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white platter topped with salad nicoise: tuna, small red potatoes, sliced hard boiled eggs, nicoise olives and French green beans

Tuna Salad Niçoise

  • Author: Lisa
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 mins
  • Yield: 6 1x


This composed salad with tuna, fresh vegetables and eggs makes a lovely presentation as well as a healthy and delicious meal. Perfect for lunch, brunch, or dinner.


Units Scale

For The Vinaigrette

  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard (such as Grey Poupon)
  • 1 large shallot, finely minced (3 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

For The Salad

  • 1 head of Bibb (butter) lettuce or 4 cups of baby arugula
  • 1 1/2 pounds of fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold or Yellow Finn Potatoes (to substitute fingerlings, baby New Potatoes or other potatoes, see notes below)
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 2 8-oz cans canned Italian tuna in oil, drained and flaked (or you can use fresh seared, sliced sushi-grade tuna)
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chilled
  • 1/4 cup niçoise olives (or kalamata olives)
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved or 3 large tomatoes cut into wedges (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained (optional)
  • 6 whole anchovies, from a 2-oz can of flat anchovies in olive oil (optional)
  • A bunch of fresh chopped chives or tarragon leaves (optional but highly recommended)


  1. Whisk the lemon juice, mustard, shallot, mustard, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Whisk in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream until thick and emulsified. Set dressing aside.
  2. Boil the green beans in salted water for 3-4 minutes or until just cooked through, but still crisp and bright green. Drain and immediately plunge them into a bowl of ice water. Beans can be cooked a day ahead, kept in the fridge wrapped in a damp paper towel, inside a sealed plastic baggy.
  3. Scrub or peel potatoes and cut them into 1/4-inch slices crosswise, placing slices in a large bowl of cold water, as you go, to prevent browning. Boil potatoes in salted water for 5 minutes or until they are fork-tender. (They will soften a bit more as they cool.) Drain and transfer them to a large bowl. Season with salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Toss gently and let them cool for 10 minutes or so. Potatoes can be stored overnight in an airtight container in the fridge. (see notes below for more details and substitutions)
  4. Cut the eggs crosswise into thin slices or cut them in half or into quarters. Do this step at the last minute.
  5. Compose the salad on a large platter or arrange it onto individual plates. Line a large platter (or plates) with lettuce (trick: for Bibb lettuce, if the leaves curl too much, crack the thick white spines gently to help them lie flat). Arrange ingredients in separate piles around the platter. I like to start with the tuna - slightly off center - and work around it. Sprinkle tomatoes, green beans, eggs and tuna with little salt and pepper. Toss the potatoes with a few tablespoons of dressing, before adding them. Drizzle dressing over everything else except the olives, capers and anchovies. If there's any remaining dressing, serve it on the side. Sprinkle fresh herbs over everything and serve.


Which Potatoes Are Best for a Nicoise Salad? Any potatoes can be used for this salad. Tiny, bite-sized potatoes can be left whole and boiled until tender. For larger potatoes, slice them or cut them in half, boil them and toss them with a tablespoon of vinegar or with a little of the lemon vinaigrette, and season them with salt and pepper, to taste.  Or, if you have the time and you want something extra special, make French Potato Salad for your Tuna Niçoise salad, as Julia Child recommends. Boiled potatoes or potato salad can be made up to two days ahead and refrigerated.

Prepare and Plate the Tuna Nicoise Salad ahead of time: This salad can be prepared and plated up 2-3 hours ahead of time and kept, covered with plastic wrap, in the fridge. Allow it to come to room temperature before serving.

  • Prep Time: 1 hour 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Category: Lunch, Brunch, or Dinner
  • Method: boil
  • Cuisine: French

Keywords: French composed salad, Nicoise Salad with lemon vinaigrette, Tuna salad nicoise with lemon shallot vinaigrette