Looking for a great summer salad that’s easy to make, healthy, but also works as a complete balanced meal? I got you!! This Niçoise-inspired salad is a family staple. My mom was not by any means a talented chef, but she rocked this salad. It is a true gem when it comes to easy, flavourful meals. It’s the kind of dish that brings together a variety of ingredients to create a harmonious balance of flavors and textures. What I love about it is that it’s not just your ordinary veggies-only salad—it’s a filling meal that leaves you nourished and satisfied.
Now, you might notice that I refer to this salad as “Niçoise-inspired” rather than simply “Niçoise.” That’s because I’ve put my own spin on the traditional recipe to suit my personal tastes and ingredients that I have on hand. While a classic Niçoise salad traditionally includes ingredients like anchovies, hard-boiled eggs, and capers, I’ve made a few adjustments to cater to my preferences and to work with what I have in my kitchen. So, feel free to do the same an adapt to your taste, substituting or omitting ingredients as desired! The result will still be a scrumptious and satisfying salad that pays homage to the flavors and concept of the classic Niçoise dish.
One of the best things about this modified salad is its versatility. You can choose your own base from any greens you like. I go with mixed greens, but virtually anything will work. Think romaine lettuce, spinach, butter lettuce, etc. Then, it’s all about layering on the goodness. Perfectly cooked baby potatoes, tender green beans, juicy baby tomatoes, thinly sliced red onions, and briny black olives. And let’s not forget the star of the show — the flavourful vinaigrette that brings it all together.
While there is a decent amount of prep work here, since there are a lot of components, you can easily get most of it done ahead of time. Boil the baby potatoes until they’re fork-tender and give them a quick toss in the oven or air fryer for that crispy exterior. Steam the green beans until they’re just tender-crisp. Slice up the red onions and let them soak in a bowl of water to mellow out their bite.
When it’s time to assemble the salad, it’s as simple as combining all the ingredients on a bed of fresh greens and generously drizzling the zesty vinaigrette over the top. Each bite is a delightful medley of flavors, with the creamy tuna, the earthy potatoes, the crunch of green beans, the burst of sweetness from the tomatoes, and the tangy notes of the vinaigrette.
As I continue to ramp up my Ironman training, I am focusing on eating lots of healthy, filling, and balanced meals. This Niçoise-inspired salad covers all the bases: complex carbs from the baby potatoes for sustained energy, lean protein from the tuna for muscle recovery, and a colourful medley of greens and veggies for essential vitamins and minerals. One of the most critical parts though is its convenience. It’s a game-changer to be able to prep the ingredients ahead of time, allowing me to throw it together quickly, especially after an intense training session. Whether you’re an athlete seeking a well-rounded meal option, or someone just looking for your new summer salad, this recipe is a winning choice!
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cans tuna drained
- 1 pound baby potatoes
- 3-4 cups greens of choice I use mixed greens, but Romaine lettuce, spinach, butter lettuce, etc., can all work!
- 1/2 cup baby tomatoes halved
- 1/4 of a large red onion thinly sliced
- 1 cup green beans steamed or boiled
- 1/4 cup black olives
- In a small bowl or jar, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, finely chopped red onion, oregano, Dijon mustard, maple syrup or honey, salt, and black pepper. This will be the vinaigrette for your salad. Set aside.
- Thinly slice the red onion and place the slices in a bowl of water. Let them soak while you prepare the other ingredients. This will help mellow out the onion’s sharp bite.
- Cut the baby potatoes in half. Place the halved baby potatoes in a pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Boil until tender. This process will be faster because the potatoes are halved. Drain and set aside.
- Preheat the oven or air fryer to a medium-high heat setting. Transfer the cooked baby potatoes to the oven or air fryer and cook for a few minutes until the outside becomes crispy. Keep an eye on them to prevent burning.
- In the meantime, steam or boil the green beans until they are crisp-tender. Drain and set aside.
- In a large salad bowl, add the greens of your choice. Add the halved baby tomatoes, sliced red onion, green beans, crispy baby potatoes, and black olives.
- Open and drain the cans of tuna, then flake the tuna into chunks and add it to the salad.
- Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss gently to coat all the ingredients.
- Serve immediately and enjoy your refreshing Niçoise-inspired salad!
- Make-ahead Preparation: You can prepare the vinaigrette in advance and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. This allows the flavors to meld together. Similarly, you can boil the baby potatoes and steam or boil the green beans ahead of time. Just keep them refrigerated until you are ready to assemble the salad.
- Serving Suggestions: Niçoise-inspired salad is traditionally served chilled or at room temperature. It makes a delightful main course for a light lunch or dinner. You can also serve it as a side dish alongside grilled fish or chicken.
- Leftovers: If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The salad will keep well for up to 2-3 days. However, it is best to separate the vinaigrette and keep it separately. Before serving the leftovers, give the salad a gentle toss and add more dressing if needed.
- Customization: Feel free to customize your Niçoise-inspired salad according to your preferences. You can add additional ingredients such as hard-boiled eggs, roasted bell peppers, or even artichoke hearts. This versatile salad allows for creativity and adaptation.