Salad Nicoise or Nicoise Salad is a simple salad that is perfect any time of the year.
A traditional French salad recipe that is super easy to make. It has everything going for it: minimal cooking involved, and loaded with feel-good ingredients, yet it has enough substance to satisfy you.
Cooked tender potatoes, good tuna, string beans, lettuce, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, capers, black olives, and anchovies marry well in this beautiful salad.
The perfect Mediterranean favorite summer salad as it gets ready rather quickly.
Anchovies are classic of the Nicoise,
What is salad nicoise meaning?
It is a salad that consists primarily of olives, tomatoes, anchovies, hard-boiled eggs, tuna, and beans or green vegetables.
The word “nicoise” means from Nice.
It originated in the French city of Nice, southern France Riviera, on the Mediterranean Sea.
Salad nicoise history
The known version of this salad dates to the late 19th century and was an essential combination of tomatoes, anchovies, and olive oil.
It was described as simple food for poor people.
You can also use this salad to make a great sandwich.
Growing up in Paris, I would enjoy this Salad Nicoise sandwich for lunch.
A fun-packed French baguette that left you wanting more with each bite.
This is what you need:
- French baguette sliced open vertically, making sure you can open it, but the two parts are not split
- Nicoise dressing for the salad drizzled all over the bread
- Placing the salad nicoise in the middle of your bread.
This makes the best sandwich ever.
It makes for the perfect pool or beach lunch.
Here are a few helpful tips for the ingredients needed to make this savory Salade Nicoise
This is a quick introduction. Please read the recipe for complete instructions.
Apart from a few ingredients that require you to cook them, most of them are pantry staples that must only be added to your wonderful salad.
Waxy potatoes: Small and all the same size. You can cook them the day before and cut them when you are ready to serve your salad.
String beans: Crisp and tender and a vibrant green
Oil-canned tuna: Oil is the best preserver of tuna. It allows it to maintain the same texture, but most importantly, it keeps the tuna from changing flavor when saved in a water base solution.
Green leaves salad: Butter or Bibb salad, Romaine, and arugula are the best combination to this tuna Nicoise salad.
Tomatoes: ripe and small. Remove the seedling so it will not make your salad too damp.
Black olives: A must and do not skip as olives are an integral part of this salad.
Capers: The perfect balance of acidity added to the salad.
Hard-boiled eggs: the added richness to this salad. You will love how wonderfully they blend with the tuna.
Anchovies: A must! Mediterranean and Southern French cooking at its finest always has a bit of anchovy. They add the saltiness needed to this dish and are not overpowering.
Garlic, Mustard, Wine vinegar, Lemon juice, Olive oil: Your dressing the garlic with the vinegar and mustard releases the natural oils that blend well with the lemon juice and olive oil.
Why do you want tuna packed in olive oil?
Olive oil helps trap vital nutrients deep within the fish where your body can unlock them during digestion.
Although it is not the healthiest canned fish option, oil-packed canned fish seals in every drop of flavor to keep your meals as delicious as possible.
How to keep your string beans bright green
No one enjoys string beans that are dark in color. It is visual. We love to see the beauty of the fresh green bean on our plates.
The solution to cooking the string beans and maintaining the vibrant green is simple.
- Blanch them in salted boiling water for a few minutes, just enough to soften.
- Drain them and immediately immerse them in a bath of cold water with ice cubes.
This process will stop the continuation of cooking and allow the string beans to remain beautifully green yet soft to the bite.
What ingredients can be prepared ahead of time?
The potatoes, string beans, and hard-boiled eggs can all be prepared the day before and refrigerated until ready to assemble your recipe.
Storing your wonderful salad nicoise
As with all salads, the green salad leaves tend to burn and welt once you dress them with any dressings. Therefore not the best candidate for storing after the seasoning is added.
I do recommend storing the ingredients separately before assembling them.
If you enjoy this delicious salad Nicoise recipe, look at my other recipes.
- 4 waxy potatoes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1.75 cup string beans, cut in half, ends cut off
- 10 ounces canned tuna olive oil, drained
- 4 green lettuce
- 3 tomatoes, cut in 4 wedges, seeds removed
- 20 black olives, pitted
- 2 tbsps capers
- 3 hard boiled eggs, cut into wedges
- 8 anchovies
- 1 garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 0.5 cup olive oil
- Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain, cut into cubes, and place in a bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss well.
- Cook the string beans in boiling salted water for 3 minutes, then drain and refresh them under cold water. Drain well and keep aside.
- To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the garlic, mustard, vinegar and lemon juice. Add the oil in a thin steady stream, whisking until smooth.
- Put the tuna in a bowl and separate them into large chunks with a fork. Cover the bottom of a serving dish with the lettuce leaves.
- Scatter the potatoes, beans, tuna, tomatoes, olive and capers over the leaves, pour the vinaigrette over the top and decorate with the eggs and anchovies.
Giangi’s Kitchen provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as a registered dietician does not calculate them.
Did you make this?
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Originally published on April 21, 2010. Updated on April 15, 2023.