Tuna Nicoise Salad Recipe with Easy Vinaigrette

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Tuna Nicoise Salad Recipe with Easy Vinaigrette– combines fresh ingredients, a well-balanced flavor profile, a tangy dressing, and various textures. These elements come together to create the perfect salad. With each bite, you get a blend of tastes and textures that will leave you craving more of this irresistible dish!

Enjoy it as a light dinner or a side salad. You will also love this post with more summer recipe ideas. A similar recipe is my Italian Rice Salad.

Tuna Nicoise Salad Recipe with Easy Vinaigrette- making the vinaigrette. Adding all ingredients to a large serving platter.
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Easy Tuna Nicoise Salad Recipe

Picture yourself sitting down to a delicious Tuna Nicoise Salad, the epitome of freshness and flavor. The combination of tender baby red potatoes, crisp green beans, juicy cherry tomatoes, briny Kalamata olives, thinly sliced red onions, and flaky tuna is a symphony of textures and tastes.

As you take your first bite, the flavors dance on your palate. The creamy potatoes provide a comforting and satisfying base, while the green beans add a delightful crunch. The sweetness from the cherry tomatoes complements the tangy vinaigrette, adding freshness to every mouthful. You will love this classic French salad.

More salad recipes to try: Apple and Arugula Salad, Mexican Fruit Salad Recipe, Macedonia di Frutta, and Pear and Gorgonzola Salad.

Tuna Nicoise Salad Recipe with Easy Vinaigrette- making the vinaigrette. Adding all ingredients to a large serving platter.

Simple Ingredients

The Tuna Nicoise Salad with Easy Vinaigrette combines a delightful combination of fresh and flavorful ingredients that create a harmonious and satisfying dish. It’s so easy to make and versatile.

ingredient shot for recipe.
  • Baby Red Potatoes: These tender and creamy potatoes add comfort to the salad. They provide a hearty base and absorb the flavors of the vinaigrette.
  • Green Beans (haricots verts): Crisp and vibrant, the green beans bring a delightful crunch to the salad. They offer a fresh and slightly sweet taste, perfectly complementing the other ingredients.
  • Eggs: Hard-boiled eggs are a traditional component of the Tuna Nicoise Salad. They add a creamy texture and a boost of protein. When quartered and scattered over the salad, they provide bursts of color and richness.
  • Tuna: The star ingredient, tuna, is the heart of the salad. Canned or jarred tuna packed in olive oil provides a rich and luscious flavor. The flaky texture of the tuna adds depth to the salad and contributes to its satisfying nature.
  • Cherry Tomatoes: These petite and juicy tomatoes bring a burst of sweetness and acidity to the salad. Their vibrant red adds visual appeal, while their refreshing taste complements the other ingredients.
  • Kalamata Olives: These briny olives and tangy olives add a punch of flavor to the salad. They provide a delightful saltiness and a hint of bitterness that balances the other ingredients.
  • Red Onion: Thinly sliced red onion adds a touch of sharpness and a beautiful pop of color. It adds a subtle bite and a crisp texture that complements the creaminess of the potatoes and tuna.
  • Mixed Salad Greens: A bed of mixed salad greens serves as the base for the salad. The greens contribute freshness, lightness, and a variety of textures to the overall dish.
  • Easy Vinaigrette: The vinaigrette dressing brings all the ingredients together and elevates the flavors of the salad. Made with extra-virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, minced garlic, kosher salt, and black pepper, the vinaigrette adds tanginess and herbal notes, tying the salad’s elements into a cohesive and delicious whole.

See the recipe card for quantities.

Tuna Nicoise Salad Recipe with Easy Vinaigrette- making the vinaigrette. Adding all ingredients to a large serving platter.

What is Nicoise Salad?

Tuna Nicoise Salad, or Salade Niçoise, is a classic and refreshing dish that originates from the French city of Nice. It features a combination of vibrant ingredients that come together to create a satisfying and well-balanced meal.

Not only is this Tuna Nicoise Salad a delight for your taste buds, but it also offers a nutritious and wholesome meal. Packed with protein, fiber, vitamins, and healthy fats, it nourishes your body while satisfying your cravings.

Whether you’re enjoying a leisurely lunch, hosting a gathering, or simply seeking a light and satisfying meal, the Tuna Nicoise Salad with Easy Vinaigrette is a culinary delight that will leave you longing for its flavors.

Give in to your cravings and indulge in this classic Nicoise salad savoring each bite as it transports you to the sunny shores of the French Riviera.

How to Make Tuna Nicoise Salad Recipe with Easy Vinaigrette

How to make- Tuna Nicoise Salad Recipe with Easy Vinaigrette- boil the eggs.

Place the eggs in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 6-10 minutes- depending on how you like the yolk done.

Tuna Nicoise Salad Recipe with Easy Vinaigrette- taking egg out of water bath.

Drain the eggs and transfer them to a bowl of ice water. Let them cool for a few minutes, then peel and cut them into quarters.

Tuna Nicoise Salad Recipe with Easy Vinaigrette- boil the potatoes.

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until fork tender, about 10-15 minutes. Remove the potatoes with a slotted spoon leaving the water in the pot. Cut the potatoes in halves or quarters, and set aside.

Tuna Nicoise Salad Recipe with Easy Vinaigrette- boiling the green beans.

In the same saucepan, bring water to a boil again. Add the green beans and cook for 3-4 minutes or until crisp-tender.

Tuna Nicoise Salad Recipe with Easy Vinaigrette- taking green beans out of water bath.

Drain and transfer the green beans to a bowl of ice water to cool (ice bath).

Once cooled, drain and set aside.

Tuna Nicoise Salad Recipe with Easy Vinaigrette- making the vinaigrette.

Whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, minced garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl until well combined.

Tuna Nicoise Salad Recipe with Easy Vinaigrette- making the vinaigrette.

Set aside. You can also combine all the dressing ingredients in a small jar with a lid and shake. 

Tuna Nicoise Salad Recipe with Easy Vinaigrette- making the vinaigrette. Adding all ingredients to a large serving platter.

In a large platter or salad bowl, arrange the salad greens. Arrange the cooked potatoes, green beans, cherry tomatoes, Kalamata olives, capers, sliced red onion, tuna, and hard-boiled eggs over the top of the greens. 

Tuna Nicoise Salad Recipe with Easy Vinaigrette- making the vinaigrette. Adding all ingredients to a large serving platter. Pouring the f=dressing over the salad.

Drizzle the vinaigrette dressing over the composed salad and let it sit for a few minutes. When ready to serve, gently toss to combine to avoid breaking up the eggs—season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
Divide the salad onto individual plates and serve.

Salad served in two serving bowls with forks and bread on the side.

Variations to Salad Nicoise

Here are some possible variations you can consider for your Tuna Niçoise Salad:

  1. Grilled Tuna: You can marinate and grill fresh tuna steaks instead of canned or jarred tuna. This adds a smoky flavor and a different texture to the salad.
  2. Salmon Niçoise: Replace the tuna with grilled or poached salmon for a twist on the classic recipe. Salmon provides a rich buttery flavor that pairs well with the other ingredients.
  3. Vegetarian Niçoise: Omit the tuna and create a vegetarian version of the salad. Add extra vegetables like roasted bell peppers, marinated artichoke hearts, or grilled tofu for protein.
  4. Roasted Vegetables: Enhance the salad by adding roasted vegetables such as bell peppers, zucchini, or eggplant. Toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then roast until tender and slightly caramelized.
  5. Herb Variations: Experiment with different herbs to add a fresh twist to the salad. Instead of using traditional parsley, try using basil, cilantro, or tarragon to complement the flavors.
  6. Quinoa or Couscous: Include cooked quinoa or couscous to make the salad more substantial and filling. These grains add a nutty texture and boost the dish’s nutritional value.
  7. Avocado: Slice ripe avocados and add them to the salad for a creamy and rich element. Avocado adds a delicious buttery texture and complements the other ingredients well.
  8. Anchovies: If you enjoy the briny flavor of anchovies, you can include them as an additional ingredient or use them in the dressing. They provide an extra layer of umami and enhance the overall taste of the salad.

Feel free to mix and match these variations based on your preferences and dietary needs. The beauty of Salad Niçoise is its versatility, so don’t hesitate to get creative and customize it to your liking.

Salad served in two serving bowls with forks and bread on the side.

Best Tuna for Salad Niçoise

The best tuna for a traditional Salad Niçoise is typically canned or jarred tuna packed in olive oil. This type of tuna has a rich and flavorful taste that complements the other ingredients in the salad. Look for high-quality tuna that is sustainably sourced and has a firm texture.

You can choose between solid white albacore tuna or yellowfin tuna. Albacore tuna is known for its mild flavor and meaty texture, while yellowfin tuna has a slightly stronger flavor and a more delicate texture. Both options work well in Salad Niçoise, so it ultimately comes down to personal preference.

When purchasing canned or jarred tuna, read the labels and select a brand with high-quality ingredients and minimal additives. The olive oil-packed tuna should be drained before adding it to the salad, but you can reserve a small amount of the oil to use in the vinaigrette for extra flavor.

If you prefer a fresh tuna steak, you can sear it and use it as a topping for the Salad Niçoise. Choose sushi-grade tuna and cook it to your desired level of doneness. Searing it to medium-rare or medium will provide a juicy and tender texture.

How to Store Tuna Nicoise Salad Recipe with Easy Vinaigrette

To store the Tuna Nicoise Salad properly, follow these guidelines:

Refrigerate: Place any leftover salad in an airtight container or cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap or a lid. This will help prevent the salad from drying out or absorbing unwanted odors from the fridge. Aim to consume it within 2-3 days for optimal taste and texture.

Separation of Dressing: If possible, store the vinaigrette dressing separately from the salad ingredients. Keeping them separate will help maintain the freshness and texture of the salad. You can add the dressing just before serving or as needed.

Top tips

Here are some top tips for making and enjoying Tuna Nicoise Salad with Easy Vinaigrette:

  • Freshness is Key: Use fresh and high-quality ingredients for the best flavor. Opt for vibrant vegetables, ripe cherry tomatoes, and firm tuna packed in olive oil.
  • Cook Potatoes and Green Beans Correctly: Cook the baby red potatoes until they are tender but still hold their shape. Similarly, blanch the green beans until they are crisp-tender to retain their vibrant color and crunchiness.
  • Flake the Tuna Carefully: Flake the tuna into the salad gently to maintain its texture and prevent it from breaking apart too much.
  • Dress Just Before Serving: To keep the salad fresh and prevent it from becoming soggy, dress it with the vinaigrette or serve it on the side. This ensures that the salad retains its crispness.
  • Customize with Additional Ingredients: Feel free to customize the salad. Add extras like avocado slices, roasted bell peppers, or marinated artichoke hearts to enhance the flavors and textures.
  • Serve at the Right Temperature: The Tuna Nicoise Salad is traditionally served chilled or at room temperature. Ensure the salad is properly chilled before serving or allow it to sit at room temperature briefly to take off the chill if desired.
  • Enjoy the Salad as a Main or Side: The Tuna Nicoise Salad can be a satisfying main course or a flavorful side dish alongside grilled meats, poultry, or seafood.
  • Pair with Crusty Bread: Serve the salad with crusty bread or baguette slices to soak up the delicious vinaigrette and enhance the meal.
  • Experiment and Have Fun: Don’t be afraid to experiment with variations and add your own twist to the recipe. Tuna Nicoise Salad is versatile, so feel free to incorporate your favorite ingredients and flavors.

With these top tips, you’ll be well-equipped to prepare and enjoy a delicious Tuna Nicoise Salad with Easy Vinaigrette.

Salad served in two serving bowls with forks and bread on the side.

How to Make Ahead of Time

If you want to make the Tuna Nicoise Salad ahead of time, here’s how you can do it:

Prep and Cook Ingredients: Begin by cooking the baby red potatoes until tender, blanching the green beans until crisp-tender, and boiling the eggs to your desired level of doneness. Let them cool completely.

Assemble Ingredients: Once the cooked ingredients have cooled, you can assemble the salad. Place the mixed salad greens in a large salad bowl, and arrange the cooked potatoes, green beans, cherry tomatoes, Kalamata olives, thinly sliced red onions, and flaked tuna over the greens.

Prepare Dressing: Make the vinaigrette dressing separately by whisking together extra-virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, minced garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Store the dressing in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Storage: To store the salad, cover the salad bowl tightly with plastic wrap or transfer the salad to an airtight container. Keep the vinaigrette dressing in a separate container. Refrigerate both the salad and the dressing.

Serving: When you’re ready to serve the salad, remove it from the refrigerator. Give the vinaigrette dressing a good shake or stir, and then drizzle it over the salad. Toss gently to coat the ingredients with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

FAQ’s

Can I omit the eggs from the salad?

Yes, if you prefer to have an egg-free salad, you can omit the eggs. The other ingredients will still provide a delicious and satisfying salad.

Can I make the vinaigrette dressing in advance?

Yes, you can make the vinaigrette dressing ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator. Just give it a good shake or stir before using it to dress the salad.

Can I use fresh tuna instead of canned tuna for the Tuna Nicoise Salad?

Yes, you can use fresh tuna for the salad. Cook the tuna to your desired level of doneness, flake it, and incorporate it into the salad. Grilled or seared tuna works particularly well.

How long does the Tuna Nicoise Salad keep in the refrigerator?

The assembled salad, when stored properly in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap, can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. However, it’s best to dress the salad just before serving to maintain its freshness and texture.

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salad in a large serving platter with serving ware and vinaigrette on the side. Cover image.

Tuna Nicoise Salad Recipe with Easy Vinaigrette

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5 from 2 reviews

Tuna Nicoise Salad Recipe with Easy Vinaigrette– combines fresh ingredients, a well-balanced flavor profile, a tangy dressing, and various textures. These elements come together to create the perfect salad. With each bite, you get a blend of tastes and textures that will leave you craving more of this irresistible dish!

  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale

For the salad:

  • 1 pound baby red potatoes, halved
  • 1 cup French green beans, trimmed (other green bean varieties will also work)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cans (5 ounces each) tuna, packed in olive oil
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup Kalamata olives, pitted (or black olives)
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 4 cups mixed salad greens
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until fork tender, about 10-15 minutes. Remove the potatoes with a slotted spoon leaving the water in the pot. Cut the potatoes in halves or quarters, and set aside.
  2. In the same saucepan, bring water to a boil again. Add the green beans and cook for 3-4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and transfer the green beans to a bowl of ice water to cool (ice bath). Once cooled, drain and set aside.
  3. Place the eggs in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 6-10 minutes- depending on how you like the yolk done. Drain the eggs and transfer them to a bowl of ice water. Let them cool for a few minutes, then peel and cut them into quarters.
  4. Whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, minced garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl until well combined. Set aside. You can also combine all the dressing ingredients in a small jar with a lid and shake. 
  5. In a large platter or salad bowl, arrange the salad greens. Arrange the cooked potatoes, green beans, cherry tomatoes, Kalamata olives, capers, sliced red onion, tuna, and hard-boiled eggs over the top of the greens. 
  6. Drizzle the vinaigrette dressing over the composed salad and let it sit for a few minutes. When ready to serve, gently toss to combine to avoid breaking up the eggs—season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Divide the salad onto individual plates and serve.
  • Author: Elena
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: French
  • Cuisine: French

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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3 Comments

  1. Everyone loves this salad every time I make it! It is versatile, and you can change the flavors a bit depending on the season and your mood!