For the salad: Layer the salad ingredients in a large salad bowl, beginning with the lettuce, then adding the tomatoes, bell pepper and onion.
For the French dressing: Put the vinegar, sugar, mustard, onion, paprika, salt and 1/2 cup water in a blender and process until well blended. While the blender is running, slowly stream in the oil. Chill in the refrigerator for 3 hours.
When ready to serve, pour some of the dressing over the salad and toss.
Adapted from "Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen" by Trisha Yearwood (c) Clarkson Potter 2008. Provided courtesy of Trisha Yearwood. All rights reserved.