Classic French Tuna Nicoise Salad with Dijon Dressing

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Bring a slice of France to your table with a delectable Nicoise Salad. This classic French salad is a vibrant and healthy ensemble of fresh ingredients that will transport your taste buds to a coastal paradise. Whether you’re a seasoned foodie or a beginner in the kitchen, this recipe is sure to impress.

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French Nicoise Salad - This Classic French Tuna Nicoise Salad with Dijon Dressing is a delightful medley of fresh Roma tomatoes, crisp green beans, tender red potatoes, and creamy hard-boiled eggs, all artfully arranged and topped with briny Niçoise olives and savory canned tuna. Drizzled with a zesty Dijon vinaigrette, it's a taste of the Mediterranean that combines vibrant flavors and textures in every bite.

How do you pronounce Nicoise?

Nicoise is pronounced as “nee-swahz.” The “c” in French is soft and sounds like “s.” The final “e” is silent. So, it sounds like “nee-swahz.”

What is the history of Nicoise Salad?

The history of the Nicoise Salad is as colorful and flavorful as the salad itself. This classic dish originates from the sun-soaked city of Nice, located on the French Riviera, and it has a rich culinary heritage that dates back over a century. Here’s a glimpse into the fascinating history of the Nicoise Salad:

  1. Origin in Nice, France: The Nicoise Salad, or “Salade Niçoise” in French, is named after the city of Nice, which is situated along the Mediterranean coast in the southeastern part of France. This salad is deeply rooted in the local cuisine and culture of the region.
  2. Humble Beginnings: Originally, the Nicoise Salad was a simple, rustic dish made by local fishermen and farmers using ingredients readily available in the region. It was a reflection of the Mediterranean’s abundant produce and seafood.
  3. Traditional Ingredients: The traditional Nicoise Salad includes key ingredients such as fresh and ripe tomatoes, tender green beans, boiled potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, Niçoise olives, and canned tuna. These ingredients capture the essence of the Mediterranean and are emblematic of the local bounty.
  4. International Popularity: Over time, the Nicoise Salad gained international recognition and popularity. It became a staple in French cuisine and eventually found its way onto menus around the world, appreciated for its combination of textures, flavors, and the sense of freshness it imparts.
  5. Variations and Adaptations: Like many traditional dishes, the Nicoise Salad has evolved and adapted to suit different tastes and dietary preferences. You can now find variations with grilled chicken, anchovies, capers, and even vegetarian versions without tuna or eggs.
  6. Culinary Icon: Today, the Nicoise Salad is considered a culinary icon, representing the Mediterranean way of life and a commitment to fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients. It embodies the essence of “la cuisine du soleil,” the cuisine of the sun, celebrated in the South of France.

The Nicoise Salad is more than just a salad; it’s a culinary masterpiece with a history deeply intertwined with the coastal culture of Nice. Its simplicity, vibrant flavors, and versatility have made it a beloved dish around the world, cherished for its connection to the Mediterranean’s bounty and the joy it brings to the table.

Nicoise Salad 6 - This Classic French Tuna Nicoise Salad with Dijon Dressing is a delightful medley of fresh Roma tomatoes, crisp green beans, tender red potatoes, and creamy hard-boiled eggs, all artfully arranged and topped with briny Niçoise olives and savory canned tuna. Drizzled with a zesty Dijon vinaigrette, it's a taste of the Mediterranean that combines vibrant flavors and textures in every bite.

What makes this salad healthy?

Primarily due to the nutritious ingredients it contains and its balanced composition, the Nicoise Salad is a healthy choice. Here are several reasons why this salad is considered to be healthy:

  1. Abundance of Vegetables: This Nicoise Salad is packed with vegetables, including tomatoes, green beans, and radishes. These vegetables are rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which support overall health and well-being.
  2. Nutrient-Rich Potatoes: The addition of red potatoes provides a good source of carbohydrates, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals, including potassium and vitamin C. These nutrients contribute to energy production and overall health.
  3. Protein from Eggs and Tuna: This Nicoise Salad incorporates protein from both hard-boiled eggs and canned tuna. Protein is essential for muscle health, and it helps keep you feeling full and satisfied.
  4. Healthy Fats: The salad dressing, made with olive oil, provides heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. These fats are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and can help with nutrient absorption.
  5. Low-Calorie Option: Nicoise Salad is relatively low in calories compared to many other meal options, making it suitable for those looking to manage their calorie intake.
  6. Fiber Content: The combination of vegetables and potatoes adds dietary fiber to the salad, aiding in digestion and promoting a feeling of fullness.
  7. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Canned tuna, especially when packed in oil, can provide a source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and potential cardiovascular benefits.
  8. Antioxidants: The olives in this Nicoise Salad are a source of antioxidants, which help protect cells from oxidative stress and support overall health.
  9. Hydration: Many of the salad ingredients have a high water content, contributing to hydration, which is essential for various bodily functions.
  10. Customization: This Nicoise Salad is versatile, and you can adapt it to your dietary preferences. Whether you’re vegetarian, pescatarian, or have specific dietary restrictions, you can customize this salad to suit your needs.

It’s important to note that the healthiness of Nicoise Salad can be further enhanced by using high-quality, fresh ingredients and being mindful of portion sizes. Additionally, the salad’s overall health benefits may vary depending on specific variations and the dressing used, so making your own dressing with healthy oils like olive oil can contribute to its healthfulness. Nicoise Salad is considered a healthy choice due to its nutrient-rich ingredients, balanced composition, and potential benefits for overall health when consumed as part of a balanced diet.

Nicoise Salad 10 - This Classic French Tuna Nicoise Salad with Dijon Dressing is a delightful medley of fresh Roma tomatoes, crisp green beans, tender red potatoes, and creamy hard-boiled eggs, all artfully arranged and topped with briny Niçoise olives and savory canned tuna. Drizzled with a zesty Dijon vinaigrette, it's a taste of the Mediterranean that combines vibrant flavors and textures in every bite.

Why you’ll love this recipe

This Nicoise Salad recipe is beloved for its harmonious blend of flavors, customizable nature, nutritional value, and the sheer pleasure it brings to the palate. Whether you’re a food enthusiast, health-conscious individual, or someone looking for a delightful and easy-to-make meal, this Nicoise Salad has something to offer, making it a favorite salad among salad lovers.

RELATED: Classic Tuna Pasta Salad – a classic dish that’s easy to make, delicious, and perfect for meal prep. Made with pasta, canned tuna, celery, carrots, green onion and dill, it’s a healthy and satisfying option for lunch or dinner.

Nicoise Salad 15 - This Classic French Tuna Nicoise Salad with Dijon Dressing is a delightful medley of fresh Roma tomatoes, crisp green beans, tender red potatoes, and creamy hard-boiled eggs, all artfully arranged and topped with briny Niçoise olives and savory canned tuna. Drizzled with a zesty Dijon vinaigrette, it's a taste of the Mediterranean that combines vibrant flavors and textures in every bite.

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Here’s what you’ll need to make this Nicoise Salad

Nicoise Salad 1 - This Classic French Tuna Nicoise Salad with Dijon Dressing is a delightful medley of fresh Roma tomatoes, crisp green beans, tender red potatoes, and creamy hard-boiled eggs, all artfully arranged and topped with briny Niçoise olives and savory canned tuna. Drizzled with a zesty Dijon vinaigrette, it's a taste of the Mediterranean that combines vibrant flavors and textures in every bite.

For the salad:

  • Red potatoes
  • Green beans
  • Mixed greens
  • Boiled eggs
  • Roma tomatoes 
  • Tuna packed in oil
  • Radishes
  • Kalamata or Niçoise olives

For the dressing:

  • Olive oil
  • White wine vinegar 
  • Shallots 
  • Dijon mustard 
  • Fresh thyme
  • Salt and black pepper

Be sure to check out the full ingredient list and printable recipe in the recipe card below.

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How to make French Nicoise Salad

Step 1: In a large pot of salted water, place the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender, about 10 minutes. Drain well and refrigerate.

Step 2: Meanwhile, place the green beans into a large skillet with about 1 inch of salted water. Bring to a boil and cook about 5 to 7 minutes until the green beans are crisp tender. Immediately plunge the green beans in ice water to stop the cooking. Drain well and add to the bowl with the cooked potatoes. 

Nicoise Salad 4 - This Classic French Tuna Nicoise Salad with Dijon Dressing is a delightful medley of fresh Roma tomatoes, crisp green beans, tender red potatoes, and creamy hard-boiled eggs, all artfully arranged and topped with briny Niçoise olives and savory canned tuna. Drizzled with a zesty Dijon vinaigrette, it's a taste of the Mediterranean that combines vibrant flavors and textures in every bite.

Step 3: In a small bowl or jar, mix the ingredients for the dressing. Pour about half of the dressing over the potatoes and green beans, tossing to coat. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Nicoise Salad 2 - This Classic French Tuna Nicoise Salad with Dijon Dressing is a delightful medley of fresh Roma tomatoes, crisp green beans, tender red potatoes, and creamy hard-boiled eggs, all artfully arranged and topped with briny Niçoise olives and savory canned tuna. Drizzled with a zesty Dijon vinaigrette, it's a taste of the Mediterranean that combines vibrant flavors and textures in every bite.

Step 4: On serving plates, create a bed with the mixed greens. Over the greens, place the potatoes, green beans, egg halves, tomatoes, tuna, radishes, and olives. 

Nicoise Salad 5 - This Classic French Tuna Nicoise Salad with Dijon Dressing is a delightful medley of fresh Roma tomatoes, crisp green beans, tender red potatoes, and creamy hard-boiled eggs, all artfully arranged and topped with briny Niçoise olives and savory canned tuna. Drizzled with a zesty Dijon vinaigrette, it's a taste of the Mediterranean that combines vibrant flavors and textures in every bite.

Step 5: Drizzle the salads with the remaining dressing and serve.

Make this French Nicoise Salad, then check out my Montreal Steak Salad with Pears, Cranberries and Honey Mustard Dressing, Roasted Asparagus Caesar Salad, and Classic Waldorf Salad and more of my classic salad recipes.  

Nicoise Salad 11 - This Classic French Tuna Nicoise Salad with Dijon Dressing is a delightful medley of fresh Roma tomatoes, crisp green beans, tender red potatoes, and creamy hard-boiled eggs, all artfully arranged and topped with briny Niçoise olives and savory canned tuna. Drizzled with a zesty Dijon vinaigrette, it's a taste of the Mediterranean that combines vibrant flavors and textures in every bite.

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TIPS AND FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Read on for tips and substitution ideas on how to make this recipe, such as how to customize this salad, and how to store this salad.

How to present this salad:

Nicoise Salad is typically presented on a large platter or on individual plates. The ingredients are artfully arranged, making the salad not only delicious but visually appealing as well.

Nicoise Salad 16 - This Classic French Tuna Nicoise Salad with Dijon Dressing is a delightful medley of fresh Roma tomatoes, crisp green beans, tender red potatoes, and creamy hard-boiled eggs, all artfully arranged and topped with briny Niçoise olives and savory canned tuna. Drizzled with a zesty Dijon vinaigrette, it's a taste of the Mediterranean that combines vibrant flavors and textures in every bite.

What are some creative variations of Nicoise Salad?

There are numerous creative variations of Nicoise Salad that allow you to put your own twist on this classic dish. Here are some ideas to inspire your culinary creativity:

  1. Grilled Vegetable Nicoise: Add a smoky dimension by grilling vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, or asparagus before incorporating them into the salad. The charred flavor pairs wonderfully with the traditional ingredients.
  2. Seared Ahi Tuna Nicoise: Replace canned tuna with seared Ahi tuna for a luxurious twist. The rare, sesame-crusted tuna adds an elegant touch and a burst of flavor.
  3. Roasted Beet Nicoise: Incorporate roasted beets for a vibrant burst of color and earthy sweetness. They complement the other ingredients beautifully.
  4. Avocado Nicoise: Sliced avocado brings a creamy and buttery texture to the salad. It’s a perfect addition for those who love avocado.
  5. Quinoa Nicoise: For added protein and a gluten-free option, substitute quinoa for the potatoes. Quinoa adds a nutty flavor and a nutritious boost.
  6. Smoked Salmon Nicoise: Replace tuna with smoked salmon for a different seafood twist. The smokiness of the salmon pairs wonderfully with the salad’s flavors.
  7. Mediterranean-Inspired Nicoise: Incorporate Mediterranean flavors by adding feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and artichoke hearts. These ingredients bring a Mediterranean flair to the classic recipe.
  8. Herb-Infused Dressing: Experiment with the dressing by infusing it with fresh herbs like basil, cilantro, or mint. Herb-infused dressings can provide a refreshing and aromatic element to the salad.
  9. Vegan Nicoise: For a vegan version, omit the eggs and tuna. You can substitute chickpeas or marinated tofu for protein, and use a plant-based vinaigrette.
  10. Couscous Nicoise: Instead of traditional potatoes, use cooked couscous as the base of the salad. It adds a light and fluffy texture while soaking up the dressing’s flavors.
  11. Balsamic Reduction Drizzle: Elevate the dressing by incorporating a balsamic reduction for a sweeter, slightly tangy flavor.
  12. Crispy Bacon Nicoise: Crispy bacon bits or pancetta can add a savory and smoky element to the salad, balancing the briny olives and tuna.
  13. Pickled Red Onions: Add pickled red onions for a tangy and colorful garnish that complements the salad’s flavors.
  14. Fresh Citrus Nicoise: Incorporate segments of fresh oranges or grapefruits for a burst of citrusy sweetness and a refreshing contrast to the savory components.

Feel free to mix and match these creative variations or invent your own, as Nicoise Salad is a versatile canvas for culinary experimentation. The key is to maintain a balance of flavors and textures while adding your unique twist to this classic dish.

Nicoise Salad 7 - This Classic French Tuna Nicoise Salad with Dijon Dressing is a delightful medley of fresh Roma tomatoes, crisp green beans, tender red potatoes, and creamy hard-boiled eggs, all artfully arranged and topped with briny Niçoise olives and savory canned tuna. Drizzled with a zesty Dijon vinaigrette, it's a taste of the Mediterranean that combines vibrant flavors and textures in every bite.

What wine pairs well with Nicoise Salad?

Pairing wine with Nicoise Salad can be a delightful experience, as the salad’s fresh and vibrant flavors offer versatility when it comes to wine selection. Here are some wine options that pair well with Nicoise Salad:

  1. Rosé Wine: A dry rosé wine, particularly one from Provence, France, is an excellent choice. Its crisp acidity and fruitiness complement the salad’s ingredients, making it a classic pairing.
  2. Sauvignon Blanc: This white wine is known for its bright acidity and citrus notes, which can cut through the richness of the salad’s dressing and enhance the flavors of the vegetables and tuna.
  3. Chardonnay: A unoaked or lightly oaked Chardonnay can work well, offering a balance of acidity and a touch of creaminess that complements the salad’s textures.
  4. Pinot Grigio: This light and crisp white wine is a versatile option that won’t overpower the salad’s flavors. It’s refreshing and can enhance the overall dining experience.

Ultimately, the best wine pairing for Nicoise Salad depends on your personal preferences. Whether you prefer white, rosé, or even a light red wine, the key is to choose a wine with good acidity and fresh, crisp characteristics to enhance the salad’s flavors. Enjoy the pairing, and savor the culinary experience!

What’s the best way to store leftover Nicoise Salad?

Storing leftover Nicoise Salad properly is essential to maintain its freshness and flavor. Here are some tips on the best way to store leftover Nicoise Salad:

  1. Refrigerate Promptly: As with any salad containing perishable ingredients, it’s crucial to refrigerate leftover Nicoise Salad promptly. Leaving it at room temperature for extended periods can lead to bacterial growth and spoilage.
  2. Use Airtight Containers: Transfer the leftover salad into airtight containers. Airtight containers help prevent moisture loss and keep the salad from absorbing odors from other foods in the fridge.
  3. Separate Dressing: If possible, store the salad and dressing separately. This prevents the salad from becoming soggy as it sits in the dressing. When you’re ready to eat, simply drizzle the dressing over the salad.
  4. Keep Eggs Separated: If the salad includes hard-boiled eggs, consider storing them separately to maintain their texture. You can peel and store the eggs in a small container or plastic wrap.

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Nicoise Salad 14 - This Classic French Tuna Nicoise Salad with Dijon Dressing is a delightful medley of fresh Roma tomatoes, crisp green beans, tender red potatoes, and creamy hard-boiled eggs, all artfully arranged and topped with briny Niçoise olives and savory canned tuna. Drizzled with a zesty Dijon vinaigrette, it's a taste of the Mediterranean that combines vibrant flavors and textures in every bite.

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8+ Easy spring Salad Recipes

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Other classic salad recipes to try

  • Classic Waldorf Salad – This classic Waldorf Salad is full of fresh, crispy, apples, celery, grapes and walnuts with a creamy mayonnaise dressing served over a bed of lettuce.
  • Classic Wedge Salad – A timeless Classic Wedge Salad with Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing. Crisp iceberg lettuce topped with crispy bacon, ripe tomatoes & creamy dressing.
  • Classic Panzanella Salad – A classic Italian dish of Panzanella Salad (aka Tuscan Bread Salad), a refreshing summer salad made with juicy tomatoes, crusty bread, and a simple vinaigrette.
  • Classic Cobb Salad – The Classic Cobb Salad is one of my all-time favourite salads. It’s the perfect hearty salad recipe for dinner because it’s loaded with so much more than just lettuce – it’s got blue cheese, bacon, avocado, eggs, chicken, and onion. 
French Nicoise Salad with Dijon Dressing Recipe

French Nicoise Salad with Dijon Dressing Recipe

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

A delightful medley of fresh Roma tomatoes, crisp green beans, tender red potatoes, and creamy hard-boiled eggs, all artfully arranged and topped with briny Niçoise olives and savory canned tuna. Drizzled with a zesty Dijon vinaigrette, it's a taste of the Mediterranean that combines vibrant flavors and textures in every bite.

Ingredients

For the salad:

  • 2 pounds red potatoes, scrubbed and halved
  • 12 ounces green beans
  • 6 cups mixed greens
  • 4 boiled eggs, peeled and halved
  • 3 sliced Roma tomatoes
  • 1 (5 ounce) can tuna packed in oil, drained
  • ½ cup sliced radishes
  • ½ cup sliced kalamata or Niçoise olives

For the dressing:

  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large pot of salted water, place the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender, about 10 minutes. Drain well and refrigerate.
  2. Meanwhile, place the green beans into a large skillet with about 1 inch of salted water. Bring to a boil and cook about 5 to 7 minutes until the green beans are crisp tender. Immediately plunge the green beans in ice water to stop the cooking. Drain well and add to the bowl with the cooked potatoes. 
  3. In a small bowl or jar, mix the ingredients for the dressing. Pour about half of the dressing over the potatoes and green beans, tossing to coat. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. On serving plates, create a bed with the mixed greens. Over the greens, place the potatoes, green beans, egg halves, tomatoes, tuna, radishes, and olives. 
  5. Drizzle the salads with the remaining dressing and serve.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 597Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 207mgSodium: 517mgCarbohydrates: 60gFiber: 9gSugar: 10gProtein: 23g

The provided nutrition information is an estimate and it does not take brands into account. I use an automatic API to calculate this information.

Did you make this recipe?

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Share on Pinterest DON’T LOSE THIS DELICIOUS RECIPE, PIN IT FOR LATER!

Nicoise Salad - This Classic French Tuna Nicoise Salad with Dijon Dressing is a delightful medley of fresh Roma tomatoes, crisp green beans, tender red potatoes, and creamy hard-boiled eggs, all artfully arranged and topped with briny Niçoise olives and savory canned tuna. Drizzled with a zesty Dijon vinaigrette, it's a taste of the Mediterranean that combines vibrant flavors and textures in every bite.

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