Spring Salad Niçoise

Spring salad nocoise (via abeautifulmess.com)  If you are ever at a restaurant and see salad niçoise on the menu, I highly recommend you give it a try. There are probably one million variations on this classic salad, but most of them involve hard boiled eggs, potatoes, and olives. Plus, the salad is often served in a segmented fashion that I think is both pretty and fun to eat. Sort of reminds me of being a kid and "needing" to keep different foods on my plate separated. 

Spring salad nocoise (via abeautifulmess.com)   This version is all about spring flavors like asparagus and butter lettuce. The dressing is a lemony vinaigrette because I love the taste of asparagus and lemon together. So bright and flavorful but still totally good for you. I'm trying to get more into salads this season, and the weather is warming up. So this one is a real treat as well as super filling. 

How to cook asparagusSpring Salad Niçoise, serves 2-3 as a meal.

For the salad:
10-12 asparagus stalks (I saw white and green at the store so I got both!)
one head butter lettuce
3-4 strawberries
2-3 new potatoes
2-3 hard boiled eggs
5-6 niçoise olives (or Kalamata if you can't find niçoise)
protein of choice (options: cooked shrimp, canned tuna, or cubed tofu)
*You can easily change up the salad ingredients based on what is available where you live

For the dressing:
juice from 2 lemons
1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
2-3 tablespoons parsley
salt + pepper to taste

I like to cook at least 5-6 hard boiled eggs at once to use in this salad, and then have more throughout the week. Might as well if you're going to the trouble, right? I'll often do this a day or two before I make a salad so it's already done. This cuts your prep time down substantially. 

You can hard boil eggs by placing eggs in a pot filled with enough water to cover the eggs. Bring to boil over medium heat. Place the lid on top, remove from heat, and allow the eggs to continue to cook for 10 minutes. Strain from the water, and once cool enough to handle, peel for use. Or you can leave them unpeeled in the refrigerator for 4-5 days (probably longer, but I usually just make enough to last me this long). Another method is to bake eggs in the oven.

Lemon nicoise dressingRemove the woody ends from the asparagus stalks. Clean and slice the potatoes. Boil the potatoes in salted water until just tender. During the last 4-6 minutes, add the asparagus to the same pot and cook until the green ones turn bright green and are tender and easy to bite through. Strain and rinse in cool water.

For the dressing, combine in a medium or small mixing bowl the lemon juice, mustard, garlic and shallot. Slowly drizzle the olive oil in as you whisk so it will blend together well. Toss in the parsley. Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking.

Spring salad nocoise (via abeautifulmess.com)Once all the different components are ready, simply slice everything up, plate, and top with the dressing. Here's to exciting and flavorful salads! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

  • I love salad nicoise! I usually eat it a ton in the summertime, but not during any other season. Strawberries and asparagus will be great additions next time I make one.
    -E

  • That looks incredible! I am making it this week. Thanks for the idea!!

  • I’ve never had strawberries in a salad but it looks so good!

    My Morning Routine | Spring 2015

  • This looks SO good.
    Definitely going to be my lunch tomorrow. I might even have some leftover sweet potato… aww yes!!

    Lily (Eat Pretty)

  • Where I live we call this salad “salpicón”, because you pretty much use little bits of everything you have in your fridge. It’s super fresh and filling, one of my favorites (I usually add tuna because yum).

  • ah ah this is so funny to see how it looks great and beautiful here, whereas it’s not really the case, where it comes from (for the ones wondering : it’s french, from the south of france to be precise)
    and i have to say that no, in the real version, you won’t find potatoes, ever. but rice! and many other nice things such as olives, tomatoes, tuna, cucumber, artichoke…
    😉

  • Really?! Rice you say. How interesting! I’ve always seen it served with some kind of cooked potato. I wonder if the potato is an American thing? Hmm.

    -Emma

  • This looks SO delicious! We tend to fall in “salad ruts” in our little house, and this is definitely a recipe to freshen things up a bit! Also, I just want to eat a million strawberries… haha. Yum!

    Always, Anita

  • Oh wow, I had no idea white asparagus was a thing over there with you! I live in Germany, where they are bonkers for what they call ‘white gold”. I’m fascinated to see it used as part of a salad Niçoise – having lived in France as well, I’ve never see it in one – the potatoes neither, but what’s wrong with adapting a recipe? Makes it your own! 🙂

  • Yes! I feel like this is one of those meals that is so incredibly healthy, delicious, and simple…yet never one that I remember to make at home. I love mine with Italian canned tuna that’s been packed in olive oil. Now I’ll have to make it!

  • This looks delicious! I make mine with potatoes, green beans, hard boiled egg, fresh tuna steak, capers and olives. Sometimes I also add cucumber. If this is on the menu I always like to order it because it is really delicious, filling and also super healthy!
    Inma
    sunshineandglow.blogspot.co.uk

  • love it! and how timely. i recently became obsessed with an ahi tuna salad nicoise at my favorite Austin date night spot my boyfriend and i go to regularly (blue dahlia bistro: http://www.bluedahliabistro.com/). i actually just tried to recreate it last week with grilled salmon! this salad is so nourishing to eat and combines so many of my favorite flavors! in place of the asparagus, i used fresh and crunchy green beans, lightly steamed for three minutes. also: capers. SO important, especially if you can’t find the olives you want.

  • There’s this line in one of my favourite movies from when i was younger – White Chicks. In it the girl is making fun of another girl and says “Your mother is so dumb that she orders a nicoise salad and called it a ni-coy salad.” This made me think of that immediately! I’ve never known what that was until now! This is hilarious! ahah looks so good I’ll have to try it now!

  • A kiss from Nice (french riviera) Where the salade nicoise come from it’s not the exact recipy but it looks good 🙂

  • maybe it’s because we put rice (cold, of course) in almost anything during summer time, to create many different salads!
    whereas we prefer to eat potatoes hot and not cold?! well, in fact i don’t really know, but that’s how i like potatoes 🙂

  • Looks delish! Can you eat the white asparagus without peeling it? Here in Germany you are always told to peel the white!

  • Question: If I wanted to make this in a jar, do you think it would work to have the dressing and then the potato, egg, tuna, asparagus etc, or do you think the potato would go a bit funny? I love me some salads in jars… Haha

  • My best friend came over for dinner tonight, and I was so proud to serve up this healthy and beautiful (so colorful!) entree salad. I never would have thought to cook the potatoes and asparagus together, but what a time saver! It worked so well. Thanks for the idea – you made me look like a culinary hero!

  • Hey!That looks like a great salad to eat during springtime and I will make it as soon as I can! But, as a real Niçoise (yep, I was born in Nice where the salad comes from), the only ingredient right in your salad is the eggs… No potatoes, no rice!And there’s only one way to make it (ask the Niçois, they would faint to see your recipe with strawberries ^^) Just tomatoes, green and red peppers, black olives(little ones from Nice),tuna, eggs, anchovis, raw purple artichokes, radishes, raw onions, olive oil, salt and pepper and that’s it! And if you want to make a Pan Bagnat (sandwich from Nice), you take all this ingredients and put it into little round bread with loads of olive oil to steep the bread and that’s so good!!! I come as the know-it-all kinda gal and I’m sorry about that, I just want you to know the real recipe so you can try and enjoy it and be able to say “yep, that’s the real recipe”. The more I read your blog, the more I enjoy it, it is becoming more than a blog but also a place of exchange and communication and I love it! Don’t hesitate to contact me if you need any french recipe, I would so much enjoy sharing some tips with you! Have a good day or a good night (depends on the clock) xxx Eugénie

  • A traditional Salad Niçoise, originating from the Nice area of the South of France, contains tuna, tomatos, olives, anchovies, hard boiled egg and green leaves. The cooked veg, potatos and green beans are a later addition, not sure who added them but they are included in some restaurants versions of Salad Niçoise in other parts of Europe, so i don’t think it is just an American thing.