Tuna Nicoise Salad

Wednesday 4 August 2021

Tuna Nicoise Salad 
Tuna Nicoise Salad.  I confess I am a huge fan of salads in the summer months. I especially love main dish salads like this one, which is not only a feast for the eyes, but for the tummy as well. 

Nicoise Salad or Salad Niçoise as it is also called is a French Salad.  It is what is known as a composed salad, somewhat similar to a Cobb salad, with the main difference here being that there is no chicken involved and no bacon either! 

Salad Niçoise 
This delicious salad comes from Nice, France, which is on the Mediterranean side of France. The side where the Riviera is.  So think seafood and sunshine.

One thing which I like about it is that its a salad in which you can totally prepare all of the elements for it ahead of time. This makes it a perfect salad for entertaining as you need only whisk up a dressing and throw things together at the last minute!

Salad Niçoise 

The main ingredients for the salad are tuna (of course), boiled potatoes, hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, green beans and black olives.

In France they always use tinned tuna. I use tinned tuna, but you can certainly cook fresh tuna steaks in the place of the tinned tuna if you wish. Just make sure you don't overcook them or you run the risk of them tasting like chicken.

Salad Niçoise 
And trust me, if you have run to the expense of buying fresh tuna steaks to use in this delicious salad, you don't want it to taste like chicken.  One minute per side is all you really need as far as cook time goes.

I always just use tinned tuna myself.  I do use a solid albacore tuna however.  I never buy any other kind.  Its just my preference when it comes to tuna.

Salad Niçoise 
An Italian lady stopped me in the grocery store one day while I was buying tuna and told me that I should only ever buy albacore tuna.  She said the rest was garbage. 

Who am I to argue with experience!  I was quite young at the time and she seemed to be quite old.  In all truth she was probably younger then than I am now, but hey ho!  She knew what she was talking about.

Salad Niçoise 

I have never bought anything but Albacore tuna since that day.  I know it can seem to be a bit expensive, but at the end of the day, you always get what you pay for.

I like it in water or in oil.  The one in oil is infinitely better, but because I am watching my cholesterol these days, I always settle for it in water.

Salad Niçoise 
This is a wonderful time of year to enjoy this salad.  We are being spoiled right now with an abundance of fresh summer vegetables.  Green beans, tomatoes, new potatoes, salad leaves.

Everything is so fresh and local and delicious!  It doesn't get much better than this!

Salad Niçoise 
I love the wonderful earthy flavors of fresh new potatoes.  You don't need to do anything special to them, just wash them really well and pop them into a saucepan of boiling lightly salted water.

10 to 15 minutes later, depending on the size of your potatoes, they are done to perfectly.  I like them with the skins on myself. More fiber and that skin is so delicious.

Salad Niçoise 

Green beans are in season at the moment and our local ones are beautiful. So are the golden yellow wax beans. I have been feasting on them while I can!!

You want to pick beans for this salad that are not overly large in size. The smaller ones have the best flavor.

Salad Niçoise 
I have chosen today to use a mix of salad greens consisting of spinach and baby rocket/agugula.  I love the iron earthiness of spinach and I just adore the peppery and meaty punch of rocket leaves! 

I eat a lot of rocket, truth be told. I love it in sandwiches, on burgers and all sorts.  Trust me when I say a roast beef sandwich with horseradish mayo and rocket leaves is a sandwich made in heaven!

Salad Niçoise 

I only ever buy free range eggs.  If you are lucky enough to have a farm close by where you can buy free range eggs, so much the better.

Many people are greatly intimidated at the thought of hard boiling eggs. Its really not that hard and is a matter of timing.  To hard boil eggs with a firm white and yolk start with room temperature eggs.

Salad Niçoise 
Pierce the large end of the egg with an egg piercer or a needle; this helps to prevent the egg from cracking in the heat of the water.  

Place then into a saucepan and cover them completely in water.  Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, maximum.

At the end of that time, remove them from the heat and place them in cold water immediately. This will prevent them from over-cooking and developing that unsightly dark ring around the yolks.

Salad Niçoise 
They will still taste okay, should the dark ring develop, but they are not as attractive to look at and in this salad, that's quite important. 

Black olives are also an important part of this salad. You should use Nicoise olives if you can find them. I can't find those here so I have used Kalamata olives, which are a wonderful substitution.

Salad Niçoise 
The final salad ingredient is ripe garden tomatoes.  They are starting to come into their own now. Just an ordinary tomato will do . . .  fresh from the vine with the warmth of the summer sun still on its skin.

That's what you want, and what is ideal.  Failing that, just get the best your money can buy and leave them at room temperature to ripen for a few days. You won't be sorry!

Salad Niçoise 

There are a few other things you can add if you want to.  Capers is one.  I adore capers. Vinegary, salty, they go so very well here.  

Some thinly sliced red onion also works well.  I have gone for simplicity here however, so I did not include either of those two things. 

Salad Niçoise

The final element of course is the dressing and I say keep it simple.  I have chosen to use a simple vinaigrette dressing without any bells and whistles.  With all of that fresh produce, why run the risk of overwhelming them with a dressing which is overly flavored.

Simple. Simple. Simple. Oil, vinegar and seasoning.  That's all you need. Let the beauty of your fresh  ingredients speak for themselves.  Let them sing.  A good dressing will only enhance their flavors, not overwhelm them.  This simple dressing does just that.



Tuna Nicoise Salad

Tuna Nicoise Salad

Yield: 2
Author: Marie Rayner
A beautiful main dish salad for those days when you just can't be asked to cook. It makes a great use of the abundant produce available to us this time of year as well.


For the dressing:
  • 2 TBS white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp ground paprika
For the salad:
  • 2 large free range eggs, hardboiled. peeled and quartered
  • 4 new potatoes, scrubbed, cooked and quartered
  • 12 French beans, washed, trimmed and cooked until crispy tender
  • 2  heaped cups (120g) mixed salad leaves
  • 2 tomatoes, washed and quartered
  • 12 kalamata olives
  • 1 (6 1/2 -ounce/170g) solid albacore tuna, drained


  1. Mix the vinegar and the salt together for the dressing in a small bowl. Leave to stand for a few minutes.  Add the pepper and then slowly whisk in the olive oil until the mixture emulsifies.  Whisk in the paprika.  Taste and adjust seasoning as  required.  Set aside. 
  2. Put the eggs and potatoes into a mixing bowl. Toss with a little bit of the dressing.
  3. Divide the salad leaves between two chilled plates. Top with the eggs and potatoes. Add the tomatoes and green beans.  Place all of this around the edges.  Divide the tuna in half and place half in the center of each plate.  Scatter the olives over top.
  4. Drizzle the remaining dressing over everything and serve immediately.


You can use two fresh tuna steaks in the place of the tinned tuna. Put a small amount of oil in a skillet and heat over high heat. Season the tuna steaks and sear them in the hot oil, cooking them for no longer than 1 minute per side. Place one onto each plate of salad and serve.

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Tuna Nicoise Salad
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  1. Such a pretty salad, Marie, on a hot summer day. Ever since you mentioned buying albacore tuna, that's what I buy now, too. I love red onion so I think I would add that, or even green onions. Did you get your meal plans done for your brother's visit? I'll be posting your birthday present in the next few days. Love and hugs, Elaine

    1. Thanks so much Elaine! I think we have decided who is going to cook which day, but that's it. I don't know what happens to the time. I am excited about my Birthday. This will be the first time my immediate family and I have been together for a birthday since we all left home to go out separate ways. It is a coming back together! Love and hugs, xoxo

  2. This looks so good and I saw today that there was fresh tuna at the fishmonger, so I shall return tomorrow and get some. *pencils in for Friday*

    1. It will be so wonderful made with the fresh tuna Marie! You are sure to enjoy. I miss my fish monger and my butcher, not to mention the green grocers. I was surely spoilt in the UK! xoxo

    2. It was really delicious, with fresh tuna quickly seared and then sliced. I really like the simplicity of the dish, which lets every ingredient shine. This kind of food is so good to eat as you savour every bite.

      We have two fishmongers here in this little town. One of them also smokes and cures their own fish, so we are very spoiled in that department. Yhe joys of living in a coastal town that still has a fishing fleet. I'd love a greengrocer, but alas must make do with the supermarket - they don't even have Farmer's Markets here as food handling is so highly regulated - not even sales from the farm itself is allowed. Bureaucrats, eh? Still

  3. The salad looks lovely and I am sure it tastes really great.


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