Tuna Nicoise Salad

5 from 11 votes

This fresh and vibrant salad is packed full of nutritious veggies and healthy proteins, making it the perfect lighter meal or hearty side.

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Tuna Nicoise Salad is the ultimate fresh, feel-good meal! This colorful salad has a variety of crunchy veggies plus wholesome protein for a lunch or dinner that’s as filling as it is beautiful. With potatoes, green beans, radishes, hearty tuna, and more on a bed of crisp lettuce, all dressed with a tangy shallot vinaigrette, this healthy tuna Nicoise salad is so good!

Tuna Nicoise Salad on a large oval platter with dressing nearby and a serving spoon on the plate.

Table of Contents

  1. Recipe At a Glance
  2. Ingredients to Make Tuna Nicoise Salad
  3. Popular Substitutions & Additions
  4. How to Make Tuna Nicoise Salad
  5. Assembling the Salad
  6. Tips for Making the Best Classic Tuna Nicoise Salad Recipe
  7. How to Store & Reheat Tuna Nicoise Salad
  8. Frequently Asked Questions
  9. More Salad Recipes:
  10. Tuna Nicoise Salad Recipe

The classic tuna Nicoise salad recipe originated on the French Riviera in Nice. This vibrant salad is arranged on a large platter to showcase the veggies and seafood of this sunny Mediterranean region. Over the years, tuna Nicoise salad ingredients have evolved, and many cooks use the vegetables they have on hand or prefer for their own version of the classic salad.

I love a combination of traditional and modern ingredients for my easy tuna Nicoise salad, but one of the best things about this salad is its versatility–feel free to use your favorite ingredients to make it your own!

Recipe At a Glance

Cuisine Inspiration: French
Primary Cooking Method: Stovetop
Dietary Info: Gluten-free
Key Flavor: Fresh, tangy, and savory
Skill Level: Beginner

Summary

  • Light yet hearty meal: This satiating salad has it all! It’s jam-packed with vegetables and protein that will keep you full but not feeling heavy. 
  • Easy to customize: Swap in your favorite veggies and leave off anything that’s not your fave. This is a super flexible recipe for easy tuna Nicoise salad, so make it your own!
  • Advance prep: When you cook the beans, potatoes, and eggs beforehand, plus chop the veggies and whip up the vinaigrette, this salad can be made ahead of time, with the ingredients stored separately in the fridge, then easily composed when the time comes to eat.
  • Healthy and nutritious: With fiber and an array of nutrients from the veggies, plus protein and omega-3s from the tuna, this healthy tuna Nicoise salad delivers.

Ingredients to Make Tuna Nicoise Salad

Ingredients for recipe before prepping and in individual bowls: tomato, artichoke hearts, eggs, fresh green beans, tuna, dijon mustard, olives, potatoes, onion, red wine vinegar, lemon, spices, spring mix lettuce, radishes, and oil.

For the Red Wine Vinegar Dressing

  • Shallot: With an oniony flavor that’s more delicate than most onions, shallots are infused in vinegar to impart flavor, then they’re removed and added to the salad for a quick-pickled taste.
  • Red wine vinegar: The acid in this dressing, red wine vinaigrette, imparts gorgeous color and flavor. You can also swap in fresh lemon juice, white wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar if you prefer.
  • Dijon mustard: Adds a tangy zip and helps to emulsify the dressing.
  • Salt & pepper: Enhances the flavors in the dressing.
  • Herbs de Provence: This classic French blend of herbs includes rosemary, thyme, oregano, marjoram, and other herbs. It also sometimes includes culinary lavender. You can swap in oregano or even Italian seasoning if you don’t have Herbs de Provence on hand.
  • Olive oil: Use a good extra-virgin olive oil for the best flavor.

For the Salad:

  • Baby potatoes: Cooked baby potatoes add a starchy, hearty component to Tuna Nicoise salad.
  • Lemon: Used to brighten the flavor of the potatoes.
  • Green beans: Steamed just until bright green and tender, green beans are a classic tuna Nicoise salad recipe ingredient.
  • Eggs: I like my eggs boiled until the yolks are still soft and jammy, but if you prefer a more solid yolk, just cook them for a bit longer.
  • Mixed greens: Using a container of mixed greens is an easy shortcut to make tuna Nicoise salad prep go faster. Feel free to swap in your favorite crispy leafy lettuce or green.
  • Tomato: Diced tomatoes add a juicy, sweet element to the salad.
  • Radishes: Crisp and a little spicy, radishes add a welcome crunch to the salad.
  • Kalamata olives: Pitted whole Kalamata olives add a salty, briny contrast. You can also use traditional Nicoise olives, green olives, or another favorite olive.
  • Albacore tuna: I like to use canned white albacore tuna for its firm texture and light flavor.
  • Marinated artichoke hearts: For another tangy, hearty component. I like marinated artichokes in the jar for the most flavor, but canned artichoke hearts can be swapped in.
  • Switch up the protein: Try canned salmon or grilled chicken in place of the tuna for another protein option.
  • Make it vegetarian or vegan: For a meatless salad, leave out the tuna altogether and sub in chickpeas or white beans in their place, or try my Vegetarian Nicoise Salad without Tuna. To make it vegan, omit the eggs.
  • Add your favorite veggies: The options are endless! Swap in or add your favorite veggies like sugar snap peas, shredded carrots, roasted beets, pickled red onions, cucumber, or red bell pepper.
  • Add or swap out the greens: Any crisp leafy green is wonderful in Tuna Nicoise Salad! Try chopped romaine, mixing in a handful of arugula, or any other hearty leafy green. 
  • Make it low-carb: Leave out the potatoes for a salad that is lower in carbs.

How to Make Tuna Nicoise Salad

Tuna Nicoise salad does take some prep work, but each individual component is very straightforward and it all comes together quickly once you get going. First, prepare the vinaigrette, then cook the eggs, beans, and potatoes. From there, it’s just a matter of chopping your veggies, grabbing a large platter, and composing your salad.

Prepare Red Wine Vinegar Dressing

  1. Place sliced shallots in a bowl of red wine vinegar and let them marinate.
  2. Remove the shallots from the vinegar and set them aside.
  3. Mix in the Dijon, herbs de Provence, salt, and pepper.
  4. Stream in the olive oil, whisking as you go, to fully mix and emulsify the dressing.
4 image collage making dressing for recipe: 1- sliced shallots and red wine vinegar in a bowl, 2- straining shallots from liquid, 3- reserved vinegar with dijon mustard and spices added, 4- after combining.

Cook Potatoes and Green Beans

  1. Add potatoes to a medium saucepan and cover with water. Season with a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Cook until fork tender.
  2. Drain potatoes and place them in a bowl. Squeeze lemon juice over the top and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Bring a pot to a boil and add the trimmed green beans. Cook until just until bright green and tender.
  4. Transfer green beans to an ice bath to stop the cooking process.

Assembling the Salad

  1. Scatter greens on a large platter. Arrange potatoes, green beans, shallots, eggs, tomatoes, radishes, olives, tuna, and artichoke hearts on top.
  2. Drizzle dressing over the top of the salad.
Tuna Nicoise Salad on a large platter with chopped tomatoes, green beans, hard boiled eggs, sliced radishes and shallot, quartered potatoes, artichoke hearts and lettuce with a side of dressing.

Tips for Making the Best Classic Tuna Nicoise Salad Recipe

  1. Use fresh, high-quality ingredients: Use higher quality ingredients like good olive oil, fresh eggs with deep orange yolks, and produce at the peak of freshness for the best tuna Nicoise salad recipe.
  2. Compose and dress the salad right before serving: For best results, serve the salad immediately after you’ve put it together and dressed it. Otherwise, the veggies will begin to wilt and the salad will lose some of its crisp, fresh taste.
  3. Use my tips for boiling eggs: From tips for easy peeling (add a splash of vinegar to the cooking water!) to boiling to your perfect level (soft, medium, or hard), this tutorial has everything you need to know!
  4. Utilize mise en place: The French term “mise en place” means having everything in its place; all of your tuna Nicoise salad ingredients peeled, chopped, and ready to go, before cooking and then assembling. Because of all of the components in this dish, this practice is very helpful for making the best tuna Nicoise salad recipe.

How to Store & Reheat Tuna Nicoise Salad

Tuna Nicoise salad doesn’t keep for long once put together, so I recommend eating it right after it’s assembled. You can store each component separately in an airtight container in the refrigerator, then compose the salad when you’re ready to eat.

How Long Will Tuna Nicoise Salad Last in the Fridge?

The individual components for Tuna Nicoise salad will last up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

Can I Freeze Easy Tuna Nicoise Salad?

As is typical for green salads, tuna Nicoise salad is not something that will freeze well due to the fresh veggies and other components.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use fresh tuna instead of canned in my tuna Nicoise salad?

Yes! Cook your fresh tuna using your favorite method, then chop into bite-size pieces or flake with a fork and add to your salad in place of the canned salmon.

Is canned tuna healthy?

Canned tuna is full of nutrients. It’s rich in protein with many vitamins and minerals as well as omega-3 fatty acids.

How do I pronounce the word “Nicoise?”

Nicoise is pronounced “nee-swaz.” Nicoise means the style of Nice, which is a city in France. In French, this salad is called “salade Nicoise.”

Serving of tuna nicoise salad on a small plate with serving platter nearby.

Vibrant, fresh, and filling, with an easy list of ingredients and make-ahead components, this is simply the best tuna Nicoise salad recipe for lunches, dinners, and parties! Whether you go by the book or create your own spin on Tuna Nicoise Salad by switching up the protein and veggies, you’ll love this hearty salad recipe!

More Salad Recipes:

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Tuna Nicoise Salad

This fresh and vibrant salad is packed full of nutritious veggies and healthy proteins, making it the perfect lighter meal or hearty side.
5 from 11 votes
Servings 8 servings
Course Entree, Salad
Calories 216
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients
  

  • 1 shallot thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 pound baby potatoes washed, halved
  • ½ lemon juiced
  • ½ pound green beans trimmed
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 eggs at room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon herbs de Provence
  • ¼ teaspoon salt plus more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper plus more to taste
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 (4-ounce) container mixed greens
  • 1 tomato on the vine diced
  • 5 radishes thinly sliced
  • ½ cup kalamata olives or olives of choice
  • 1 (5-ounce) can albacore tuna
  • 1 (6.5-ounce jar) marinated artichoke hearts drained

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, combine the shallot and red wine vinegar and let sit for about 30 minutes while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
  • Add the baby potatoes to a medium saucepan and cover with cold water by 1-inch. Season with a pinch of salt. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are fork tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain and set aside in a medium bowl. Drizzle lemon juice on top and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and set up an ice bath. Once the water is boiling, add green beans and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until bright green and tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in the ice bath for 30 seconds to stop cooking. Drain and set aside.
  • Return the pot of water to a gentle boil and delicately drop the eggs in and cook for 6 ½ minutes (for jammy yolks) or 8 to 10 minutes if you prefer hard-boiled eggs. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon and set in the ice bath to stop the cooking. When cool enough to handle, peel eggs then slice in half.
  • Remove the shallots from the vinegar (reserving the vinegar) and set aside. Add the vinegar to a mixing bowl and whisk in Dijon, herbs de provence, salt and pepper and mix until smooth. Slowly stream in olive oil and whisk until emulsified.
  • To serve, scatter greens on a large platter and top with cooked potatoes, green beans, shallots, eggs, tomatoes, radishes, olives, tuna and artichoke hearts. Drizzle dressing on top and serve.

Notes

Storage: Once this salad assembled and dressed, it will not keep well. However, you can store each component separately in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days, then compose the salad when you’re ready to eat.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g, Calories: 216kcal, Carbohydrates: 16g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 0.01g, Cholesterol: 89mg, Sodium: 415mg, Potassium: 467mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 876IU, Vitamin C: 29mg, Calcium: 50mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American, French
Course: Entree, Salad

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Comments

  1. We have just had this salad for dinner and the whole family liked it. I followed the instructions exactly and it turned out super delicious! Thank you for all the healthy recipes on your blog Yumna! I am glad I found you and improved my cooking skills with your recipes:). Every recipe has turned out very good so far.