Cuisine from Southern France is some of the best in the world and this Niçoise Salad, which originates from Nice, certainly proves that point. The dish uses lightly seared tuna instead of canned tuna, which gives that added smoky flavour, and this combined with green beans, eggs, Niçoise olives, and fingerling potatoes makes it great for spring and summer dinner parties.
This dish would work so well for an Easter lunch and I’ve got a collection of Easter Recipes that you might like to try out – right-click and open them in a new tab to read next.
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The full ingredients list and instructions are found in the printable recipe card at the end of this post. I highly recommend reading the blog post all the way through so that you don’t miss any tips or substitution suggestions; to ensure that you have all the ingredients and equipment required, and to understand the steps and timings involved.
As the name implies, the Niçoise Salad originated along the Mediterranean in Nice, France. At first glance, this composed salad appears a bit fussy and time-consuming to prepare. In reality, it can be pulled together very quickly with just a little planning.
It is traditionally made of tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, Niçoise olives, and anchovies or tuna, dressed with olive oil. It has been popular worldwide since the early 20th century and has been prepared and discussed by many chefs. Delia Smith called it “one of the best combinations of salad ingredients ever invented” and Gordon Ramsay said that “it must be the finest summer salad of all” – Wikipedia
The ingredients, as shown, are fairly traditional, but don’t miss this opportunity to use up recent leftovers you may have, such as raw red peppers, shallots, artichoke hearts, and other seasonal raw vegetables.
Our version of Niçoise salad swaps out the canned tuna for a lightly seared sushi-grade Ahi tuna, and if you can’t find Niçoise olives you can substitute them for other black olives, such as Greek Kalamata olives.
Serving a composed salad (like in our photos) means you can pick and choose which elements go into your dish, but Niçoise salad can also be served as tossed salad. I think the former looks gorgeous and perfect when entertaining guests.
Ingredients & Equipment Used In This Recipe
While most ingredients can be bought in grocery stores, for your convenience, any specialized or notable ingredients (and equipment) needed for this recipe have been listed below and linked to Amazon or other stores if available online.
It does not include staple ingredients such as oil, salt, and pepper, as you’re likely to have those in your kitchen already. The complete list of ingredients with measurements is found in the recipe card.
- Protein – Sushi-grade Ahi Tuna,
- Fresh Produce – Lemons, Garlic, Green Beans, Fingerling Potatoes, Mixed Salad Greens, Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
- Large Eggs
- Anchovy Paste
- Dijon Mustard
- Herbs de Provence – this is a herb blend and depending on the brand you buy, may contain thyme, savory, oregano, rosemary, marjoram, parsley, tarragon, and lavender. These herbs are most commonly used in French cuisine, though the flavors also pair well with Mediterranean cuisine. If you don’t want to use this blend or can’t source it, you can use the same measurement of a single herb if you prefer – rosemary, oregano, and thyme all go well with chicken, or use a mixture of herbs of your preference.
- Niçoise Olives – if you can’t find Niçoise olives in your area, feel free to use another black olive variety.
Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog use both cup measurements and/or weighted measurements. American cups and kitchen food scales are handy pieces of equipment to have in your kitchen as it means you’ll be able to make all of the different recipes on my blog. I try to give American, imperial, and metric measurements in my recipes. You can mix cup measurements with weighted measurements, but never mix imperial (pounds, ounces, pints, etc.,) with metric (kilograms, grams, litres, etc.,).
More Recipes Using Tuna
One of the hero ingredients in this dish is tuna, so here are some more recipes using the same:
- Grilled Tuna Steaks with Preserved Lemon Gremolata
- Pan-Seared Tuna Steaks with Lemon-Caper Sauce
- Tuna + Bean Salad
More Salad Recipes
Looking for more salads to make? Check these recipes out next:
- Roasted Golden Beet Salad with Goat Cheese
- Quick & Easy Beef Taco Salad for Taco Tuesday!
- Lemon and Dill Salmon with Herb Salad (20-Minute Recipe!)
- Prep-Ahead Tip: Prepare a dozen easy-to-peel hard-boiled eggs before the week begins by placing them in an Instant Pot® with 1 cup of water for 5 minutes on “high” (Manual setting). Allow the pressure to release naturally for 5 minutes before doing a quick release for any remaining pressure. Carefully drain the pot and transfer the eggs to an ice bath for 5 additional minutes. Remove from the ice bath and store in the refrigerator for several days until ready to use. Alternatively, boil the old-fashioned way in a saucepan ahead of time.
- Timing Tip: Plan on approximately 15 minutes to heat the water and boil the potatoes. During that time, the green beans can be roasted to crisp-tender in about 10-12 minutes in a pre-heated oven as described in the recipe.
How Do I Make Niçoise Salad?
Check out the printable recipe card below with full ingredients and instructions. Any demonstration photos do not print out to save your ink.
For the Dressing Ingredients:
- ¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 T. fresh lemon juice
- 1 t. anchovy paste
- 1 t. Dijon mustard
- 1 t. herbes de Provence
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
For the Salad
- 1½ T. extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 8 oz. green beans, trimmed
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- 8 oz. fingerling potatoes
- Water, to cover
- 1 lbs. sushi-grade Ahi tuna
- 1 large lemon, cut in half
- 1 c. mixed salad greens
- ½ c. cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 3 large eggs, hard boiled and sliced
- ¼ c. niçoise olives
1.Place top oven rack in center position and pre-heat oven to 425°F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat™ baking sheet and set aside.
2.Combine the dressing ingredients in a large glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Seal tightly and shake vigorously until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
3.Place the green beans on the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with one-half tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste, and toss to combine before spreading into a single layer on the baking sheet without overcrowding. Set aside.
4.Place the potatoes in a large saucepan or pot and fill with water until they are covered by approximately 2 inches. Generously salt the water and bring to a boil over high heat for 8-10 minutes, or just until the potatoes are fork tender, but not mushy. Do not overcook. Drain the potatoes and set aside to cool.
5.When the oven is ready, place the baking sheet with the green beans inside for 5 minutes. Flip the beans and return to the oven for another 5-6 minutes, or just until crisp tender. Do not overcook. Remove from oven and set aside.
6.Spray a large grill pan with non-stick cooking spray (or brush with a neutral oil with a high smoke point) and set over medium-high heat. Brush the tuna steak on all sides with the remaining olive oil and lightly season with salt and black pepper, to taste.
7.Place the tuna steak and lemon halves on the hot grill pan. (If desired, press down on the tuna and lemon halves with a spatula to maximize the grill lines). Sear the tuna for approximately 2-3 minutes on one side before removing the lemon halves and flipping the tuna.
8.Repeat on the remaining side for another 2-3 minutes, then quickly sear each edge for another 1 minute per side. Remove from heat and set aside.
9.Combine the lettuce and tomatoes in a medium bowl and drizzle a small amount of the dressing on top. Toss to combine and set aside.
10.Slice the potatoes into bite-sized pieces and drizzle a small amount of the dressing on top. Toss to combine. Lightly dress the green beans with some dressing, as well, and toss to combine. Set aside.
11.To assemble the salad, slice the seared tuna and arrange on a large serving platter. Fill in around it with the lightly dressed lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, and green beans. Add the sliced hard-boiled eggs, olives, and grilled lemons to complete the composition. Season lightly with additional salt and black pepper, if desired. Serve immediately with the remaining dressing on the side. Enjoy!
Make It A Full Meal
You’ve made the main dish, but what about the rest of the courses?
Here are additional recipes to make a full meal for a dinner party or special occasion:
- Appetizer: Classic Caprese Skewers with Balsamic Glaze
- Soup: Instant Pot Creamy Asparagus Soup Recipe
- Beverage: Blackberry Vodka Cocktail
- Dessert: Chocolate-Covered Strawberries
There are 500+ Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog for you to enjoy – please feel free to check them out too.