The tuna nicoise salad is a classic dish that at its core is all about simplicity. Loaded with all kinds of veggies then dressed with a simple vinaigrette, it is truly the best entree salad you can make. 

Why This Nicoise Salad Recipe Works

This entree salad is a classic for a reason—it’s got tons of textures and flavors without loads of work. The only thing you really need is a pot of boiling water and a platter to pile everything onto. The beautiful thing about the nicoise salad is that it’s versatile and very forgiving—play around with the veggies you add, toss in a few extra herbs, and swap out the tuna for whatever fish or protein sounds good. 

tomatoes, green beans, lettuce, olives, cucumbers, and potatoes on a large platter with dressing on top

What is Salad Nicoise?

Literally meaning “as prepared in Nice,” the niçoise salad exemplifies the type of cuisine found in and around the city of Nice. That type of cuisine is one that values both hot and cold dishes and relies heavily on tomatoes, black olives and anchovies.

French green beans, onions, tuna, hard-cooked eggs, and herbs are the basic components of the niçoise salad. Our version includes most of those things, but also adds a few additional components to round out the meal.

large bronze platter filled with cooked potatoes, tuna, cucumber chunks, halved cherry tomatoes, green beans, olives, soft-boiled eggs and fresh dill.

Ingredients

Potatoes

Baby gold potatoes are best for this delicious salad. They’re quick-cooking and have a silky-smooth texture once cooked. 

Green beans

Traditionally, haricot verts are used in nicoise salad. And if you can find them, use ‘em! They’re delicious. You can also use regular green beans—either variety works fine. 

Eggs

For the perfect 6-minute egg, use large eggs. If you’re using medium egg cook them a bit less and if you’re using extra-large give them a few more seconds in the boiling water. 

Tuna

Oil-packed tuna is leaps and bounds better than tuna canned in water. Look for tuna packed in olive oil—we find it tasted better and quite frankly it’s healthier than tuna packed in canola oil. Look for oil-packed tuna in glass jars next to the regular-packed tuna and tinned fish. 

Olives

You can use whatever olives you like best, but we prefer a combo of castelvetrano and kalamata. Opt for pitted and give them a light smash before tossing them onto the salad. Smashing them forms crevices for holding onto the vinaigrette and makes them easier to grab with a fork. We use smashed olives in our Marinated Olives appetizer. 

lettuce, eggs, jarred tuna, potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, oil, honey, lemon, shallot, dill and green beans set out on a counter

Tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes are great in this salad. Regular tomatoes cut into chunks just don’t work as well. 

Cucumber

Small persian cucumbers have a great texture and flavor. Plus their size is ideal for a salad. You can use an English cucumber instead if that’s easier to find. 

Greens

We love to use little gem lettuce here, but feel free to use any kind of green. Spring greens, arugul, romaine, red leaf, green leaf, are all great options. 

Dill

You can use whatever fresh herb(s) you like best. Feel free to use parsley, basil, or chives. We prefer dill because it pairs so well with olives, olive oil and lemon. 

Nicoise Salad Dressing

We use our Dill Vinaigrette for this salad because it’s outrageous. So fresh and bright, it’s perfect for drizzling over a load of veggies. 

large bronze platter filled with cooked potatoes, tuna, cucumber chunks, halved cherry tomatoes, green beans, olives, soft-boiled eggs and fresh dill.

Variations

Simple Tuna Nicoise Salad

Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Yield 4 servings + ½ cup vinaigrette
Category Salad
Cuisine French

Description

A simple recipe for a flavor-packed Tuna Nicoise Salad. This dinner salad will feed a hungry family!

Ingredients

Nicoise Salad

  • 1 pound baby gold potatoes
  • 12 ounces green beans
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 cups mixed lettuce greens
  • 12 ounces oil-packed tuna drained and flaked into chunks
  • 4 small persian cucumbers or ½ english cucumber roll-cut
  • 1 cup cherry toms halved (5 ounces)
  • 1 cup pitted olives castelvetrano or kalamata, crushed
  • Fresh dill, for serving

Dill Vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ small shallot minced (2 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoon chopped dill
  • 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Add potatoes to a large sauté pan and cover with 2 inches of cold water. Place pan over high heat and bring to a boil; season with 1 teaspoon salt, reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Using a spider to slotted spoon, transfer potatoes to a plate to cool.
    baby gold potatoes in a large saute pan filled with water
  • Refill saute pan with water and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and using a spider or slotted spoon, gently lower eggs into water. Bring water back up to a boil and cook eggs 6 minutes.
    4 brown eggs in a large saute pan filled with water
  • Meanwhile, prepare an ice water bath. Using a spider or slotted spoon transfer eggs to ice water bath.
  • Add green beans to simmering water and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer green beans to ice water bath with eggs and cool completely.
    green beans in a large saute pan filled with water
  • Meanwhile, for the vinaigrette, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, shallot, dill, Dijon, honey and salt; season with pepper to taste.
  • Cut cooled potatoes in half. Drain green beans and eggs. Peel eggs then cut in half.
  • Arrange lettuce greens on a large platter then arrange potatoes, green beans, eggs, tuna, cucumbers, tomatoes, and olives over top.
  • Drizzle vinaigrette over salad and sprinkle with fresh dill over top. Season potatoes with salt and pepper.

Notes

For a quicker-cook time, bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Cook the eggs and green beans (separately) while the potatoes are cooking in the saute pan.
Make ahead: the potatoes, green beans, and eggs can all be cooked ahead of time. Store the potatoes and green beans in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Store the cooked eggs, with the shell still intact, in a bowl in the refrigerator.
The dill vinaigrette can be made up to 3 days ahead of time. Store in a glass container with a tight-fitting lid in the refrigerator. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 of recipeCalories: 500kcalCarbohydrates: 34gProtein: 33gFat: 28gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 212mgSodium: 860mgFiber: 8gSugar: 7.5g
Keywords Nicoise Salad, Tuna Nicoise Salad
Did you make this recipe?Leave a comment below and tag @ZestfulKitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #zestfulkitchen!
large bronze platter filled with cooked potatoes, tuna, cucumber chunks, halved cherry tomatoes, green beans, olives, soft-boiled eggs and fresh dill.

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Beautiful salad and delicious. Crushed olives? Brilliant. Had to look up “roll-cut” and I’m in love. Thank you.