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Mesclun: The French Salad Mix

Mesclun mix1

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Mesclun is the French word for “mixture.” Mesclun is a mix of tender, young salad green leaves.

Mesclun mixes usually include a variety of lettuces and European and Asian salad greens that grow under similar conditions, have similar rates of maturity, and taste good together. Greens can be mixed by season, by flavor, by color, or by where they are grown. Mesclun leaves are usually clipped when only a few centimeters (inches) tall.

Here is your guide to these traditional French salad mixes:

Provencal Mesclun (originated in Provence, France): includes lettuce, fine curled endive, rocket, and chervil. The traditional recipe calls for one part arugula, two parts chervil, one part curly endive, and four parts lettuce. It is made up entirely of leaves, mild tasting or zesty.

Mesclun (originated in northern France): various lettuces and endive cultivars and cress, corn salad, and spinach.

Nicoise (originated in Nice, France): Mediterranean salad leaves including dandelion, upland cress, rocket, chicory, lettuce, and curly endive.

Well, there you are! Take along a cheese, a fresh fruit, a mineral water and you have a light repast for the holiday.

Bon appetit!

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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