This classic Nicoise salad is light, fresh, and colorful, and the perfect dish to make easy spring or summer lunches or brunch.
If I had to choose one parlor trick recipe I like to pull out of my pocket for entertaining it’s making a platter salad where everyone can serve themselves.
Just like my Ultimate Italian Platter Salad or my Antipasto Salad Platter, this French-style Nicoise salad is perfect for book club, baby showers, wedding showers, ladies who lunch, or anyone who loves brunch. That’s because it’s light and healthy, simple to put together or be prepped ahead of serving, and makes for a help-yourself meal for everyone to dig into.
How Is Nicoise Salad Pronounced
Nicoise is French for a salad that originated in the coastal city of Nice, located on the French Riviera. Nicoise is pronounced “nee-swaaz.”
The Ingredients In Nicoise Salad
A classic Nicoise salad is comprised of tuna, tomatoes, potatoes, hard-boiled egg, green beans, olives, capers, and onion.
Here’s what I put in my Nicoise salad:
- Olive oil packed tuna — for the best flavor, use a high quality tuna packed in olive oil for a nice, rich flavor
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Red onion — I prefer red over white or yellow in this recipe for color
- Capers — these pickled flower buds lend a briny pop to each bite (and tuna loves capers)
- Kalamata olives — these too add a nice briny bite
- Green beans — blanched for the best color and texture
- Tomatoes — I like using sweet cherry tomatoes
- Baby potatoes — creamy, white potatoes are best in a Nicoise salad
- Lemony Dijon vinaigrette dressing
How to Make the Best Nicoise Salad
Follow these easy tips for making the best Nicoise salad.
- Use a good quality tuna packed in olive oil. Oil packed tuna lends more flavor to your salad. Skip the standard Starkist and choose a higher quality tinned fish that flakes in big chunks. The quality makes a huge difference.
- Salt your potato water for more flavorful potatoes. Salted water adds flavor as the potatoes cook. To avoid pitting your pot, wait to add the salt until the water boils.
- Blanch the green beans in the reserved potato water. A quick dunk for 30 seconds in the hot water takes away green bean’s raw flavor.
- Dress the potatoes with the some of the dijon vinaigrette (I substitute the vinegar with lemon) while they’re warm. Hot potatoes absorb the dressing, adding another layer of flavor.
Nicoise Salad Substitutions or Additions
- Add add baby lettuce such as mixed greens, bibb, or even endive if you’d like.
- Try smoked or grilled salmon instead of tuna
- Use other types of briny olives
- Try Nicoise salad with jammy eggs instead of hard boiled
- Instead of white potatoes, try using red or purple baby potatoes
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
THE BEST Nicoise Salad
For the Lemon Vinaigrette
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the Nicoise Salad
- 2 cups petite white or red potatoes
- 6 ounces fresh green beans , stems trimmed
- 3 ounces white tuna in olive oil , drained
- 5 ounces kalamata olives , about 1 cup, drained
- ½ cup thinly sliced red onion
- 4 ounces capers , about ⅓ heaping cup, drained
- 8 ounces cherry tomatoes , about 1 ½ cups, sliced in half
- 4 hard-boiled eggs , halved or quartered
- First, make the vinaigrette by adding all of the ingredients to a jar fitted with a lid, close tightly, shake well, and set aside.
- Add the potatoes to a medium pot and fill with enough water to cover the potatoes by 1 inch then bring to a boil. Add 1-2 teaspoons of kosher salt, reduce to a rolling simmer, and cook until tender so the potatoes can be pierced with a fork or skewer or for about 15 minutes. Use a spider or strainer to transfer the potatoes from the pot, reserving the hot water. Cut the potatoes in half and place in a bowl then while still warm, drizzle with 2-3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette dressing and set aside to cool.
- Add the green beans to the pot of hot water and simmer for 1 minute or until the green beans turn bright green. Drain the water and set the beans aside to cool.
- On a large platter, arrange the tuna, potatoes, green beans, halved tomatoes, boiled eggs, olives, red onion, capers, and hard-boiled eggs. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and drizzle the salad with the vinaigrette or serve it on the side.
More Stellar Salads for Entertaining
- Roasted Beet and Ricotta Salad
- Caprese Salad Platter
- Crab and Shrimp Seafood Cobb Salad
- Italian Salad Platter
- Greek Cobb Salad
- Antipasto Salad Platter
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