When I think French food, I think richness, decadence and indulgence. However, Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table is a favorite cookbook of mine that has some (if not all) simple, no-frills recipes that rank high on the nutritional scale -- with romantic little stories about her days wandering the streets of Paris to boot.
One I've made a couple times with success: couscous salad. This salad is grain based, veggie filled, and contains very little oil or salt, since it calls for seasonings like turmeric, cumin, mint and lemon juice for flavor (a nod to French/Moroccan influence). A side of plain Greek yogurt with some chopped mint and ginger stirred in adds a healthful boost of fermented goodness, making this a colorful, cool summer dish.
Some of the top nutritional highlights are listed below.
Couscous: The base for this salad, couscous is a type of small, round pasta. But unlike regular pasta, no kneading technique is used when preparing the pearls, which means the dough does not have the opportunity to form gluten.
Turmeric: The star seasoning that provides this dish its yellow hue. Doctors have been paying increasing attention to the potent healing powers of this ground root, typically used in Indian cuisine. UCLA's Brain Research Institute took a particular interest in the topic a few years ago, outlining all of the spice's incredible potential to heal and nourish the body.
Almonds: Almonds slivers lend this dish some protein, and are packed with poly- and monounsaturated oils (the good kind). They are dense with various vitamins and minerals, including potassium, calcium and vitamin E, and are a source of antioxidant flavonoids.
Yogurt: Also containing protein, yogurt has live cultur
es that are great for digestion, and is said to lower blood cholesterol.
Snap peas, chick peas, carrots & red bell pepper: The veggies in this dish not only pack as much nutritional punch as they lend color to it, but also provide their fiber which make it truly filling.
Raisins: Raisins add a sweet hint to the salad and provide additional antioxidants and dietary fiber.