Niçoise Salad Recipe | The Mediterranean Dish (2024)

This Niçoise salad recipe comes with a twist — consider it my take on the French classic. It has the usual ingredients of tuna and hard boiled eggs, but I like to add artichoke hearts, crunchy cucumbers, and peppery radishes.

Niçoise Salad Recipe | The Mediterranean Dish (1)

Like many traditional dishes, people have adapted, reinterpreted, and reimagined the Niçoise salad over the past 100 years or so.

My version takes some liberties: along with radish, cucumber, and artichoke hearts, I use tuna and skip the anchovies for a milder flavor that lets the vegetables do most of the talking. Creamy hard-boiled eggs add an additional healthy protein source packed with vitamins and minerals.

This Salad Niçoise is hearty, pretty, healthy–maybe a little untraditional, but totally delicious. It’s an all in one meal perfect for lunch or dinner. And that’s how we like it around here!

Table of Contents
  1. What is Niçoise salad?
  2. Niçoise Salad Ingredients
  3. How to Make Niçoise Salad
  4. Can I Make this Niçoise Salad Recipe Ahead?
  5. What to Serve With Niçoise Salad
  6. More Mediterranean Salad Recipes
  7. Nocellara Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  8. Niçoise Salad with Tuna and Artichoke Hearts Recipe

What is Niçoise salad?

Niçoise salad, pronounced “nee-SWAHZ,” is a classic French composed salad, meaning it’s traditionally served with the ingredients displayed in groups rather than tossed together. There are many similar dishes throughout the Mediterranean, from traditional Greek salad with its hunks of feta cheese so proudly displayed to Tunisia's version which often adds green apple.

It’s named after the French Riviera city where it was invented, “Niçoise,” meaning “from Nice.” It’s among a handful of iconic French dishes that let summer produce speak for itself with little fuss, like the elegantly simple vegetable stew Ratatouille.

What exactly counts as a “traditional Niçoise salad” comes with some baggage. Some say the platter should be rubbed with raw garlic and dressed with only a drizzle of high quality olive oil and no vinegar. Some believe only raw ingredients are allowed. That’s right, don’t even think about putting a potato or a boiled egg on there!

For me, I used the core ingredients of fresh vegetables and fish, and made it my own. I encourage you to do the same. If artichokes aren’t your thing, then leave them off. If you want to try the salad with boiled potatoes and green beans, then go for it!

Niçoise Salad Recipe | The Mediterranean Dish (2)

Niçoise Salad Ingredients

This Niçoise Salad recipe can be adapted according to your tastes and what you have on hand. Here’s what I love in my Niçoise:

  • Tomatoes: Choose the best quality tomatoes available, no matter the size. I used medium tomatoes, halved and sliced into wedges, but you could certainly substitute halved grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, or even larger tomatoes cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • Salad greens: You could use Romaine, but I prefer a softer, sweeter lettuce like Bibb or Boston.
  • Radishes: Radishes add a peppery texture and crunch.
  • Cucumber: Cucumber adds a cooling quality and snappy texture.
  • Olives: Niçoise olives are the natural choice for this recipe, but you can substitute another black olive that is more available to you. I like to use pitted olives rather than dealing with the pits.
  • Artichoke hearts: Use unseasoned quartered artichoke hearts packed in water.
  • Hard boiled eggs: You could use slightly soft-boiled eggs if you'd prefer, but hard-boiled eggs are less messy and so delicious when you don’t over boil them. See our guide on how to boil eggs to make the creamiest hard boiled eggs every time.
  • Tuna: Use canned tuna that’s packed in oil, as it tends to be higher quality and more flavorful.
  • Green onions: Add a mild bite without overpowering. You can substitute with shallots or chives if you prefer.
  • Seasoning: This salad is seasoned simply with kosher salt and black pepper to enhance the flavor.
  • Basil: Whole basil leaves add a fresh, aromatic quality.
  • Red wine vinegar: The acid in the Dijon salad dressing. I like things to have a little zip to them, but you can always add less vinegar to taste. Apple cider vinegar or lemon juice can also be used as a substitute.
  • Dijon mustard: Dijon mustard helps to emulsify and thicken the vinaigrette while adding a little zing and a wonderful depth of flavor.
  • Olive oil: A smooth, high quality extra virgin olive oil is a must. I usually spring for our buttery Italian Nocellara with this recipe, but you can find our favorites from around the Mediterranean at our shop.
Niçoise Salad Recipe | The Mediterranean Dish (3)

How to Make Niçoise Salad

Aside from boiling the eggs, there is no cooking involved in this easy Niçoise salad recipe! To make Niçoise salad:

  • Hard boil 4 eggs. To hard boil eggs, carefully place the eggs in a single layer in a saucepan. Next, cover the eggs with at least one inch of cold water and add ½ teaspoon of salt. Set on the pan on high heat and bring to a rolling boil while you get an ice bath ready. Once the water is boiling, turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes, then transfer to the ice bath to chill. Once the eggs are cool enough to handle, peel and cut them into quarters.
  • Salt the tomatoes. Set a colander over a large mixing bowl. Slice 3-4 medium tomatoes and add to the colander, then toss with a pinch of salt. Finally, set the tomatoes aside and let them release some of their liquid into the bowl (don’t throw away the juice).Niçoise Salad Recipe | The Mediterranean Dish (4)
  • Prep the veggies. To do this, first thinly slice 6 radishes, then peel a cucumber, and slice it in half lengthwise. Use a spoon and drag it down the center of the cucumber to scrape out its seeds so it stays crisp. Slice the cucumber into half moons. Thinly slice the white and green parts of 4 green onions. Finally, drain a can of artichoke hearts and a can of tuna.
  • Arrange the salad. Spread 4 ounces of lettuce on a platter. Next, top with the radishes, cucumber, artichoke hearts, eggs, ½ cup of olives, and the drained tomatoes. You can do this as a composed salad, keeping things together, or spread the toppings evenly across the platter. Sprinkle on chunks of tuna, green onions, and tear a handful of basil leaves all over. Season with black pepper.
  • Make the dressing. In the same bowl with the juices from your tomatoes, add 2 tablespoons each of red wine vinegar and Dijon mustard. Season with a pinch of salt and whisk to combine. Continue whisking as you pour in ⅓ cup of olive oil until the dressing is emulsified. Taste and adjust salt to your liking.Niçoise Salad Recipe | The Mediterranean Dish (5)
  • Serve. Serve immediately, or wrap the salad in plastic and store in your fridge until you’re ready. Pour a bit of the dressing over the salad and toss very gently, or serve with the dressing on the side and allow everyone to help themselves.

Can I Make this Niçoise Salad Recipe Ahead?

You can certainly prep the components of this salad ahead of time, and store them separately in the refrigerator. Arrange the salad and cover with plastic wrap then set in your refrigerator for up to 6 hours. Just be sure to wait to add the dressing until the final moment.

  • Hard boiled eggs in their shell keep for up to 2 days in the refrigerator.
  • Washed and dried lettuce will keep for up to 5 days.
  • Sliced cucumbers, radishes, and onions will retain their crispness for up to 24 hours.
  • Make the Dijon dressing and store it in the fridge in a tightly closed mason jar for up to 2 nights.
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What to Serve With Niçoise Salad

This salad is a meal in itself, and if you serve it with a side of your favorite crusty bread, homemade focaccia, or even pita wedges. Add a bottle of chilled white wine and you'd be all set.

If you want to add something more for a soup and salad night, try a chilled cucumber soup –what a refreshing meal for a hot day! Or, use up all those tomatoes in your garden with this 10-minute tomato gazpacho recipe.

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Nocellara Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Smooth and buttery with aromas of fresh tomatoes and vegetables, this high quality EVOO is a must-try!

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Niçoise Salad with Tuna and Artichoke Hearts

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Niçoise Salad Recipe | The Mediterranean Dish (12)Suzy Karadsheh

Niçoise Salad Recipe | The Mediterranean Dish (13)

This easy Niçoise Salad with tuna and hard-boiled eggs is bursting with flavor from fragrant basil, juicy tomatoes, crisp radishes, briny olives and a light Dijon dressing. It is a delicious meal any night of the week! This recipe makes 4 to 5 generous lunch portions with a side of your favorite crusty bread, or 6 as an appetizer.

Prep – 15 minutes mins

Total – 15 minutes mins

Cuisine:

French

Serves – 5 people

Course:

Salad

Ingredients

For the Salad

  • 3 to 4 medium tomatoes, sliced into wedges
  • 4 ounces soft salad greens (like Bibb, Butter or Boston lettuce)
  • 6 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced
  • ½ cup pitted black olives, Niçoise olives or other black olives
  • 1 cup quartered canned artichoke hearts, drained
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
  • 1 (5-ounce) can quality tuna packed in oil, drained and flaked
  • 4 green onions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 basil leaves, torn
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt
  • cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  • Salt the tomatoes. Put the tomato wedges in a large colander and place the colander over a bowl. Season the tomatoes with a generous pinch of kosher salt, toss, and set aside for 10 minutes while you prepare your ingredients. Do not discard the tomatoes’ juices, we’ll use it to make the dressing.

  • Arrange the salad. Spread the lettuce on a platter. Top with the sliced radishes, cucumber, olives, artichoke hearts, eggs, and drained tomatoes. You can do this as a composed salad, keeping like things together, or you can spread the toppings evenly across the platter. Sprinkle on chunks of tuna, green onions, and torn basil leaves all over. Season with black pepper.

  • Make the dressing. In the same bowl with the juices from your tomatoes, add the red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and a pinch of salt. Whisk to combine. While you are whisking, pour in the olive oil until the dressing is emulsified. Taste and adjust salt to your liking.

  • Serve. Serve immediately, or wrap the salad in plastic and store in your fridge until you’re ready. Pour a bit of the dressing over the salad and toss very gently, or serve with the dressing on the side and allow everyone to help themselves.

Video

Notes

  • Nicoise variations: Omit the tuna and eggs for a vegan option. Replace the tuna with anchovies for a traditional variation, or cooked salmon for an untraditional twist. You can also add cooked green beans and boiled potatoes, if you prefer.
  • Leftovers: Leftover nicoise salad does not last very long once it’s dressed. Transfer to a tight-lid glass container and save in the fridge for a few hours or no more than 1 night.
  • Visit our shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including olive oils, honey, jams, and spices.

Nutrition

Calories: 341.3kcalCarbohydrates: 8.9gProtein: 15.6gFat: 27.2gSaturated Fat: 4.5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 14.7gCholesterol: 154.3mgSodium: 606.4mgPotassium: 476.8mgFiber: 3.4gSugar: 4.3gVitamin A: 2234.5IUVitamin C: 24mgCalcium: 76.2mgIron: 2.2mg

Tried this recipe?

*This post has recently been updated with new information for readers’ benefit.

I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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Niçoise Salad Recipe | The Mediterranean Dish (2024)
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