This take on the classic Niçoise Salad uses traditional flavors like tuna, briny olives, and fresh hard-boiled eggs, elevated with the addition of roasted asparagus, tomatoes, potatoes, and crispy shallot rings in a creamy mustard sauce. The flavors are going to make you want to hunker down and relish the winter season!
What’s better than a beautiful Niçoise salad with a wintery twist to refresh your winter menu?
While traditional Niçoise salads are made with fresh veggies, since we’re in the depths of the winter season, I decided to play off the warm flavors that I’m craving. I roasted my tomatoes, added roasted asparagus instead of green beans, and potatoes with toasted shallot rings. It’s the perfect balance between tradition and a new twist on Niçoise!
With fresh tuna and a simple creamy mustard sauce, you’ll have a little piece of France right in your own kitchen! Better yet, serve this Niçoise salad with focaccia bread or a Baguette.
Not a tuna fan? Easily substitute with baked or Poached Salmon!
What is Niçoise Salad?
Niçoise salad (also known as Salade Niçoise) are named after, you guessed it, where they were created in Nice, France! Traditionally, they consist of ingredients like fresh tomatoes, green beans, Hard Boiled Eggs, special Niçoise olives, tuna, mustard, and olive oil. These salads are known for their vibrant and flavorful ingredient combinations. They are composed salads, meaning their ingredients are arranged on a plate, instead of tossed together.
Simply put, Niçoise salads are the perfect all-in-one balanced meal. With lots of veggies and delicious protein from tuna and hard-boiled eggs, this salad checks all the boxes of YUM!
Niçoise Salad Ingredients
- Ahi tuna – Ahi tuna has a fresh flavor that complements the other ingredients. You can also sub with canned tuna or Poached Salmon.
- Eggs – the hard-boiled eggs add creaminess and are a classic ingredient in traditional Niçoise salad recipes.
- Niçoise olives – Niçoise olives are known for their distinctive flavor and are often used in Mediterranean cuisine. If you cannot find Niçoise olives, you can also use kalamata olives.
- Campari tomatoes – Campari tomatoes are larger than cherry tomatoes but smaller than traditional salad tomatoes. They are known for their sweetness and juiciness in addition to their deep red color. You can always sub with cherry tomatoes if you cannot find Campari tomatoes.
- Baby potatoes – baby potatoes are more tender and creamy, making them perfectly suited for roasting.
- Asparagus – trimmed and peeled asparagus add a refreshing textural contrast to the crispiness of the vegetables and the creaminess of the hard-boiled eggs.
- Greens of choice – my favorite greens to use is either spinach or a lettuce blend.
- Dijon mustard – Dijon mustard is tangy, slightly spicy, and adds wonderful complexity to the dish. It’s traditional in Niçoise salad!
- Extra virgin olive oil – extra virgin olive oil is the base of our dressing and also helps sauté the vegetables.
- Shallot – cut into thin rings, the shallots add texture and a bit of sweet astringency.
How to Make Niçoise Salad
Full instructions in the recipe card; this is just an outline!
Hard-boil the eggs, peel, and cut each egg in half.
Drizzle the halved tomatoes, asparagus, and potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, then roast on a baking sheet for 30 minutes at 300℉. Remove the asparagus and broil the other ingredients for 3-6 minutes.
In a bowl, whisk together the mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss half of the mixture with the greens.
Drizzle olive oil in a skillet at medium-high heat and cook fresh tuna for about 2-3 minutes each side for medium-rare. Touch the remaining sides of the tuna to the hot pan for about 30 seconds.
Plate dressed greens and place the eggs, olives, asparagus, tomatoes, and potatoes on top. Slice the tuna and add to the salad.
Serve with the remaining mustard mixture in ramekins on the side or add dollops of the dressing on top of the salads.
Making Niçoise Salad in Advance
This salad is easy to make but can be even easier by preparing some of the ingredients in advance. Here are a few steps you can do in advance:
- Hard-boil the eggs: Hard-boil and peel the eggs. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 1-2 days before serving on the salad.
- Mix the dressing: Whisk together the dressing and store in the refrigerator the day before or the morning of serving the dish. If you prepare the dressing ahead of time, make sure to give it a good stir right before drizzling it for consistency purposes.
- Roast the veggies: you can roast all the veggies in advance if needed, reheating in a 275℉ oven for 10-15 minutes until warm, right before serving! Or serve the roasted veggies chilled.
- Serve chilled: you can make the whole plate 1-2 days in advance, serving chilled. Top with the mustard sauce right before serving.
More Salad Recipes You’ll Love!
- Crisp Apple Salad
- Classic Italian Salad
- Southwest Salad (With Chili Lime Dressing)
- Green Goddess Salad (With a Healthy Dressing)
- ½ pound fresh ahi tuna sub canned tuna or baked/poached salmon!
- 3 eggs
- 2 tablespoons pitted Niçoise olives (Coquillo) or Kalamata olives
- 6 Campari tomatoes halved or sub cherry tomatoes
- 8 ounces baby potatoes halved
- 1 bunch asparagus trimmed and peeled
- 5 ounces greens like spinach or a lettuce blend
- ¼ cup dijon mustard
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 shallot cut into thin rings
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 300℉. Hard-boil the eggs by gently boiling the eggs for about 12 minutes and then immediately placing them in a bowl of ice water. Let the eggs chill in the ice water for about 10 minutes before peeling and cutting each egg in half.
- In a single layer (and each ingredient separated from each other) place halved tomatoes cut-side up, asparagus, and potatoes on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle shallot rings on top of potatoes. Drizzle generously with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt.
- Roast for 30 minutes. At 30 minutes, remove asparagus from the sheet and set aside. Place baking sheet with potatoes and tomatoes back in the oven for 3-6 minutes on a high broil until tomatoes look wrinkly and potatoes/shallots just start to brown. Remove from the oven and let cool.
- In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, ¼ cup olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss half of the mustard mixture with the greens.
- Drizzle olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Be careful: hot oil may spatter! Add fresh tuna and let side #1 cook for 2-3 minutes for medium-rare. Flip tuna to side #2 and cook for 2-3 minutes. Touch the other sides to the hot pan for 30 seconds. Test tuna by pulling tuna apart slightly with two forks. Tuna should be red on the inside, fading to pink and then brown on the edges for medium-rare. Cook both sides for an additional minute if tuna is too rare for your taste! Remove from the pan and let rest while plating the veggies.
- Plate dressed greens evenly in 2 shallow bowls or large plates. Arrange the eggs, olives, asparagus, tomatoes and potatoes on each bed of lettuce. Slice tuna against the grain and add to the plate. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Place remaining mustard mixture in ramekins to serve with salads, or add dollops of the dressing on top of salads.
- Cooking time varies based on the thickness of your tuna! Keep testing tuna for desired doneness!
- Use Peewee baby potatoes if you can find them. They are extra small.