Entree salads are one of my favorite things to serve for dinner. I can usually serve all the components of the meal in one dish with only a small amount of cooking. And the leftovers are fantastic for lunch the next day. Nicoise salad has a lot of elements that require preparation, but it’s such a delicious salad that I consider it worth the effort from time to time.
What is Nicoise Salad?
Nicoise salad gets its name from the Mediterranean French city of Nice, where it originated. The exact ingredients used in a nicoise salad vary from place to place, so what follows in this recipe is the version that I prefer.
Nicoise salad contains a lot of individual components to create a salad with a lovely array of colors, textures, and flavors. It is made up of a mixture of raw, marinated, and cooked vegetables, hard boiled eggs, and tuna on top of lettuce.
Components of Nicoise Salad
To dress the salad, I make a vinaigrette out of olive oil, lemon juice, herbs, and Dijon mustard. I almost always choose to make my own salad dressings and this one is super easy to shake together in a small mason jar.
The leafy greens I usually choose for the base of the salad are Boston lettuce or butter lettuce. They are such a lovely tender type of lettuce that they practically melt in your mouth.
Atop the lettuce I use canned tuna packed in oil. It’s a little richer and less dry than water packed tuna, which works perfectly here.
Next, I marinate sliced cucumbers, radishes, and onions in some of the vinaigrette I made. When the rest of the components are ready, I place it next to the tuna.
Then I boil little potatoes and marinate them with some more of the vinaigrette. I usually use fingerling potatoes, or baby yellow or red-skinned ones.
After cooking the potatoes, don’t throw out the potato water. Just scoop the potatoes out into a separate bowl and use the hot water to blanch the green beans. You want them to be just slightly tender and bright green, with a bit of crunch to them still.
While the potatoes and green beans are cooking I cut the tomatoes into wedges and peel and cut the hard boiled eggs. I frequently have hard boiled eggs already on hand, but if you don’t this instant pot method is quick and hands-off and makes awesome eggs.
The last two components for the salad are the olives and optional anchovies. Nicoise olives are the obvious choice for nicoise salad. They’re smaller than the popular kalamata olives and also harder to find. If you’re unable to find nicoise olives, you can sub another kind that you like.
And that’s it! I know it seems like a lot of steps and work… and it kind of is. But I promise it’s delicious and filling and makes enough to feed a crowd. It’s also a very beautiful salad!
Nicoise Salad Recipe
A family size classic nicoise entree salad with tuna, green beans, hard boiled eggs, olives, and marinated vegetables with a mustard herb vinaigrette.
For the Salad
- 1 small red onion
- 4 radishes
- 1 small cucumber
- 1 lb baby red potatoes or fingerling potatoes
- ½ lb green beans (trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces)
- 2 medium heads Boston lettuce or butter lettuce
- 3 cans oil-packed tuna
- 6 hard boiled eggs (peeled and quartered lengthwise)
- 3 small small tomatoes (cored and cut into wedges)
- ¼ cup niçoise olives
- 4 anchovies (optional)
For the Salad
Thinly slice the onion, radishes, and cucumber and place in a small bowl.
Pour ¼ cup of the vinaigrette over them, stir, and set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Boil the potatoes for about 10 minutes or until tender.
Remove from the water, reserving the water for the beans.
Allow the potatoes to cool slightly until they can be handled and then cut them into quarters and place them in a medium size bowl.
Drizzle the potatoes with another ¼ cup of the vinaigrette, stir gently to combine, and set aside.
Add the green beans to the same boiling water as the potatoes and boil for about 5 minutes or until tender, but not too soft.
Remove and rinse in cold water.
Rinse the lettuce leaves and gently tear into pieces.
Arrange the lettuce on a serving platter.
Drain the tuna and place it in the center of the lettuce.
Place the onions/cucumber/radish mixture next to the tuna.
Arrange the potatoes, green beans, eggs, tomatoes, olives, and anchovies if using, around the center.
Drizzle everything with the remaining vinaigrette and serve immediately.
If you can’t find nicoise olives, you can sub kalamata olives. The flavor is different, but still delicious.
Calories: 586kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 216mg | Sodium: 914mg | Potassium: 936mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 19.4% | Vitamin C: 38.5% | Calcium: 7.2% | Iron: 15%
Do you like to serve salad for dinner? What’s your favorite?