salad nicoise

Salad Nicoise may just be the most perfect salad ever invented! It’s protein rich, flavorful and packed with vegetables. A healthy lunch or dinner any time of year!

salad nicoise
salad nicoise
canned tuna
potatoes and green beans
salad nicoise

Late summer has a certain quality to it I cannot pinpoint. The vibrancy of spring and early summer, a distant memory, insects at their loudest. Bird song is largely subdued now as there are fewer of them around. Trees have taken on a deep green color with some pops of yellow and brown throughout. There is a certain relief from the flurry and buzz of months past. It’s always a little bitter sweet, this cycling through seasons. But what good fortune to be able to live in a place with seasons.

So what to eat in late summer? My cooking is a little confused, admittedly. I oscillate between fall and summer food. On one hand, I crave diving right into comfort food (see previous recipe), but on the other, I want to hold on to summer’s sweetness. So I decided I would go with a Salad Nicoise recipe that can transition easily from summer to fall. And I would be using one of my all time favorite ingredients as the star of this salad. Tuna! But not just any tuna - St. Jude Tuna!

When it comes to making Salad Nicoise, the quality of each ingredient is essential. And this is particularly why I wanted to use none other than my favorite olive oil packed tuna from St. Jude Tuna. In my opinion, it is the best tuna as the quality is simply unmatched.

So what is Salad Nicoise?

Salad Nicoise is a traditional French salad originated in Niece. It gets its name from Nicoise olives, which are only grown in that particular region. Early purists had a very specific way of making Salad Nicoise, which included artichokes, anchovies, red peppers, tomatoes and olive oil. But purity isn’t in my vocabulary and I enjoy breaking cooking rules as often as possible. So I have my own version of it. That’s the beauty of playing with food after all.

One of the best Salad Nicoise I ever had was at a tiny cafe in Montauk many, may years ago and I’ve never forgotten how well the ingredients worked together. So I set out to re-create my own version with some of my personal favorites.

Sourcing the best tuna for Salad Nicoise

There are times when I’m forgiving with ingredients in a recipe. I’ll happily use vegetables that have sat in the crisper for some time to whip up a quick soup. I’ll use herbs that have surpassed their peak, etc. But when it comes to Salad Nicoise, the quality of the tuna makes all the difference. First it does have to be wild caught, good tuna, it also has to be packed in olive oil. Anything else will simply just taste mediocre. This is why I love using the St Jude Tuma, Mediterranean Solid Albacore for this Salad Nicoise. It adds the perfect texture and flavor and balances out all other ingredients.

Can you vary the vegetables in the Salad Niciose?

You certainly can. I like sticking with a newer version of Salad Nicoise which includes potatoes and green beans. But you can change the vegetables out as you see fit. If you’re a tomato lover, go for tomatoes, if you prefer green olives to black olives, do that. If you’re not a fan of artichokes or red pepper, you can leave them out or switch them out.

I encourage you to try sourcing organic if possible and the freshest ingredients you can. While all ingredients are served together, each stands on its own marinating in the tangy dressing. So having the freshest possible ingredients will take a Salad Nicoise from ordinary to extraordinary.

What to use in this version of Salad Nicoise

Naturally, my first favorite, tuna, soft boiled eggs, boiled potatoes, blanched green beans, marinated artichokes, roasted red peppers, olives and to spruce up the classic olive oil (which I love by the way), I’ve decided to go with a garlic infused dijon dressing, which in my opinion works beautifully with every single ingredient. Dijon to me is French essence.

Can you make this Salad Nicoise low carb/paleo?

Absolutely! If you’re strictly paleo, you can skip the step of boiling potatoes and just go for the green beans. You could certainly use sweet potatoes if you really wanted but I don’t think you’d end up with the same overall taste and feel. If you’re paleo, you may just want to leave the potatoes out.

If you don’t like Dijon mustard

If you happen to not like Dijon (I promise I won’t judge you), feel free to use a high quality olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. I wouldn’t add a vinegar to this, as the marinated veggies add enough depth. A vinegar may be a bit too intense and will mask all the layers of flavors that are quintessential in Salad Nicoise.

If you want more

If you’re looking to serve a bigger crowd just double up on the quantities. You can use a larger pot for boiling the eggs, potatoes and green beans.

I hope you will love this Salad Nicoise as much as I do!

salad nicoise
salad nicoise
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salad nicoise

  • prep time: 10 minutes

  • cooking time: 20 minutes

  • makes: 2 servings


  • medium pan

  • small mixing bowl

  • large mixing bowl

  • large serving plate


For the salad

For dressing:


  1. In medium pot, bring 4 cups of water to boil. Slowly add eggs and cook for 7 minutes (set a timer). Carefully remove eggs and drop in large bowl of ice water for 1 minutes. Remove and set aside.

  2. Add potatoes and beans to boiling water. Set timer for 4 minutes. Remove beans and add to ice water. Set timer for another 7 minutes for the potatoes. Remove potatoes and add to ice water as well.

  3. Meanwhile whisk all ingredients under dressing.

  4. To plate. Peel eggs and cut in half, remove tuna from can and break up with your hand arranging it on plate. Arrange all other ingredients on plate and drizzle with dressing.

  5. Sprinkle with extra salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.

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Salad Nicoise may just be the most perfect salad invented. Tasty St Jude Tuna works beautifully with, crunch green beans, creamy potatoes, soft boiled eggs, briny vegetables and tangy dressing. It’s one recipe that’s on repeat in my house. #saladnicoise #nicoisesalad #tunanicoisesalad #tunanicoise #calmeats #salad #pleosalad #whole30salad #whole30 #paleo #glutenfree #dairyfree #realfood #stjudetuna
Salad Nicoise may just be the most perfect salad invented. Tasty St Jude Tuna works beautifully with, crunch green beans, creamy potatoes, soft boiled eggs, briny vegetables and tangy dressing. It’s one recipe that’s on repeat in my house. #saladnicoise #nicoisesalad #tunanicoisesalad #tunanicoise #calmeats #salad #pleosalad #whole30salad #whole30 #paleo #glutenfree #dairyfree #realfood #stjudetuna
Salad Nicoise may just be the most perfect salad invented. Tasty St Jude Tuna works beautifully with, crunch green beans, creamy potatoes, soft boiled eggs, briny vegetables and tangy dressing. It’s one recipe that’s on repeat in my house. #saladnicoise #nicoisesalad #tunanicoisesalad #tunanicoise #calmeats #salad #pleosalad #whole30salad #whole30 #paleo #glutenfree #dairyfree #realfood #stjudetuna

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grilled radicchio salad with fennel and soft boiled egg

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radicchio and fennel
radicchio and red onion
grilled radicchio, fennel and soft boiled egg salad

All recipes start with an idea, an ingredient, a spark of inspiration. For this recipe it was radicchio.

I was’t sure it would work and was going to shoot straight for the tried and true romaine as the base, but instead spotted the beautiful small, leafy, red radicchio and decided it would be my ingredient du jour. My thinking was, I’d toss it in the oven along with red onion (because let’s face it, red onion makes everything better) and sliced fennel. To add some crunch and fresh texture, a few endive leaves and toasted walnuts. And for a little creaminess, soft boiled eggs. I was going to even toss in some roasted potatoes in the mix and top the whole thing with a tangy mustardy vinaigrette.

I was all set, ready to get on with the new recipe. So I opened the oven, reached in and pulled out my trusty oversized tray, which lives there. As I grabbed the tray, I suddenly recalled turning off the oven but never pulling out the almonds I’d roasted several minutes prior.

Everything happened quickly. I burned my hand, knocked the entire tray of almonds all over the oven, floor, etc. No problem - cleaned the mess up and was really ready to start.

Oven on for preheat, I was blissfully chopping away at vegetables, eager to see how everything would turn out. That was until I smelled burning. And I mean burning burning, not like I’m burning food. A quick peak in the oven made me realize the almonds I’d previously spilled made their way to the pilot light and now my oven was on fire. Panicked and not wanting to make a heinous mess, I resorted to water and baking soda to put out the flames.

Frustrated beyond belief, my kitchen a disaster, I decided the roasting was off until I could take apart the oven and remove the culprit. But I wasn’t giving up. After all that mess, it was on to plan B - the grill.

So radicchio, fennel and red onion were now getting the grilling treatment. Sure part of me wanted to give up and just repeat the whole thing the next day but I’m stubborn and wasn’t going to let a little fire get in the way of my radicchio salad dreams.

Grilled vs. roasted radicchio

Since the incident, I tried both. Honestly it comes down to personal preference. I really like the way food tastes on the open flame but roasting it also allows it to cook in its own juices so it’s kind of a win win no matter which way you go with the process.

Red onion and fennel also hold up surprisingly well on the grill, so you’re good there too if you decide to grill.

Potatoes or no potatoes?

That is entirely up to you. If you want it paleo skip the potatoes, if you’re whole 30 or vegetarian and want to make it a heartier meal, get those potatoes in there and this salad will become more like a filling dinner than simply a salad. I kept it low carb but it tastes spectacular with potatoes too! And sweet potatoes are a great alternative too!

The perfect egg

Okay the word “perfect” is awfully subjective but in my “egg” book, the sweet spot is between 6-7 minutes depending on the kind of texture I’m after. For this salad, I wanted a little more bite but still a little jammy-ness so 7 minutes exactly it was. The key is to shock the eggs in ice water as soon as they’ve finished cooking.

grilled radicchio, fennel and soft boiled egg salad
grilled radicchio, fennel and soft boiled egg salad
grilled radicchio, fennel and soft boiled egg salad
grilled radicchio, fennel and soft boiled egg salad
grilled radicchio, fennel and soft boiled egg salad

Print Friendly and PDF
  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • cooking time: 10-20 minutes

  • makes: 2 servings


  • 1 head radicchio, sliced into 8 pieces

  • 1 medium fennel bulb, sliced

  • 1 endive, leaves peeled

  • 1/2 large red onion, cut into thick pieces

  • 2-4 eggs

  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided

  • 3/4 tsp salt divided

  • 1/2 tsp pepper divided

  • 1/4 tsp lemon

  • 1/2 tsp honey

  • 2 tsp ricewine vinegar

  • 1 tsp quality dijon mustard

  • 2 tbsp toasted walnuts

  • optional: roasted potatoes or sweet potatoes


  • grill if not using oven

  • medium pot

  • small mixing bowl

  • large roasting sheel

  • small roasting sheet

  • parchment paper


If using potatoes, pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Peel and chop potatoes. On parchment paper lined sheet, potatoes, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and toss together. Roast potatoes for 25-30 minutes stirring once, and set aside.

Combine radicchio, red onion, and fennel with 2 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and toss to combine. Either roast for 20 minutes (turning vegetables after 10 minutes) or grill on medium heat for 5-10 minutes per side until radicchio, fennel and red onion have softened.

Add walnuts to small tray and toast for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring pot with 4 cups of water to boil. Add eggs and boil with lid on for 7 minutes. Immediately remove pot from heat and run eggs under cold water for a minute. Peel and cut in half.

In small bowl, combine remaining 2 tbsp olive oil, rice wine vinegar, dijon mustard, honey, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and mix well.

In large bowl or plate, peel endive leaves and layer on the bottom. Once radicchio, onion and fennel have finished roasting, add them to bowl with potatoes (if using), pour dressing over and top with eggs and walnuts. Serve right away.

If you’re looking for a delicious salad without the lettuce, check out this grilled radicchio and fennel salad with endives, soft boiled eggs, toasted walnuts and a tangy vinaigrette. It’s simple yet delicious! #paleo #whole30 #vegetarian #calmeats #salad #radicchio #fennel #softboiledeggs #endive #whole30salad #paleosalad #saladrecipe #summerrecipe

jalapeño tuna salad

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I think about simplicity often. It’s a sort of longing for something calm and slow, something I don’t always have access to but vehemently long for. Maybe this is why I enjoy making uncomplicated food but food that nonetheless tastes delicious, by taking one or two ingredients and letting them shine.

As I’ve grown older, especially in recent years, I’ve come to appreciate the beauty and intricacy of the food before me. An unparalleled appreciation for a juicy, sweet tomato and the sheer excitement of cutting into a perfectly ripe, vibrantly green avocado is something that’s become essential to cooking. Not just cooking for the sake of it but cooking with love and honor for each ingredient.

When I heard again from Joyce, the owner of St. Jude Tuna in Washington, I was ecstatic. In the last year, I learned a bit about Joyce and her husband, Joe who run the company. I found out about the way they source their tuna, about the love and gratitude that goes into every single can and about the respect for the ocean and environment. That immediately drew me to them.

Their tuna is wild caught, organic and ethically sourced and their philosophy, appreciation and care for their product is palpable. There’s not a lot of fuss aside from exceptionally tasty tuna, Jalapeño and salt that goes into each can.

So when Joyce asked me to create a recipe with this exquisite tuna, I knew it had to be something that takes nothing away from the fish but highlights it all the more. I wanted to use every single bit of the can minus the actual can and so this recipe wastes nothing.

I kept this dish fresh and light by combining ripe baby tomatoes with corn, black beans, avocado, adding chunks of this beautiful Jalapeño tuna and using the liquid to create a simple refreshing dressing with olive oil, cumin, coriander, lemon and oregano. It’s a burst of flavor in every bite and the tuna truly adds an unmatched flavor to this salad.

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jalapeno tuna salad

  • prep time: 10 mintues

  • cook time: 0 minutes

  • makes: 2 servings


  • 1 can St. Jude Organic Jalapeño Tuna (reserve liquid)

  • 10 cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered

  • 1 ripe avocado cut into chunks

  • 1/4 cup organic canned corn, rinsed (skip for paleo and W30)

  • 1/4 cup organic canned black beans, rinsed (skip for paleo and W30)

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/8 tsp ground coriander

  • 1/8 tsp ground cumin

  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper

  • 1 tsp lemon juice

  • 1 rounded tsp green onion

  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro plus extra


  • medium mixing bowl

  • small mixing bowl


In small bowl, drain Jalapeño Tuna liquid. Add olive oil, herbs, cumin, coriander, oregano salt, lemon and pepper. Whisk well and set aside.

In medium bowl combine, tomatoes, avocado, corn and beans and gently break up chunks of tuna on top.

Add dressing, cilantro and green onion and toss until all ingredients are incorporated. Serve right away.

When it comes to making salads, sourcing the best possible ingredients is key, this is why I chose this tasty organic Jalapeño Tuna from St. Jude Tuna for this refreshing, vibrant tuna salad. If you’re following a paleo or whole 30 lifestyle, feel free to skip the beans and corn and have this be just as tasty! It’s gluten and dairy free as well. #ad #glutenfree #stjudetuna @joemalley #cameats #jalapenotuna #tuna #glutenfree #dairyfree #salad #paleo #whole30 #seafood #cannedtuna

tomato salad with black beans, corn and avocado

tomato salad with black beans, corn and avocado
tomato salad with black beans, corn and avocado

Today is my daughter's birthday - her second to be exact. My son's is in 2 days. A mix of crippling fear and excitement tends to pulse through me around birthdays. It's a celebration but also a reminder of the inevitable impermanence of life. It may be a rather pessimistic way of looking at things but it tends to simultaneously be a reminder of how fleeting life is and how appreciating the small things can go a long way.

Yesterday we celebrated. Our children are born only 2 days apart and while still young, we take full advantage of the combined birthday party. We kept it small - family only. Everyone travelled from their respective locations and we congregated on a steamy afternoon for food, chats and a good amount of sweating. 

My mom, who inevitably shows up loaded with food of various kinds, arrived with a pound of mixed baby tomatoes. Their lovely colors made them look a bit like little jewels and on the spot I decided they had to make their way into the day's menu. And with just hours left before the party, I had to quickly come up with something everyone would enjoy. It had to be easy to throw together yet filling enough to act as a companion to burgers and pulled pork. 

A quick look in the pantry and I had my recipe. I wanted a tomato salad but with a bit of a twist. A can of black beans, a can of corn along with red onion, a cumin honey lime vinaigrette, plenty of cilantro and some creamy avocado would do. 

To my surprise it was one of those recipes that needed little retesting. Everything just worked and after I decided to make another batch and eat if for every meal today, it was time for it to make its way onto the blog. 

About the beans

Sometimes I take shortcuts and used canned but it’s not ideal for gut health so if you want to make this salad easier on digestion, soak and cook black beans yourself and use nearly 2 cups to get the equivalent.

About the corn

If you don’t want to used canned corn, feel free to use an ear of corn and just remove the kernels and cook them a bit longer until soft and cooked through.

No matter which way you decide to go, I hope you love this salad as much as I did!

tomato salad with black beans, corn and avocado
tomato salad with black beans, corn and avocado

tomato salad with black beans, corn and avocado

  • prep time: 10 minutes

  • cooking time: 10 minutes

  • yields: 8-10 servings


  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil divided

  • 1 can organic sweet corn, drained and rinsed

  • 1 can organic black beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 tbsp finely chopped red onion

  • 1 lb baby tomatoes of your choice cut in half or quarters

  • juice of one lime

  • 1/2 tsp honey

  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin

  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

  • 1 avocado cut into chunks

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp pepper


  • cast iron frying pan or regular

  • large bowl


Drain and rinse corn very well. Shake off excess water. 

In large bowl, add 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, honey, lime juice, cumin, salt and pepper and whisk well. Set aside. 

Preheat frying pan and add 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Add corn and cook stirring regularly until all the liquid is drained and the corn starts to get some color - about 10 minutes. 

Add finely chopped red onion and cook for 1 minute. Remove corn and onion from pan and add to bowl. Add beans, tomatoes, cilantro and combine everything well until the salad is coated with dressing. You can refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Right before serving, add avocado and top with additional cilantro if you wish. 

* Note, don't add the avocado right away as it will oxidize and turn brown. 

A delicious tomato salad with black beans, corn and avocado in a refreshing lime vinaigrette. It’s the perfect companion to any meal or perfectly good on its own! #summersalad #tomatosalad #sala #calmeats #avocado #beans #corn #paleosalad #whole30salad #veganfood #veganrecipe #avocadosalad

smoked spicy tuna sushi bowl

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Sushi in my book is edible art. While I think all cooking is an art form in itself, there's something remarkable about sushi. The way it is prepared, served and meant to be enjoyed slowly is ceremonious. It's the kind of food that instantly puts me in a good mood. While the term sushi is ambiguous and somewhat loosely used, for me it encompasses a certain flavor and taste and I take liberties with it.

When the lovely owner of St. Jude Tuna reached out to me about working together again, I was delighted. I don’t believe in product pushing and I’m not interested in just throwing anything at my readers and hoping it sticks. But truthfully when I believe in something, I get pretty excited about it and want to shout it from the roof top or my blog page in this case. 

This time the request was for me to create something with their smoked tuna. Wait a minute, what? I’ve had smoked salmon before but honestly never got my hands on canned smoked tuna so this was a new venture. I could sit here and tell you that just simply eating it out of the can would be pretty damn delicious but I wanted to give you something a little more creative. 

Recipe testing was adventurous and messy and while I had a vision of what I wanted to make, I had to fine tune it along the way. Before the package even arrived, I was set on some form of spicy tuna sushi roll. The combination of creamy salty, spicy and smokey flavors sounded pretty great. 

The caveat with this recipe was that it had to be paleo and Whole 30, which of course works for me. But while paleo is sometimes flexible with rice, Whole 30 is not and grains are strictly off the table. And traditional sushi is well, made with rice. But fear not as in comes cauliflower rice to the rescue. Also, if you're not whole 30, feel free to use regular sriracha but if you're strict, you can find Wildbrine sugar free sriracha. 

I played around with making a sushi roll with the spicy tuna but frankly I wanted more. My vision was a pile of vegetables and lots of flavor so I decided to scrap the roll and just go with the bowl. This would give me the liberty to create exactly what I envisioned. A tuna sushi bowl makes for a perfect lunch or dinner. 

sushi bowl with vegetables 
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smoked spicy tuna sushi bowl 

  • prep time: 15 minutes 
  • cooking time: none
  • yields: 2 servings


For rice

  • 1 cup cooked cauliflower rice
  • 1/8 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp coconut aminos
  • 1/4 tsp toasted sesame seeds

For smoked spicy tuna: 

For vegetables 

  • 1/2 sliced avocado
  • 1/4 peeled cucumber cut into slivers
  • 1/2 carrot cut into slivers
  • 3-4 sliced radishes
  • 1/4 red bell pepper sliced
  • optional: pickled ginger
  • optional: sprouts of your choice 
  • optional: toasted sesame seeds
  • optional: scallions for garnish

For speedy spicy mayo: 

  • 4.5 tsp mayo
  • 1 tsp sriracha
  • 1/2 tsp coconut aminos


  • small mixing bowl 
  • medium mixing bowl


For rice: If you're not whole 30 or paleo, feel free to use regular rice. But otherwise, combine all ingredients under rice and set aside.

For spicy mayo: Combine all ingredients under spicy mayo in a small bowl and set aside. 

For smoked spicy tuna: In medium mixing bowl break up the tuna with a fork until flaky. Add the rest of ingredients and mix well. 

To assemble: Layer the rice on the bottom of the serving bowl. Add tuna and vegetables in any fashion you wish and drizzle with spicy mayo and top with toasted sesame seeds.