Nicoise Salad

DinnerProvencalGluten-FreeTuna

Salad Nicoise, a French composed salad with tuna, green beans, hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, onion, capers, and potatoes.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Salad Niçoise (pronounced nee-suahz) is essentially a French composed salad, much like our American Cobb salad, but with tuna, green beans, and potatoes, instead of chicken, bacon, and avocado.

Salad Niçoise hails from Nice, on the Mediterranean Sea, though like so many foods we enjoy here of French origin, has changed a bit to adapt to our tastes. According to the Wikipedia the Niçoise salads are always made with raw vegetables and served with anchovies.

Nicoise salads that are served in America are typically served on a bed of lettuce and include cooked green beans and potatoes. According to our Paris insider, the Niçoise salads there are all made with canned tuna.

Depending on the establishment here, I’ve had them either with canned or with freshly grilled tuna. Like its American Cobb salad cousin, the Salad Nicoise takes some time to prepare, given all of the ingredients. This is one dish where setting up your mise en place (all ingredients chopped and ready to go) will help the salad come together smoothly.

Nicoise Salad Recipe

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  • Yield: Serves 6

Ingredients

Vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup lemon juice or red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp finely chopped shallot
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano or tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salad

  • 2 grilled or otherwise cooked tuna steaks* (8 oz each) or 2-3 cans of tuna
  • 6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and quartered lengthwise
  • 1 1/4 pounds small young red potatoes or fingerling potatoes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium heads Boston lettuce or butter lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 small ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into wedges
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup niçoise olives
  • 2 Tbsp capers, rinsed and/or several anchovies (optional)

Method

*Marinate tuna steaks in a little olive oil for an hour. Heat a large skillet on medium high heat, or place on a hot grill. Cook the steaks 2 to 3 minutes on each side until cooked through.

1 In a jar, place the oil, lemon juice or vinegar, shallots, herbs, and mustard. Cover with a lid and shake until well blended. Add salt and pepper to taste.

2 Place onion slices in a small bowl and sprinkle with 3 Tbsp of the vinaigrette. (The onions soaking in the vinaigrette will help take some of the bite out of them.)

3 Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with 2 inches of water.  Add 1 Tbsp of salt. Heat on high to bring to a boil. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes or so, until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain. While the potatoes are still warm, cut them into halves or quarters, depending on the size of the potatoes. Place them in a bowl and dress them with about 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette.

4 While the potatoes are cooking, fill a medium sized pot halfway with water, and add 2 teaspoons of salt. Bring to a boil on high heat. Add the green beans to the boiling water. Cook until tender but still firm to the bite, about 3-5 minutes (more or less, depending on the toughness of the beans). Drain and either rinse with cold water to stop the cooking, or shock for half a minute in ice water.

5 Arrange bed of lettuce on a serving platter (I used two serving platters, shown in the photos). Cut tuna into 1/2-inch thick slices. Mound tuna in center of lettuce. Sprinkle the tomatoes and onions around the tuna. Arrange the  potatoes and green beans in mounds at the edge of the lettuce.

6 Arrange hard boiled eggs, olives, and anchovies (if using) in mounds on the lettuce bed. Drizzle everything with the remaining vinaigrette. Sprinkle with capers if using.

Serve immediately. Should be served slightly warm or at room temperature.

 

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated, America's Test Kitchen.

Links:

Salad Niçoise American Style - from Tea of Tea & Cookies

Salad Nicoise

30 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • Maureen

    Hello
    Made the Nicoise Salad today, but reduced quanty as I’m a widow but I did make it for two days,I’m new to this app so far I’m very pleased with it,if possible would love to see healthier version.

  • Becki

    Made this tonight for dinner. Didn’t have any green beans – so I used the avocado I had instead. My husband says it’s California style Salad Nicoise! Excellent!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Stefani

    This was delicious. My two year old asked for seconds. Fantastic dairy free recipe for the whole family. I’ve made several nicoise salade recipes and this one’s my solid favorite and will be replacing a lesser nicoise in our rotation.

    It uses a lot of dishes and takes a while to come together so I always plan to make it towards the end of the week and cook the ingredients a few at time early in the week. I pan fry line caught solid white albacore (other kinds seem to just mush) in a can really quickly and assemble just before cooking. Can’t go wrong!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Carol Bridges

    I usually use the recipe from Julia Childs, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”, but I am going to use your recipe today as it sounds outstanding. I use canned tuna (fresh or frozen when I can find it) because fresh is really difficult to find where I live in the South. My French grandmother taught me to marinate the anchovies in some milk before using as this eliminates some of the really salty canned taste – some of you anchovy haters might try this or use anchovy paste. By the way, one of the worst Salad Nicoise I have had was in Paris!

  • Kimbault

    I have made this salad quite a few times now and it is delicious! My hubby loves it and asks me to make it often. I use fresh herbs in the dressing in the summer from the garden which tastes best but I use dried herbs in the winter and it still tastes good. Makes enough for supper and lunches the next day . Thanks for the recipe!

    xxxxxyyyyy

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