The Classic Nicoise Salad

When it comes to Mediterranean cuisine, the classic Niçoise salad stands out as a vibrant and flavorsome dish that embodies the essence of the French Riviera. Originating from the city of Nice in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of France, this salad showcases a harmonious combination of fresh, seasonal ingredients that are both satisfying and nourishing. Join us as we delve into the world of the classic Niçoise salad, exploring its history, ingredients, and how to create this delightful culinary masterpiece.


The Niçoise salad, also known as “salade niçoise” in French, emerged in the late 19th century in the city of Nice, renowned for its picturesque coastal landscapes and rich culinary heritage. Historically, the salad was a reflection of the region’s agricultural abundance and the availability of ingredients from both land and sea. Over time, the salad has undergone various interpretations, but its core components have remained constant, celebrating the vibrant flavors and colors of the Mediterranean.


  1. Fresh Vegetables: The base of a classic Niçoise salad typically consists of crisp lettuce leaves, tender green beans, and plump tomatoes, all providing a refreshing and vibrant crunch.
  2. Succulent Tuna: Traditionally, the salad features high-quality canned or seared fresh tuna, adding a savory, protein-rich element that complements the fresh ingredients.
  3. Delicate Eggs: Boiled eggs, often cooked to a soft or medium consistency, contribute a velvety texture and a mellow flavor to the salad.
  4. Salty Olives: Niçoise olives, named after the region, are small, briny olives with a distinct flavor that adds a salty kick to the salad.
  5. Anchovy Fillets: These small, oily fish fillets provide a burst of umami flavor, enhancing the overall taste profile of the salad.
  6. Crispy Potatoes: Thinly sliced or diced, potatoes are lightly cooked until golden and crispy, giving the salad a satisfying texture and a touch of heartiness.
  7. Fragrant Herbs: Fresh herbs such as parsley, basil, or tarragon are often sprinkled over the salad, providing a burst of freshness and a hint of aroma.


A classic Niçoise salad is typically dressed with a simple yet flavorful vinaigrette made from olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and garlic. This tangy dressing enhances the natural flavors of the ingredients while complementing the Mediterranean character of the dish.


  1. Begin by blanching the green beans until tender-crisp, then immediately transferring them to an ice bath to retain their vibrant color and crunch.
  2. Boil the eggs to your desired consistency and peel them once cooled. Slice them in half or into quarters.
  3. Lightly steam or boil the potatoes until tender, then drain and let them cool. You can then roast or pan-fry them for added crispness if desired.
  4. Assemble your salad by arranging the lettuce leaves as a base and layering the ingredients on top. Add the tuna, olives, anchovy fillets, green beans, potatoes, and tomatoes in an aesthetically pleasing manner.
  5. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad or serve it on the side, allowing each person to dress their plate according to their taste.
  6. Garnish with fresh herbs and a sprinkle of salt and pepper for added flavor and visual appeal.


The classic Niçoise salad is a testament to the bountiful flavors and culinary traditions of the French Riviera. With its vibrant colors, robust flavors, and a balance of textures, this salad is not only visually appealing but also a delight for the taste buds. Whether enjoyed as a light lunch, a refreshing dinner, or a side dish, the Niçoise salad is a celebration of the Mediterranean lifestyle and a testament to the beauty of simple, fresh ingredients. So why not indulge in this timeless culinary masterpiece and bring a taste of the French Riviera to your table?

Classic Nicoise Salad

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 55 min
  • Prep: 45 min
  • Cook: 10 min
  • Yield: 4 servings



  1. Put the potatoes in a medium saucepan; cover with cold water and season with salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook until fork-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and transfer to a medium bowl; drizzle with the wine and let cool. Reserve the saucepan.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a separate saucepan of salted water to a boil. Fill a bowl with salted ice water. Add the haricots verts to the boiling water; cook until crisp-tender and bright green, 2 to 4 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge into the ice water to cool; drain and pat dry.
  3. Place the eggs in the reserved saucepan and cover with cold water by about 1 inch. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then cover, remove from the heat and let stand, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain, then run under cold water to cool. Peel under cold running water.
  4. Make the dressing: Whisk the vinegar, shallot, mustard, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in a bowl. Whisk in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream until emulsified.
  5. Toss the tomatoes ian a small bowl with salt and pepper to taste. Add about 1/4 cup dressing to the potatoes and toss. Quarter the hard-cooked eggs.
  6. Divide the lettuce among 4 plates. Arrange the potatoes, haricots verts, radishes, hard-cooked eggs and tuna on top. Pour any juices from the tomatoes into the dressing, then add the tomatoes to the plates. Drizzle with the dressing and top with the olives.