Take your taste buds on a trip to the French Riviera with this colorful and healthy Vegetarian Niçoise Salad. It’s ideal for a sunny day, and will leave you feeling filled and happy.
This easy Niçoise salad is my shortcut, budget-friendly take on a classic Niçoise salad, a salad that originated in Nice but is wildly popular throughout France.
(For those who are curious, “nee-swaz” is how you pronounce Niçoise in French.)
- Traditional Niçoise Salad is composed of tomatoes, tuna, anchovies, olives, and hard-boiled eggs.
- Lettuce is optional (but common), as are other mix-ins such as rice, green beans, or potatoes.
It was one of my favorite lunches during our trip to France (along with cups of Instant Pot French Onion Soup), and I’ve been craving it ever since.
I swapped the tuna and anchovies typically used for salad Niçoise with white beans, which are budget friendly and I always have in my pantry.
As a bonus, with the white bean swap, vegetarians and anchovy skeptics can now jump aboard the salad Niçoise train, a very very tasty place to be.
How to Make Vegetarian Nicoise Salad
Bright summer veggies, a zippy fresh Niçoise salad dressing, creamy eggs, hearty white beans, and salty olives unite!
Vegetarian Niçoise salad is a taste of the Riviera, brought to your dining room table!
Why is it Called Nicoise Salad?
This salad gets its name from the place it originated. The English meaning of Niçoise is “of Nice,” because it was first created in the town of Nice, France.
- Mixed Greens. Incorporating mixed greens into my nicoise salad adds extra vitamins and gives the yummy dressing something else to cling to.
- Hard-Boiled Eggs. The labor of love to peel them is more than worth the creaminess and extra protein satisfaction they bring to the salad. Please don’t skip them (and you can use this Instant Pot Boiled Eggs recipe to make them). Also, the yolks are so pretty!
- Green Beans. Fresh, crisp green beans add a tasty crunch to the salad.
- Tomatoes. I used cherry tomatoes because they are adorable, delightfully sweet, and yummy, but any sliced tomato will do nicely.
- Cucumber. Refreshing and crisp cucumber tastes wonderful in this salad.
- Olives. You can’t have a salad without delicious, salty olives.
- White Beans. My vegetarian swap for the traditional tuna and anchovies. They’re wonderfully creamy and help make the salad more filling. You can use Great Northern or cannellini beans, which are creamy. For a firmer texture, use chickpeas.
- Parsley. Fresh parsley brings the salad to life.
- Vinaigrette. The vinaigrette I used is my go-to salad French-ish dressing. A quick mix of Dijon mustard, lemon, shallots, and olive oil, it tastes fabulous on everything from vegetables, to bruschetta, to hard-boiled eggs.
- Hard boil the eggs. Peel and cut them into wedges.
- Blanch the green beans. Or you could use Roasted Green Beans instead of blanching.
- Whisk the dressing ingredients together.
- Add the greens, tomatoes, cucumber, and green beans to a large bowl. Toss with the salad dressing. Top with the white beans, olives, eggs, parsley, and pepper. DIG IN!
- To Store. Cover and refrigerate leftover salad for up to 2 days.
Meal Prep Tip
Up to 1 week in advance, prepare the hard-boiled eggs and refrigerate them in their shells until you’re ready to use them.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Mixing Bowls. You can prepare and serve the salad in these bowls.
- Saucepan. Ideal for hard-boiling the eggs.
- Whisk. A must-have kitchen tool.
With a flavorful mixture of fresh and pantry ingredients, this salad perfectly bridges the gap between simple and special. I hope it brings a taste of the Riviera to your table soon!
Frequently Asked Questions
If you need to make this salad vegan, simply omit the eggs.
This vegetarian Niçoise salad is very lunchbox-friendly! Pack the greens separately from the other salad ingredients so they stay crisp. Keep the dressing in a small jar. Just before serving, toss it all together and enjoy!
Yes, you can certainly include additional protein in this salad if you prefer. For those who want to stay true to a classic Niçoise salad, you can incorporate tuna and/or anchovies. For a Niçoise salad without tuna, you could use Baked Salmon in Foil, Grilled Salmon in Foil, Poached Salmon, Pan Seared Salmon, or Air Fryer Salmon to create a salmon Niçoise salad.
Vegetarian Niçoise Salad
For the Salad:
- 3 large eggs at room temperature
- 6 ounces green beans (ends trimmed)
- 4 ounces mixed greens
- 6 ounces cherry tomatoes halved if large
- 1 small cucumber seeded and diced
- 1/3 cup small black olives or halved large olives, pitted
- 7 ounces white beans such as cannellini, rinsed and drained
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf or curly parsley
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Hard boil the eggs: In a small pot, bring just enough water to cover the eggs to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and gently lower the eggs in with a slotted spoon. Bring water to a low, rumbling boil, then let cook for 9 minutes. A few minutes before the eggs are finished cooking, prepare an ice bath. Remove the eggs from the boiling water and plunge into the cold water. Let rest a few minutes, then tap the eggs with the back of a spoon to crack them (this will make peeling easier). Return to the ice water to cool completely, then peel and cut into wedges.
- Blanch the green beans: Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then drop in green beans. Boil until bright green and crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drop the cooked beans into an ice bath to shock the green beans and stop the cooking (for ease, empty then refill the ice bath used for the eggs). Drain and set aside.
- Prepare the dressing: Whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, shallot, and salt. While whisking, drizzle in the olive oil. (Alternatively, you can shake all of the dressing ingredients together in a tightly-sealed mason jar.)
- Place the salad greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and green beans in a large salad bowl and toss with the desired amount of dressing, reserving some to drizzle on at the end (any extra dressing can be reserved for a later time). Scatter white beans and olives over the top, then arrange eggs around the sides. Drizzle with remaining vinaigrette and sprinkle with parsley and black pepper.
- TO MAKE AHEAD: Hard-boiled eggs can be refrigerated in their shells for about 1 week.
- TO STORE: Cover and refrigerate leftover salad for up to 2 days.
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