This Nicoise Salad features green beans, potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, tuna, and olives in a dijon vinaigrette. A taste of the Riviera!
When I was 15, I traveled to the French Riviera for the summer to join a group of high school students from the U.S. and Canada learning French. I lived with a single mom whose daughter had left for college and stayed in her tiny room almost entirely decorated in orange.
Every morning, my French mom would leave me a croissant and giant bowl of dark black coffee for breakfast along with a packed lunch. I remember my surprise the first day in finding a Salade Niçoise in my tupperware instead of an American sandwich!
A budding foodie already, I delighted in the tuna, eggs, olives, ripe tomatoes, and potatoes in a sharp dijon dressing. 30 years later, I still think a tuna nicoise salad is the ultimate in packed lunches. This recipe is my attempt to recreate the magic!
Why Make This Recipe
- Great dish to meal prep on the weekend—if you cook your eggs, potatoes, and green beans in advance, you can pull this together in minutes.
- Fantastic as a buffet spread for brunch. Make all the components, lay them out on a platter, and have guests build their own.
- High in protein, low in carbs, and totally delicious!
🥗 Nicoise Salad Ingredients
- Olives: Nicoise olives are traditional in this salad, but can be difficult to find. I often use dry-cured olives as a substitute. Kalamata olives will work as well.
- Tuna: I prefer jarred tuna as it is very high-quality and tastes less “fishy” than the typical canned tuna. Since you are eating it without blending it with mayonnaise in a tuna salad, the quality of the fish really does come through.
- Anchovies: These are standard in a Nicoise Salad, but of course you can leave them off if anchovies are not for you!
- Potatoes: Any kind of small, creamy potatoes work well for this recipe. New potatoes, small red potatoes, fingerling potatoes. Stay away from using baking potatoes though, as those are too starchy.
- Tomatoes: Slice up large red tomatoes or use cherry tomatoes—just choose the ripest ones you can find.
🥗 Ingredients for Nicoise Salad Dressing
- Champagne or White Wine Vinegar: feel free to replace this with red wine vinegar or lemon juice. You just need a bit of acid to work with the mustard to create a beautiful salad dressing.
- Olive Oil: I prefer an extra-virgin olive oil for this dressing.
- Herbes de Provence: If you don't have this spice blend, replace with dried basil, oregano, fennel, rosemary, thyme, or some combination.
🥣 Step-by-Step Instructions
Start by preparing the ingredients that need to be cooked. (If you need to hard boil your eggs, see my instructions below.)
Trim 8 ounces of green beans. Rinse 1 pound of small potatoes, and wipe off any dirt before patting dry with a clean towel. Cut potatoes in half or in quarters, depending on how large they are.
Fill a large saucepan with water to cook your green beans and potatoes. Turn the heat to medium-high and when the water boils, add the green beans. Cook for 5-6 minutes until bright green and just tender.
Use tongs to remove from the water and put in a strainer. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
Put your potatoes in the boiling water and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Test them by spearing with a fork. You want the fork to be able to easily pierce through the potato, but not so tender that the fork breaks the potato into mushy pieces.
Drain potatoes when they are done, and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
While green beans and potatoes are boiling, slice 1 pint of cherry tomatoes in half and peel and halve 4 hard-boiled eggs.
Next, make the nicoise salad dressing. Whisk together 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar, 1 ½ teaspoons dijon mustard, and ½ teaspoon herbes de provence, then slowly whisk in 5 tablespoons olive oil until dressing emulsifies.
Whisk in ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, taste, and add more seasoning if necessary.
Now you’re ready for assembly. Arrange the green beans, potatoes, eggs, 2 jars of oil-packed tuna fish, tomatoes, ½ cup olives, and 8 anchovy fillets in a different section on a large platter, and have diners help themselves.
Or, arrange this salad with tuna, potatoes, and green beans by placing a small amount of each ingredient onto each plate. Drizzle with dijon vinaigrette. Alternatively, you can toss the vinaigrette with your ingredients separately before placing them on the plate.
🧐 Recipe FAQs for Nicoise Salad
Salade niçoise is a salad that originated in Nice, France. It is usually presented as a salade composé (composed salad), which means that the parts of the salad are laid out next to each other on the plate rather than being tossed together in a large bowl.
Traditional ingredients include hard-boiled eggs, nicoise olives, tomatoes, and anchovies. Cooked ingredients such as green beans and potatoes are commonly added to nicoise salads, though not always—and are rejected by nicoise salad purists.
The first nicoise salads appeared in the United States in the 1920s, and since then many American chefs have produced recipes, including Julia Child in 1961 in her book Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
Yes! Prep all your ingredients separately, and they can each be refrigerated for up to 3 days. The dressing can also be made up to 5 days in advance. Once you are ready to serve, you can pull the components out of the refrigerator and arrange them on your plates or platters.
👩🍳 Expert Tips
For a fancy upgrade to your nicoise salad, grill some fresh tuna steaks or salmon fillets and use those in place of the tuna.
If the prep for this dish seams onerous, remember that you can do large batches of eggs, green beans, and potatoes, and use them for other meals during the week. They are great ingredients to have pre-prepped in your refrigerator!
My favorite technique for hard-boiling eggs comes from Cook's Illustrated. Just place your eggs in a saucepan covered by 1 inch of water and heat the water on high. When water comes to a full boil, remove the pan from the heat and cover the pot.
Let the eggs sit in the pot for 10 minutes, while you fill a large bowl with ice water. After 10 minutes, remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and place gently into the ice water. Let sit for 5 minutes.
Then you can either dry them off and refrigerate them, or peel if you’re ready to use.
That said, I bought this rapid egg cooker recently, and I love it! I make hard-boiled eggs now so much more often, because they are so easy to make in this cooker.
Other Delicious French Recipes
For more France-inspired dishes, check out my French Recipes Archive. Or go directly to some of these favorites.
If you try this Tuna Nicoise Salad recipe, I would love to hear from you! Please rate this recipe and leave a comment below—your feedback is invaluable to me.
- 8 ounces green beans
- 1 pound small red potatoes or fingerling potatoes
- 4 hard-boiled eggs
- 2 jars or cans tuna fillets packed in olive oil (5-7 oz)
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 8 anchovy fillets (optional)
- ½ cup niçoise olives
- 2 tablespoons champagne or white wine vinegar
- 1 ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon herbes de provence
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Bring a medium-large saucepan of water to boil.
- Rinse and trim the stems of the green beans, and rinse potatoes, scrubbing off any dirt.
- Slice cherry tomatoes in half.
- Peel, then halve or quarter the hard-boiled eggs.
- Boil green beans for 5-6 minutes, until crisp-tender, then remove with a slotted spoon and rinse in a colander under cold water.
- Add the potatoes to the boiling water. Cook until just tender, about 15 minutes.
- Drain potatoes and rinse with cold water, let cool slightly, and then slice or quarter.
- While the vegetables are cooking, make the vinaigrette.
- Whisk together vinegar, dijon mustard, and herbes de provence, then slowly whisk in olive oil until dressing emulsifies. Whisk in salt and pepper, taste, and add more seasoning if necessary.
- Arrange green beans, potatoes, eggs, tuna, cherry tomatoes, anchovies, and olives in a different section on a large platter, and have diners help themselves. Or, place a small amount of each ingredient onto each plate.
- Drizzle with dijon vinaigrette and serve.
Nicoise Salad components can be cooked and refrigerated separately for up to 3 days.
The dressing can be made in advance and refrigerated for up to 5 days.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 481Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 208mgSodium: 608mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 5gSugar: 7gProtein: 20g
Nutrition information isn't always accurate but is our best attempt based on the ingredients listed.