Nicoise Salad

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

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6



  • 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


  • 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)


*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 Make vinaigrette: 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 Marinate onion slices in some of the vinaigrette: 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 Cook the potatoes, cut, and dress with vinaigrette: 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 Boil the green beans in salted water: 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 on a bed of lettuce: Arrange bed of lettuce on a serving platter. 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.

Arrange hard boiled eggs, olives, and anchovies (if using) in mounds on the lettuce bed.

6 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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  • Michelle K

    This was delicious! I used the lemon juice and fresh tarragon options in the vinaigrette; it was amazing!


  • Anna Bella

    Loved the vinaigrette! Pulled the whole salad together. Will definitely be making this again!


  • Caroline

    Yum! The best Nicoise recipe I’ve found. Great dressing. I used a high quality canned tuna, worked fine. I look forward to trying your other recipes. Thank you!


  • Hamsa Swaminathan

    AMAZING RECIPE! I made it for dinner, the only thing I added is some maple syrup to the dressing to balance out the flavor, I like my salad dressing on the sweet-tart side. Wow, I was blown away.. Thank you!


  • Kathleen

    Excellent receipe. The only variation I made was using Italian Tuna in a jar. I also cooked the beans with the baby potato and then shocked the beans. That a beautiful salad and so delicious. Lovely to be able to prepare in advance and plate it while enjoying a rose!


  • Parshadi

    Can you recommend a vegetarian substitute for Tuna. This salad sounds really good but would love to add some protein to it.

  • Suzanne

    We loved this salad! I was looking for a recipe that used fresh tuna. I didn’t need to use all the dressing. The only change I made was to add cucumber as one of my guests didn’t like tomatoes. We will make this often during tomato season! To save prep time, I cooked the potatoes in the pot under steamer I used for the beans.


  • Mj

    Made this last night for dinner
    It was really delicious!

    Will use less oil in the vinaigrette next time


  • Rhoda

    The best Nicoise salad I ever had was in a cafeteria in Gatwick airport, of all places. I couldn’t even find it on the menu most places when I was in France.

  • Maureen

    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!


    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Becki, I happily add avocado to almost everything. Good call!

  • 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!


  • 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!


  • Grammy

    I mostly followed your recipe, and it was a great hit with everyone. Then I got addicted to reading all the other recipes at the bottom. I spent a good portion of the afternoon and more at bedtime after I looked up Eggs Benedict. Thanks for a great meal & an entertaining and appetite-inducing day & evening. I’m turning off my phone now!

  • Penny

    Made my first Nicoise – wow it was delicious! Now that I understand the basic format (and reading some of the comments), it will be fun to experiment, although this basic recipe is awesome. For the record, I made the vinaigrette from the juice of one lemon and the rest coconut vinegar. I also doubled up on the olives because YOLO. Will definitely make again!

  • sylvie

    Hi! I’m French and live in south of France in Toulon (about 200 km from Nice) and I’m so amazed you know the salade niçoise! Do you know there’s a kind of war to know what’s the real recipe? Some say there’s just anchovies and tuna is an unorthodox ingredient, others say red pepper is an essential ingredient etc. Well no matter, your salade niçoise is great!

  • dame flo

    hi from Nice !

    My husband (Nice native) always tells me that “a salade niçoise with green beans, potatoes is a nicoise salad from Paris !” where I was born and raised !!!!!!!

    His family receipt is with small onions called “cevettes”, red onion, with tomatoes, salad , tuna or anchovy ,eggs, radish and olive oil and olives from Nice… of course !!!!

    it’s very difficult to find a good one in Nice, downtown around the touristic places the cost is around 13 or 15 euros !!!

    dame Flo sending you sun from Nice !!

  • Shefaly

    Made this recipe when I looked for a classic nicoise salad dressing recipe. Great website. Was good to meet you at IACP and listen to your talk!

  • Pam Woodall

    The first time I had this salad made for me by a friend in Paris (1983) it comprised only leftover cooked rice, hard boiled aggs, canned tuna, corn, tomatoes and a lovely vinaigrette of olive oil, garlic, dijon mustard, red wine vinegar. I make it different every time as it works beautifully with many different seasonal vegetables, and is best served with a fresh baguette to wipe up every drop of sauce.

  • Alpna Manchanda

    Its really hot where i live (India) and many of the ingredients you write about are not easily available, so I skipped the anchovies and substituted nicoise olives for bottled green ones and I had to do without the Dijon mustard. It still turned out really good. I guess this is a flexible sort of recipe and I can work in some local ingredients.

  • GM

    This is one of our absolute favorites. We make this salad (with variations depending on what’s fresh and available)a couple of times a month. I didn’t even like canned tuna (or so I thought)until we made this salad. It is so so so good. Our base is lettuce, eggs, tuna, tomatoes, cuke, green beans, potatoes, and some yummy vinaigrette. Tonight we had it with avocado (!!) and early season grilled corn (!!!) Spectacular!

  • jonathan

    This is the most amazing salad!!! I personally don’t like salad, but my roomate really does. I watched him eat the entire plate (which was too small for the gigantic salad)! Ivan (that’s my roomate) had a huge grin on his face for several hours after eating it.

  • Becky

    I realized as the potatoes were almost done cooking that I had no EVOO left–yikes!–so I improvised on this one. Took some homemade greek vinaigrette leftover from a few days ago out of the fridge, along with leftover lemon chicken breast, chick peas, green onions and kalamata olives. Threw it all in with the potatoes, tomatoes, eggs and lettuce that your recipe calls for and voila! Greek Nicoise salad? It was actually quite delicious. Look forward to trying the actual recipe next time!

  • dena

    Just discovered this website and tried this salad! It is truly authentic! It was fantastic as were the crab mango salad and the blackberry pie I also made. Wonderful website with delicious recipes. I look forward to making more.


  • bob from bristol

    Very, very good recipe. The only changes that we made were to add a crushed anchovy fillet to the vinaigrette (umami element) and we left out the mustard in the V. But apart from this we adhered to the recipe and method.

  • athina

    I made this Nicoise salad for my father and his friend…it was a great success. directions were clear and simple, and the result was a delicious, colorful and nutritios summer meal, that was enjoyed by all. Thanks Elise!

  • Talley

    We had the perfect CSA box delivery for this recipe this summer. It was fantastic. I had actually never had a nicoise salad before this one. The recipe was fantastic and it looked gorgeous. Thanks Elise.

    Beautiful photos Talley! Love the purple potatoes. ~Elise

  • Shelly Cobb

    I made this last night, and my whole family loved it! Your version is terrific. My partner said he could have this every night for dinner and be very happy. Merci beaucoup!

  • Mark Nicholas

    Thanks once more Elise. I knew the basic of a salad nicoise but want to double check and your site popped up. Here in the Cascades of the northwest the hottest streak in decades with another day of near 100 degree weather. This salad will be our salvation and I’ll prepare everything this morning, head to the river, the compose the salad in time for dinner (and grill some bread as a side). The tomatoes, potatoes, onions, and cucumber will come from our garden. I’m also adding some raw baby carrots just picked and a few hot peppers just cut this morning. I can’t wait!

  • Karen

    I know this is an older recipe (do recipes get old?) but I wanted to add my praise to this gorgeous salad. My boyfriend is French and I make this for him all the time and he loves it. The dressing is so delicious that we usually make extra just so we can put it on the left over beans and potatoes the next day. This is a winner!

  • Allison Doyle

    I’ve made this twice and we LOVE IT!!! My husband said he’d be happy to eat this every week and when I served it to my mom, she said it was better than a restaurant.

    The dressing is perfect; it’s delicious on all the ingredients. I substituted dried thyme and oregano for the fresh to save a few bucks on ingredients, and it was still great! All the different flavor and texture components make a dish that is a delight to eat your way through. If you think you don’t like anchovies, please try them with this meal. Just a small bit of anchovy in a bite gives a wonderful briny saltiness like nothing else, and of course, summer tomatoes really make this stand out.

    You know how chefs love to contemplate what they would chose for thier “last meal”? Well, I think this might be mine…

  • Chloé

    Looks good, definitely. However, I would say that one of the main differences between American and French salads is that in France we do really mix all the ingredients together. I’ve always been surprised here to see all the different ingredients of the salad neatly laid one next another. It of course has the great advantage, when eating out, to let you easily skip one ingredient you don’t like, but the point of having all these things together is to have their tastes mix, isn’t it?

  • marlene

    Hey..Love your site – wonderful recipes and most I can adapt to gluten free! RE the Nicose salad – here in bordering France and Switzerland they often add corn! Cheers, Marlene

  • startcooking

    This is the perfect recipe to splurge on that imported jar of tuna. (Yes it’s worth it!)
    Cheers! Kathy Maister

  • Anonymous

    I had this same salad in Provence a couple months ago and had forgotten the name! Thanks for the memory jog! :)

  • At home with Kim Vallee

    Salade Niçoise is my favorite salads of all times. I ate a Nicoise Salads once a day when I visited Nice and the coast of Provence. Effectively, no two recipes were the same.

    From my research done over French speaking recipes, I observed that hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, a cucumber, small black olives and anchovies appear to be the common elements. For sentimental reasons, I often prepared mines with a handful of green beans, a couple of small potatoes and canned tuna in olive oil on top of the mixed common ingredients. One leaf of Romaine Salad rests on the side as decoration.

  • Christelle

    Salade nicoise is like couscous. everyone has his own version of it. In my family, I remember when I was growing up that salade nicoise was layered flat, on a large platter, with thinly sliced tomatoes, thinly sliced salad peppers (skinny green peppers), black nicoise olives (the little ones), and if in spring, young fava beans and purple artichokes quartered – yummy! the celebration of spring!
    I do not remember boiled eggs or tuna. No lettuce, no potatoes, no green beans . the key ingredient : fresh, tasty tomatoes (Not from the store). a chiffonade of basil and a drizzling of good tasting olive oil, salt & pepper. ah, la salada nissarda!

  • lydia

    I remember watching Julia Child make a salade Nicoise by blanching the beans, cooking the potatoes, and using canned tuna. That’s pretty much the method I use, unless I’m lucky enough to have fresh grilled tuna, which to me always tastes better (if not totally authentic)!