Nicoise Salad Recipe

This French main dish salad is legendary: for good reason! Nicoise salad is protein-packed and makes a stunning lunch or dinner (glass of wine optional).

Nicoise salad

This post was created in partnership with Earthbound Farm. All opinions are our own.

Nicoise salad is legendary: and for good reason! It’s a true treat, a stunning healthy Mediterranean diet lunch or dinner that you’ll want to keep eating for days. Boiled eggs, green beans, olives, tomatoes, and tangy potato salad sit on crunchy lettuce and are covered in a zesty lemon dressing. It’s filling enough to be a main dish, and it’s got the best summery vibe. In our rendition, we’ve used Earthbound Farm Red Baby Butter Lettuce, which has the most beautiful maroon and green leaves. It tastes fabulous: and it’s organic too. Keep reading for more about organic lettuces and how to make Nicoise salad!

Coupon: Here’s a coupon for $2 off Earthbound Farm products!

Spread of vegetables

What is Nicoise salad?

First of all, what exactly is Nicoise salad? It’s a classic French composed salad. In French it’s called salade nicoise, meaning “Salad from Nice, France”. It always has the same elements: a bed of greens (many times butter lettuce), blanched green beans, olives, tomatoes, tuna, hard boiled eggs, potatoes, and a tangy vinaigrette. Because it’s packed with protein, it’s filling and incredibly satisfying.

How to pronounce Nicoise? If you don’t speak French, you might be tripped up by this name. Here’s how to say it: Nee-SWAZ salad.

Nicoise salad

The components of Nicoise salad

Alex and I learned about the magic of Nicoise salad (salade Nicoise) from our cooking idol Julia Child, and we’ve been loving it ever since. This recipe is an adaptation of her classic rendition! Here’s what’s in Nicoise salad:

  1. Hard boiled eggs: Use our perfect stovetop method or Instant Pot hard boiled eggs.
  2. Green beans: You’ll blanch green beans so they’re tender and bright green.
  3. French potato salad: The potatoes you’ll make into a French potato salad by combining them with shallot and vinegar: it’s actually an incredibly good potato salad recipe that you might want to make on its own!
  4. Tuna: Tuna is traditional in Nicoise salad: here it’s flavored simply with olive oil and kosher salt. You can omit for vegetarian!
  5. Kalamata olives: Olives are key to the briny, salty flavor.
  6. Cherry tomatoes: Cherry tomatoes bring in color and freshness.
  7. Organic lettuce: Crisp lettuce serves as a base for the flavors.
  8. Lemon vinaigrette: A zingy Lemon Vinaigrette ties everything together.
Salade nicoise

For easiest prep, make a few things in advance.

This Nicoise salad is easy to make, but there are quite a bit of elements to prepare. The hard boiled eggs and lemon vinaigrette are simple to whip up the night before. If you’re feeling ambitious, you could also boil the potatoes and green beans in advance and refrigerate everything. This would make for an incredibly simple prep the day of. If you do it all in one evening, it’s nice to have a friend or spouse to help.

How to serve Nicoise salad

This Nicoise salad is the perfect spring and summer meal for enjoying al fresco. It screams for a glass of white wine or rosé, or even frozen rosé! Serve it with a starter of crostini or bruschetta, or a side of crusty bread, and you’ve got patio meal perfection.

As a note: this recipe uses tuna, which is traditional for Nicoise salad. For a vegetarian salad you can omit it and it’s still just as tasty! The potatoes and hard boiled eggs make it a filling vegetarian salad recipe.

Baby Red Butter Lettuce

About Earthbound Farm & organic food

We used Earthbound Farm lettuce in this Nicoise salad. Have you come across Earthbound Farm before? 100% of their products are certified organic. Alex and I have committed to buying organic as often as possible because of the positive effects on the environment and our health. We know that it can be really difficult for businesses to commit to all organic farming and making food at accessible prices for consumers. So we are impressed by Earthbound Farm’s commitment to making organic an accessible choice for everyone!

What does organic mean? It means that 100% of Earthbound Farm’s farmers grow with cultural and biological practices that promote ecological balance, build healthy soils, conserve biodiversity and avoid the use of toxic and persistent conventional chemicals and synthetic fertilizers, GMOs and irradiation.

It does take a bit of education in the world of organic to understand the definition above. The main point for YOU as the consumer is that Earthbound Farm commits to organic as a major solution for environmental and human health. And that means benefits for all of us.

Tuna nicoise

This Nicoise salad recipe is…

Pescatarian and gluten-free. For vegetarian, omit the tuna.

Print
Nicoise salad

Classic Nicoise Salad Recipe


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 main dish salads 1x

Description

This French main dish salad is legendary: for good reason! Nicoise salad is protein-packed and makes a stunning lunch or dinner (glass of wine optional).


Scale

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces Red Baby Bibb lettuce
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 1/2 pounds baby red potatoes
  • 1 pound fresh green beans
  • 1 small shallot (2 tablespoons minced)
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh parsley (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes or 1 large tomato
  • 2 cans tuna (omit for vegetarian)
  • 1 recipe Lemon Vinaigrette
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook the hard boiled eggs: Follow our method for Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs (or Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs). Note that you can use the same ice bath for the green beans below. The eggs are also perfect for making in advance.
  2. Boil the potatoes and beans: Fill a large pot with cold water and add 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Add the whole potatoes and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, working in batches slice off the stem ends of the green beans.
  3. Blanch the beans: Right when the water comes to a boil, start a timer for 5 minutes and place the green beans in the pot with the potatoes. Boil the beans for about 5 minutes until tender but still bright green. Prepare a large bowl of ice water (or use the same one as for the hard boiled eggs). Right when the beans are tender, remove them from the boiling water with tongs and transfer them to the ice bath. Remove the beans and dry them with a towel, then mix them with a few pinches of salt and fresh ground pepper.
  4. Finish the potatoes: Keep cooking the potatoes for about 3 minutes until fork tender (taste test to check). While they are cooking, mince 2 tablespoons shallot. When the potatoes are done, drain them. When they are cool enough to handle, slice them into bite sized pieces. Place them in a bowl and gently mix in the minced shallot, white wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 cup warm water. Let stand for 5 minutes, gently stirring occasionally. Then add the capers, parsley (optional) 1 tablespoon olive oil, and a few grinds black pepper. Taste and add additional salt if necessary. 
  5. Make the dressing: Make the Lemon Vinaigrette. 
  6. Prep the salad ingredients: Slice the tomatoes into wedges (or cherry tomatoes in half) and sprinkle with a little kosher salt
  7. Drain the tuna and flake it using a fork, then add a few pinches of kosher salt and a drizzle of olive oil. 
  8. Serve: To serve, in large shallow bowls or on large platters, add Red Baby Butter Lettuce leaves. Top with green beans, hard boiled eggs, tomato, tuna, Kalamata olives, and potatoes. Drizzle with Lemon Vinaigrette and serve. 

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: French

Keywords: Nicoise Salad, Salade nicoise, Tuna nicoise, How to pronounce nicoise, What is nicoise salad, Salad recipes,

Looking for salad recipes?

Outside of this Nicoise salad, here are a few more salad recipes we love! You could use the Earthbound Farm Red Baby Butter Lettuce in a few of these!

Last updated: December 2019

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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