Salad Nicoise Dressing is a classic French herb vinaigrette that pairs with a salad of tuna, new potatoes, ripe tomatoes, green beans, black olives, and eggs. The dressing is so versatile and delicious—you’ll want to eat it with everything!

Looking for a simple and delicious salad nicoise dressing? This recipe delivers! Learn how to make a dressing for salad nicoise that comes together easily and tastes amazing.

nicoise salad dressing in glass mason jar

Salade Nicoise is a classic French salad that originates from the city of Nice. It usually has tuna (or anchovy fillets), eggs, haricots verts (green beans), potatoes, olives, and tomatoes, all tossed together in a large bowl with olive oil.

As with everything French, this salad is a lesson in sophisticated simplicity. It’s really just an assembly of wholesome ingredients—made into a beautiful composed salad, and then topped with a fabulous Nicoise Salad dressing.

Why You’ll Love This Salad Nicoise Dressing

  • So flavorful and versatile!
  • Made with bright, fresh herbs
  • Made with pantry staples
  • Only takes a few minutes to make

How to Make the Dressing

Salad nicoise with spring greens, potatoes, green beans, eggs, cherry tomatoes, tuna, olives and a fresh herb vinaigrette.

Key Ingredients for the Dressing

  • Red wine vinegar: Obviously, vinegar is the foundation of any vinaigrette. You can substitute with white wine vinegar if you don’t have red.
  • Shallots: Shallots are milder in flavor than raw onions, making them perfect for a salad dressing.
  • Thyme: I prefer to use fresh herbs whenever possible to enhance the flavor of the dressing, but if you don’t have fresh thyme, dried will do!
  • Dijon Mustard: This is the classic type of mustard used in French cuisine.

How to Make It

step by step photos of how to make salad nicoise dressing
  1. Add the shallot, garlic, mustard, thyme, salt and black pepper to your blender or small food processor.
  2. Pour the oil into the blender in a slow, steady stream, with the blender running on low speed.  Then, continue blending until emulsified.
  3. Add basil and parsley, then pulse a few times until finely chopped.
  4. Transfer the dressing into a jar and set aside.

How to Make Nicoise Salad

Salad nicoise ingredients - potatoes, green beans, tuna, eggs, olives, homemade dressing, spring greens and tomatoes

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Hard boiled eggs: Boil the eggs any way you like, but I like to cook them in my Instant Pot. After peeling the eggs, cut them into quarters lengthwise.
  • Red potatoes: Red potatoes hold their shape better after cooking, so they’re great for salads.
  • Green beans: Steam the green beans until they are bright green and “just” tender. Your salad will have a nice, hearty crunch!
  • Tuna fish: You can use your favorite brand of canned tuna in this recipe, or fresh tuna/tuna steaks. The vinaigrette dressing gives the tuna a burst of additional flavor.
  • Spring greens: Any kind of fresh greens will work! I like to use a classic spring mix. 
  • Cherry tomatoes: Fresh tomatoes add a splash of color and sweetness to the salad.
  • Nicoise olives: These briny olives have an intense, savory flavor. If you can’t find nicoise olives, kalamata olives are a good substitute.

How to Make It

Step-by-step instructions on how to make a salad nicoise
  1. Place a steamer basket inside of a large pot with an inch or two of water. Bring water to a slow boil. Add the green beans and cook until they are bright green and crisp tender.
  2. Place the potatoes into a large pot and add cold water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender and pierce easily with a fork.
  3. Drain the potatoes and transfer to a bowl. Allow them to cool slightly before slicing into chunks. Drizzle some of the fresh herb vinaigrette over the potatoes and toss to coat.
  4. Add the tuna to a bowl and drizzle with some of the vinaigrette. Use a fork to gently flake the tuna.
  5. Toss greens with a little of the dressing for Salad Nicoise until lightly coated.

To serve the salad:

  1. Divide the greens amongst individual plates
  2. Arrange the beans, potatoes, tuna, eggs, tomatoes, and olives over the greens in a pretty layout. Adding the remaining dressing, if desired.

Salad Nicoise Dressing and Salad Storage Instructions

The salad nicoise dressing can be made up to three days in advance. In addition, you can also cook the eggs, green beans and potatoes in advance. Then, simply store them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to assemble the meal.

Nicoise salad dressing can be stored in a screw-top jar or airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.

Salad Nicoise Dressing FAQs

What are the ingredients in Nicoise Salad?

Most Nicoise salad recipes include core ingredients like hardboiled eggs, French beans or string beans, chunks of tuna, tomatoes, olives, potatoes, and a herb or bright lemon vinaigrette.

Why is it called Nicoise salad?

This classic French salad is named after the city of Nice in Provence, France.

What is a good substitute for Nicoise olives?

Kalamata olives are a great substitute, or black olives.

Salad Nicoise Dressing Tips and Tricks

  • Toss the potatoes with some of the Salad Nicoise dressing when they’re still warm to let them absorb the flavor.
  • The dressing for Salad Nicoise also adds a much-need flavor boost to the canned tuna!
  • To save time on busy weeknights, you can make prepare most of the Salad Nicoise dressing and other ingredients ahead of time.
  • While this salad is a great meal all on its own, if you want something to serve with it, there are definitely options. Thin, crispy bread or crackers are a good option. Or, consider serving a light, bright soup, like my sweet corn soup!
overhead shot of salad arranged in white bowl

Looking for more delicious salad recipes? Try this Mediterranean Salad with Grilled Chicken! This Hummus Wrap is another healthy favorite. 

I hope you love this recipe as much as we do! If you try the recipe, I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below. Thank you! ♥

nicoise salad dressing in glass mason jar
5 from 7 votes

Salad Nicoise Dressing (Fresh Herb Vinaigrette)

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
cooling time 5 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Servings 4 servings
Salad nicoise is a classic French salad that is full of tuna, potatoes, tomatoes, olives and eggs. This recipe includes a flavorful fresh herb vinaigrette that you'll want to eat on everything!

Video

Ingredients

Fresh Herb Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 shallot chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove minced
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 8 fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the Salad:

  • 4 hard boiled eggs quartered
  • 1/2 lb red potatoes
  • 2 handfuls of green beans
  • 2 5 oz cans of tuna
  • 10 ounces spring greens
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/2 cup nicoise olives or kalamata

Instructions 

Fresh Herb Vinaigrette:

  • In a blender or small food processor, add the vinegar, shallot, garlic, mustard, thyme, salt and pepper. With blender running slowly pour in the oil and blend until emulsified, about 15 seconds.
  • Add basil and parsley and pulse a few times until finely chopped. Pour into a jar and set aside.

For the Salad:

  • COOK THE POTATOES: Place potatoes in cold water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook until tender. About 15-20 minutes until they pierce easily. Drain potatoes and transfer to a bowl. Let cool slightly then cut into chunks. Toss with 1/4 cup of the fresh herb vinaigrette.
  • STEAM THE GREEN BEANS: Place a steamer basket in a large pot and bring water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook until they are bright green and just tender, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Toss the tuna with 2-3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette, gently flaking apart with a fork. Toss greens with a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette until lightly coated and divide amongst individual plates. Arrange potatoes and beans, tuna, eggs, tomatoes, and olives over greens. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

Tossing the potatoes with some of the fresh herb vinaigrette when they’re still warm allows them to absorb the flavor. The dressing also adds a much-need flavor boost to the canned tuna!
EGGS: Cook the hard-boiled eggs however you like best. I like to cook them in my instant pot. 
TUNA: Tuna packed in olive oil will be more flavorful that water packed tuna, but any kind will work!
GREENS: Any kind of fresh greens will work! I like to use a classic spring mix. 
RED POTATOES: These potatoes hold their shape better after cooking so they’re great for salads.
TO MAKE-AHEAD: The dressing can be made up to 3 days in advance. You can also cook the eggs, green beans and potatoes in advance.

Nutrition

Calories: 519.7kcal | Carbohydrates: 13.84g | Protein: 8.43g | Fat: 48.67g | Saturated Fat: 7.61g | Cholesterol: 186.5mg | Sodium: 663.2mg | Potassium: 443.83mg | Fiber: 2.33g | Sugar: 2.96g | Vitamin A: 885.54IU | Vitamin C: 19.43mg | Calcium: 48.72mg | Iron: 2.02mg

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Hi, I’m Erin!

BS Food Science,

MS Nutrition

I believe you can make amazing, gluten-free food with everyday ingredients that everyone will enjoy. I’m here to share my tried-and-true recipes with you!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This dressing really beats all other versions of this salad. Everyone said it was their favorite part of the salad. I made this for a crowd and was great because it’s such a hearty salad, and with the salad components served in piles they could pick and choose their favorites.

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