperitif such as Pineau de Charentes
6. Crudités (Veggie) Platter
Put together a plate of colorful crudités, based on the vegetables in season, with sauces. By itself, or combined with cheese and charcuterie, this healthy addition to the menu is quick and easy to assemble.
See how to put together a crudité platter here, including which vegetables you should pick depending on the season.
Wine: white wines like Sancerre, Chablis, or Pouilly Fumé. If you prefer reds, try a Côtes du Rhône.
If you enjoyed that, check out our other classic French foods the locals love to indulge in. Bon appétit and à bientôt !