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.
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
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
- Add the shallot, garlic, mustard, thyme, salt and black pepper to your blender or small food processor.
- Pour the oil into the blender in a slow, steady stream, with the blender running on low speed. Then, continue blending until emulsified.
- Add basil and parsley, then pulse a few times until finely chopped.
- Transfer the dressing into a jar and set aside.
How to Make Nicoise Salad
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add the tuna to a bowl and drizzle with some of the vinaigrette. Use a fork to gently flake the tuna.
- Toss greens with a little of the dressing for Salad Nicoise until lightly coated.
To serve the salad:
- Divide the greens amongst individual plates
- 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
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.
This classic French salad is named after the city of Nice in Provence, France.
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!
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! ♥
Salad Nicoise Dressing (Fresh Herb Vinaigrette)
Fresh Herb Vinaigrette:
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 8 fresh basil leaves
- ¼ cup parsley
- ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the Salad:
- 4 hard boiled eggs, quartered
- ½ lb red potatoes
- 2 handfuls of green beans
- 2 5 oz cans of tuna
- 10 ounces spring greens
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ cup nicoise olives, or kalamata
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 ¼ 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!