Our Favorite French-Inspired Recipes
The Flavors of France
People travel from all over the world to learn to cook in France, a country known for gourmet dishes and decadent desserts. In our versions of lighter French favorites, we maintain the sweetness in fruit crepes and the creamy texture of croque monsieur sandwiches—all while cutting calories and unwanted fats.
Craving crepes? This classic flavor combo won’t disappoint. Bananas and strawberries are given a dose of Grand Marnier and a teaspoon of sugar before they're spooned on top of paper-thin crepes. Finish them off with a dollop of Greek yogurt, then let each bite melt in your mouth.
Similar to a Monte Cristo, a croque monsieur is a French-style grilled ham and cheese sandwich that is dipped in egg batter then cooked in a skillet. This version is like a savory stuffed French toast. Keep the finished ones warm in a 200° oven while cooking the others.
French Onion Soup
It's worth the effort to make your own stock for this super simple soup, but if you want to save time, you can use store-bought lower-sodium broth. You'll need to reduce the amount of salt you add to the soup by half.
Champagne-Browned Butter Chicken
This French dish is dressed to impress. You brown chicken parts in bacon drippings, and then braise the chicken in a Dutch oven with vegetables and herbs. The braising liquid is spiked with brandy and Champagne, and then enriched with browned butter to create a luxurious sauce.
Chard, Caramelized Onion, and Gruyère Crepes
Nutty whole-wheat pastry flour keeps these crepes light as air. The crepes can be made ahead of time, then stacked between paper towels, and stored in the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer for a few weeks.
This French stew of beans, pork, and poultry is traditionally cooked in an earthenware cassole, a sort of inverted cone that provides a wide surface area on top for maximum crust. A Dutch oven or wide braising pan works well too.
Inspired by the French classic potatoes dauphinoise, this dish is rich, gooey, and comforting.
Espresso Crepes with Ice Cream and Dark Chocolate Sauce
Since both the crepes and chocolate sauce can be made ahead, this is a great dessert for entertaining. If you make the sauce ahead, warm it just before serving.
Monte Cristo Sandwiches
For an unforgettable breakfast or brunch, try this easy monte cristo sandwich. It blends the sweet and savory in a way that totally satisfies your palate.
French Apple Tart
This free-form apple tart is mighty easy, because it works from a store-bought crust.
Crusty French Boules
Spraying the dough with water produces a super crisp crust. For best flavor, allow the pâte fermentée to rest for the full 48 hours. But you can chill it for as little as 8 hours.
Cassoulet in a Flash
Toasted walnut oil in the topping adds a delicate, sweet backnote of flavor to this hearty dish. If you can't find walnut oil, substitute a fruity extra-virgin olive oil.
Classic French Omelet
The trick to mastering the French omelet is to pull the pan off the heat as needed, while stirring, to control how fast the eggs cook. The finished omelet should be golden outside and unbrowned, while still creamy at the very center.
Matzo cake meal and freshly ground blanched almonds make a fitting based for sweet apricots, orange rind, and almond extract. Served in the perfect bite-size rounds, these macaroons aren't overly sweet, but still pack delicious, nutty flavor.
Seared Tuna Niçoise
This flavor-packed dish combines tuna, hard boiled eggs, potatoes, and lots of veggies.
While madeleines are traditionally very small sponge cakes with a distinctive shell-like shape, these cookie-cake hybrids can be cut into a variety of festive shapes for any gathering.
The traditional seafood stew of Provence, a bouillabaisse is typically made with tomatoes, onions, wine, olive oil, garlic, herbs, fish and shellfish. Soak up the flavorful broth with olive bread or a crusty French baguette. While eight cups of water doesn't seem like much, it's enough to steam the lobsters.
Halibut à la Provençal over Mixed Greens
A gorgeous piece of fish is the star of this recipe. Serve the fillets over a simple mixed green salad.
Provençal Beef Stew
Chuck roast, a tough cut of meat, grows tender in the slow cooker. Serve this rustic stew with crusty bread and red wine—perhaps a Côtes du Rhône or Chateauneuf-du-Pâpe from southern France. If you don't want to use wine in the recipe, you can substitute 1/4 cup of additional beef broth.
Steak Frites with Shallot Pan Reduction
Our healthy take on the classic French bistro dish still satisfies. You can add a side of sautéed spinach to round out the plate for a company-worthy supper.
Milk Chocolate Crème Brûlée
A splash of nutty amaretto adds an extra layer of elegance to the milk chocolate in this decadently creamy dessert. If you don't own a kitchen blowtorch, simply sprinkle the chilled ramekins evenly with sugar and place on a baking sheet; broil close to heat source for 1 to 3 minutes or until sugar is melted and caramelized.
Easy Coq au Vin
This easy version of the classic French chicken dish features chicken pieces simmered in a mixture of red wine, broth, vegetables and fresh herbs. Serve with noodles, rice, or boiled potatoes.
Brown Sugar Soufflés with Crème Anglaise
The combination of brown sugar and browned butter gives this rich dessert an intense caramel flavor.
Beef Bourguignonne with Egg Noodles
This hearty entrée actually tastes better when made a day in advance. Warm it up in a Dutch oven over medium heat until thoroughly heated, and keep warm in a slow cooker set to low.