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Here’s how to make Nicoise salad dressing! This easy and zingy lemon vinaigrette is the ideal complement to this classic French salad.

Nicoise salad dressing

Are you making Nicoise salad and need a killer dressing? Here’s our favorite way to top this classic French salad: with zingy and bright lemon vinaigrette! This vinaigrette is full of beautiful fresh flavor. This simple dressing highlights the best of all the components of Nicoise salad without sticking out: it’s the perfect complement.

Ingredients for Nicoise salad dressing

This Nicoise salad dressing is brilliantly simple. Our rendition of this classic salad was inspired by a recipe by Julia Child. Julia is an author and TV personality who wrote Mastering the Art of French Cooking back the 1960’s: and she’s one of our culinary heros! Her goal was to bring the beauty of French cuisine to America: so she’s a great source for how a Nicoise salad should be put together. Our Nicoise salad dressing is a lemon vinaigrette like hers, but it’s even further simplified. Here are the ingredients for this Nicoise salad dressing:

  • 1 fresh lemon
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Dijon mustard
  • Olive oil
How to make Nicoise salad dressing

How to make Nicoise salad dressing: the method!

Here’s a little trick to this Nicoise salad dressing that amps up the lemon flavor: and you’ll find yourself wanting to make it this way every time. Here are the tricks:

  • Mix lemon juice, garlic and Dijon mustard. The Dijon mustard adds great flavor and at the same time helps to create a creamy emulsion.
  • Whisk in olive oil graduallyTo get the perfect emulsion, whisk in the olive oil 1 tablespoon at a time. The resulting lemon salad dressing is so zesty and delicious, you’ll want to put it on every salad you make.

What is Nicoise salad?

What exactly is Nicoise salad? It’s a classic French composed salad called salade nicoise in French, which means “Salad from Nice, France.” How to pronounce Nicoise? Say Nee-SWAZ in your best French accent. This fancy main dish salad always has the same elements:

  • Greens (many times butter lettuce)
  • Blanched green beans
  • Olives
  • Tomatoes
  • Tuna
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Boiled potatoes or this French potato salad

Because it’s packed with protein from the tuna and eggs, it’s filling and incredibly satisfying. Top it off with this Nicoise salad dressing, and it’s fantastic as a fancy lunch or a healthy dinner. Add crusty bread and a bottle of wine, and you’ve got a beautiful French table. Head to our Classic Nicoise Salad recipe.

Nicoise Salad

More salad dressing recipes

Making salad dressing at home is healthier and tastes much more delicious than store-bought options! Here are a few more of our favorite homemade dressings for when you’ve got a naked salad in hand:

This Nicoise salad dressing is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

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Nicoise salad

Nicoise Salad Dressing

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: About ½ cup 1x


Here’s how to make Nicoise salad dressing! This easy and zingy lemon vinaigrette is the ideal complement to this classic French salad.


  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Serve with: Classic Nicoise Salad


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, minced garlic, and kosher salt.
  2. Gradually whisk in the olive oil 1 tablespoon at a time, until creamy and emulsified. If desired, season with additional salt (or add ½ teaspoon dried oregano for an herby spin). Serve with Classic Nicoise Salad.
  • Category: Dressing
  • Method: Whisked
  • Cuisine: French inspired
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Nicoise salad dressing

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you’ll want to make again and again.

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