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
garlic
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
salad nicoise-13.jpg

salad nicoise

  • prep time: 10 minutes

  • cooking time: 20 minutes

  • makes: 2 servings

Equipment:

  • medium pan

  • small mixing bowl

  • large mixing bowl

  • large serving plate

Ingredients:

For the salad

For dressing:


Directions:

  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

radicchio salad-14.jpg
radicchio and fennel
endive
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

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  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • cooking time: 10-20 minutes

  • makes: 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 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


Equipment:

  • grill if not using oven

  • medium pot

  • small mixing bowl

  • large roasting sheel

  • small roasting sheet

  • parchment paper

Directions:

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



citrus salad with cashew cheese and toasted pistachios

citrus on napkin
citrus on tray and napkin
cut up citrus
citrus salad with cashew cheese and toasted pistachios

What to say about March? It makes me a little crazy, toys with my emotions making me feel much like I’m on a seesaw. One one hand, there’s more light, signs of spring popping up everywhere but on the other, winter’s relentless cold and snow still linger on. But the citrus. The citrus is still bright, sweet and bursting with flavor.

Every year around this time, I suddenly remember how much I like citrus; feeling the need to gorge on Tangelos, Mandarins and Blood Oranges and the occasional succulent but very pricey Sumo Mandarin. Perhaps it has to do with citrus season being nearly over and the basic desire to hold on to it for just a little bit longer. Or maybe it simply has to do with the fruit being in its prime. Either way, I’m finding myself with an abundance of it.

Citrus hasn’t always been part of my life. Growing up, there were a handful of times I recall having it as it wasn’t widely available. And for those times, I’m certain my parents had to jump through hoops to get their hands on them. So despite the year long availability here, to this day I regard citrus as special. So a nice, juicy citrus salad is in order, to celebrate the season. I wanted brightness, salt and sweetness to come through in every bite.

While salty cheese may be an ideal candidate for this salad, cashew cheese is a suitable and quite delicious alternative for the food sensitive crowd or even as a vegan option. A handful of toasted pistachios and sweet and salty dressing bring out the best in the citrus. You can use whatever oranges you want but I opted for Navel, Tangelo and Mandarins. It’s a delicious way to elevate an average orange and bring out its aroma and zest.

And while this salad won’t change March’s unpredictable disposition, it may help to sweetened it up just a little.

citrus salad with cashew cheese and toasted pistachios
citrus salad with cashew cheese and toasted pistachios
citrus on tray

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citrus salad with cashew cheese and toasted pistachios

  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • soaking time: 2 hours

  • cooking time: 10 minutes

  • makes: 2 servings

Ingredients:

For the citrus salad

  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar

  • 1 tsp lemon juice

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/8 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp honey

  • 1/4 tsp pepper

  • 3 oranges of your choice (I used Navel, Tangelo and Mandarins)

  • 1 tbsp crushed toasted pistachios

For the cashew cheese

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews

  • 6 tsp nutritional yeast

  • 1 tsp lemon

  • 1/8 tsp salt

  • small pinch garlic powder

  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

  • 2 tbsp water

Equipment:

  • food processor

  • medium mixing bowl

  • 2 small mixing bowl

  • baking sheet

Directions:

Add cashews in small bowl and completely cover with water. Set aside and let soak for 2 hours.

Combine soaked cashews with the remaining ingredients under cashew cheese and add to food processors. Puree until smooth. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 and roast pistachios for 10 minutes until toasted.

Using a pairing knife, remove orange skin. Slice oranges and place them on plate.

Combine red wine vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, honey and pepper and whisk well.

To plate, drizzle dressing over oranges, top with toasted pistachios and add as much cashew cheese as you’d like.

You can store the cashew cheese in an air tight container for one week.


A delicious citrus salad full of flavor. Orange slices are combined with a sweet and salty dressing, topped with cashew cheese, made with nutritional yeast and toasted pistachios. #vegan #citrus #citrussalad #vegansalad #paleosalad #paleofood #paleo #calmeats #orange #cashewcheese #nutritionalyeastrecipes



essential tuna salad

Essential tuna salad
St. Jude’s Tuna
Essential tuna salad

I found a large rock, which provided a fine seat and took a bite of my very late lunch. The sun beating on whatever part of me that wasn’t covered up, which wasn’t much. After all 43 is still cold but alfresco seemed like a good idea. I closed my eyes and soaked up the sun. My children’s gleeful voices cutting through jovial bird songs, as they made their way from mud to snow and back again, squealing with delight.

I looked up at the sky; a piercing shade of blue. Next to me a cluster of snow drops swaying in the breeze. I picked one, studying its detail. Every year, I feel a jolt of excitement the moment I spot them. An announcement of what’s to come; green, life, a new season. 

Seeing the familiar through fresh eyes occurs to me from time to time, particularly in the kitchen. Oddly enough this happened with nothing more than the very tuna I was eating. What? Tuna? Yes.

I’ve had years to figure out what I like and don’t like. I’m always open to exploring and learning but there’s something to be said about the tried and true. Flavors and combinations that work synergistically, that compliment each other the way an exposed collar bone and an off the shoulder sweater do. They’re sexy - they work. 

So how do you make tuna salad sexy? You add the things you’ve probably eaten your whole life but you tweak them a bit and use St. Jude’s tuna as the base. When it comes to making a delicious tuna salad, quality is key. And for me, it doesn’t get better than using a delicious tuna, that’s sustainably and wild caught. And don’t forget about the mayo and mustard - make sure they’re of good quality too as they can really make or break a salad.

St Judes tuna
Essential tuna salad
essential tuna salad

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essential tuna salad

  • prep time: 10 minutes

  • makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans St. Jude Tuna with juice

  • 2 tbsp finely chopped red onion

  • 2 tbsp finely chopped celery

  • 1/2 cup good mayo

  • 1 tsp good Dijon mustard

  • 1 tsp chives, finely sliced

  • 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped

  • 1/4 tsp pepper

  • optional: add salt to taste as the tuna already contains sea salt

Equipment:

  • medium bowl

Directions:

Add tuna to bowl and break up with fork. Add remaining ingredients and combine well.

Serve with greens and your favorite toppings.

Here’s a tasty take on the classic tuna salad made with the delicious @joemalley St. Jude Tuna. It makes for the perfect meal prep and takes just minutes to make. #tunasalad #tuna #ad #calmeats #whole30 #paleo #classictunasalad #seafood #cannedtuna #quickmeals #stjudetuna

fennel avocado citrus and shrimp salad

fennel, avocado, citrus and shrimp salad
fennel, avocado, citrus and shrimp salad
old forks
fennel, avocado, citrus and shrimp salad
fennel, avocado, citrus and shrimp salad

Confession. I didn't try shrimp until my early 20s - in fact, I didn't eat seafood at all until then. I know, I must have been out of my mind. The thing is, we didn't have much seafood growing up. I shouldn't even use the word much - we didn't have any

In order to purchase even meat, often times my parents and grandparents had to wait hours in line at some shoddy warehouse in order to get it. I recall losing my very first tooth while keeping my grandfather company trying to purchase chicken. A wobbly tooth, a bite of an apple, gone. But yes, that's how things were done if you wanted the luxury of eating meat. I don't often think about that part of my life when going to the supermarket and picking up chicken thighs. But I digress...

So seafood. It intimidated me and was unfamiliar so I kept my distance. My mother, who still to this day refuses to touch it, never cooked any. After all, we ate how we learned to in Romania and Germany. And the diet I adopted in my teens once we moved here included ample amount of pizza, cereal, whatever my mom cooked, more junk and then then I eventually turned to a quasi-vegan lifestyle. In a nutshell, a disaster but never included any seafood. 

But things changed drastically once I started college. In addition to my meeting new people I was also introduced to new food and started eating differently. No, wings from Domino's at 1am were not one of them, but there was shrimp. The first time I tried it was when friends put together a dinner. Out of respect, I decided to try one. Embarrassingly enough I had to ask for instructions. The rest is history. 

Today I eat seafood more than any other food. Shrimp, salmon, sardines, scallops, tuna - I love it all! And particularly like the versatility of shrimp as it takes minutes to cook and is fairly inexpensive. 

Probably one of my favorite ways of eating shrimp is with avocado and citrus. For this salad, I used orange, avocado and fennel. If you're not a big fan of licorice, roasting it for a few minutes will cut down on the sometimes overpowering taste. I happen to love fennel and like it raw or roasted. For this dish, roasting it for 10 minutes provides a nice balance to the other ingredients. It's quick to make and is the ideal lunch if you're looking for something refreshing and light. 

fennel, avocado, citrus and shrimp salad
fennel, avocado, citrus and shrimp salad
fennel, avocado, citrus and shrimp salad

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fennel avocado citrus and shrimp salad

  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • cooking time: 10 minutes

  • makes: 2 servings

Ingredients

Salad:

  • 1 fennel bulb

  • 2 tbsp olive oil divided

  • 2 oranges, segmented

  • 1 avocado, cut into slices

  • 8-10 jumbo shrimp

  • salt and pepper to taste

Dressing: 

  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp lemon juice

  • 1/4 tsp fresh pepper

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Equipment

  • grill pan or frying pan

  • mixing bowl

  • small mixing bowl

  • baking sheet

  • parchment paper

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In small mixing bowl, combine shrimp, 1 tbsp olive oil, salt, pepper and toss to combine. Set aside.

Meanwhile, cut fennel in half and peel outside layer. Cut into thin slices and spread evenly on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and pour over 1 tbsp olive oil. Toss to combine. Roast for 10 minutes stirring once half way. 

Next, with a pairing knife, cut peel off the orange and segment all the orange slices. Reserve the remaining orange and squeeze 1 tbsp orange juice into large bowl. Add the rest of dressing ingredients and whisk well.

Add segmented orange, avocado and roasted fennel and combine with dressing. 

Next grill shrimp for 2-3 minutes per side until fully cooked.

Add a good handful of salad to and top with shrimp. Enjoy! 


If you’re looking for a healthy and easy shrimp salad, try this fennel, avocado and citrus salad topped with grilled shrimp. It’s a burst of flavor in every single bite. This shrimp salad is also paleo and whole 30 approved. #shrimpsalad #shrimp #seafood #citrussalad #citrus #avocado #paleosalad #whole30sdalad #calmeats #whole30recipes #paleorecipes #seafoodrecipes #easyseafoodrecipes #simpleseafoodrecipes #quickrecipes