How to Make the Perfect Niçoise Salad

How to Make the Perfect Salad Nicoise ~ a colorful and healthy main course salad ~

How to Make the Perfect Niçoise Salad ~ this healthy main course tuna salad is one of the best ever invented… it’s colorful, protein packed, and so satisfying ~ the French just have a flair for putting together simple but powerful flavors.

*This post is is sponsored by Genova Seafood®  – thank you for supporting me and my brand partners – I only work with companies that I love, and they help keep TVFGI up and cooking!

How to Make the Perfect Nicoise Salad ~ this main course salad is gorgeous, full of protein, and utterly delicious!

I think every cook should know how to throw a Niçoise (pronounced nee-swaz) salad together. In fact, if you’ve got a reasonably well stocked kitchen, you probably have most if not all of the ingredients right there in your pantry and fridge. It makes an impromptu dinner that you can customize to any season, and it’s an eye-popping centerpiece when you want to impress. Everybody from Martha Stewart to Gwyneth Paltrow has put their spin on it… mine dials up the color with purple fingerling potatoes, bright heirloom radishes, fire engine red Little Beak peppers, (I found those at my supermarket’s olive bar!) and golden cherry tomatoes. Genova wild caught albacore tuna anchors it all.

How to Make the Perfect Salad Nicoise ~ a colorful and healthy main course salad ~

Nicoise Salad is an example of a composed salad. That just means the ingredients are artfully arranged instead of tossed.

I’m a huge fan of the technique, I think it makes a salad so beautiful and so much more enticing. You can do this on a large platter or in a wide shallow bowl. (You can also create individual salad plates.)  The presentation is gorgeous, and makes a particularly good choice for entertaining ~ perfect for a spring holiday table, a book club luncheon, or a Mother’s Day brunch. A lot of the salads I do here on the blog are composed salads, and it’s a fun technique to play with. You can read more about it and see examples in my 7 Tips for Show Stopping Salads. 

How to Make the Perfect Salad Nicoise ~ a colorful and healthy main course salad ~

Of course the highlight of any Salad Nicoise is the tuna. But not just any tuna…it should be top quality tuna in olive oil for the best flavor and texture. The Europeans have been enjoying premium canned tuna for generations, in fact it’s considered a luxury food over there, but we Americans are a little late getting the memo.

How to Make the Perfect Salad Nicoise ~ a colorful and healthy main course salad ~

Genova tuna has a fresh, delicate flavor with zero fishy odor or canned taste. If you have any members of your family who turn their noses up at tuna, try Genova, it converted my daughter, and she was a tough one! I love the new flip top cans, too, because I don’t even have to haul out the can opener when I need a mid-day protein boost.

Genova Albacore Tuna for Nicoise Salad

Genova has just launched an interesting app that allows you to trace the source, processing location and fishing method of your specific can of tuna, how cool is that? You can check it out HERE.

When you enter the code from the bottom of your tuna can you’ll get all this info~

  • What is My Tuna?  They’ll identify your species and tell you a little bit about it.
  • Where Was My Tuna Caught? These results include a world map showing the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Area where the tuna or other seafood was caught, and a link to a species-specific stock status report from the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF).
  • What Fishing Method Was Used? This section includes both the fishing method and vessel size.
  • What Fishing Vessel Caught My Tuna? This information includes fishing vessel name, nation of registry and fishing trip start and end dates.
  • Where was My Tuna Processed and Canned? The can code indicates where the seafood was processed and canned.
  • How Does Genova Support Sustainability?

These are really important questions if care about your own health and the health of the planet ~ bravo Genova!


3.37 from 52 votes

How to Make the Perfect Salad Nicoise

How to Make the Perfect Niçoise Salad ~ this healthy main course tuna salad is one of the best ever invented... it's colorful, protein packed, and so satisfying ~ the French just have a flair for putting together simple but powerful flavors.
Course lunch, Main Course
Cuisine French
Prep Time 10 minutes
Yield 4 servings
Author Sue Moran


  • 1 small head of crisp lettuce your choice, rinsed, dried, and chopped
  • 3 Tbsp fresh tarragon leaves
  • 3 Tbsp fresh dill chopped
  • 1 cup white beans either navy or cannellini, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Persian cucumber thinly sliced
  • handful baby carrots raw
  • 1 cup baby purple potatoes cooked and halved
  • 1 cup yellow cherry tomatoes halved
  • about 6 baby radishes
  • handful green beans preferably French, lightly steamed
  • 2-3 hard cooked eggs halved
  • 1/3 cup Bird Beak peppers
  • 1/3 cup black olives your choice, I used oil cured
  • 1-2 cans Genova Albacore Tuna in olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp capers


  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1 Tbsp mustard
  • 1 Tbsp yellow mustard seeds
  • salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste


  • Whisk together the dressing ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more lemon juice if you like.
  • Put the lettuce in a wide shallow salad bowl or platter and arrange the tarragon leaves over the lettuce.
  • Toss the beans with a little of the dressing, and some of the fresh dill. Pile the beans into a heap on the edge of the salad, leaving the center free for the tuna.
  • Arrange the cucumber slices and carrots in little piles next to the beans.
  • Toss the potatoes with a little of the dressing and dill, and add them to the salad. Arrange the tomatoes, radishes, green beans, eggs, peppers, and olives in a similar manner all around the edge of the platter.
  • Put the tuna in the center of the salad and top with the capers. Scatter the fresh dill over all.
  • Drizzle with the dressing just before serving. Add salt and pepper to taste.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.


  • Please don’t stress over exact amounts…my measurements are just guidelines, fill your platter with the ingredients in any way you see fit and it will be delicious!
  • Other possible Nicoise salad ingredients are anchovies, artichokes, red onion, asparagus, bell peppers, marinated mushrooms, marinated feta or mozarella cheese, watercress, basil, etc.

Don’t forget to pin it!

How to Make the Perfect Niçoise Salad ~ this healthy main course salad is one of the best ever invented... it's colorful, protein packed, and so satisfying. #tuna #cannedtuna #paleo #whole30 #glutenfree #lunch #dinner #salad #French #maincoursesalad #beans

You Might Also Like


    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    Myrna Diederichsen
    May 25, 2019 at 11:47 am

    If you are serving this beautiful salad as a main course for lunch would you have crusty rolls or something with it?

    • Reply
      May 25, 2019 at 12:40 pm

      I think a nice crusty loaf of bread or rolls would be perfect! You might make some herbed butter to go along with it.

  • Reply
    June 4, 2017 at 7:07 pm

    Lovely Salad, I just have one question though. Could you suggest a mustard type? When I don’t see a specific I just think yellow mustard but that can’t be right.


    • Reply
      June 4, 2017 at 8:20 pm

      I think the obvious choice would be Dijon, Megan, and you could use the smooth or, my favorite, the grainy.

  • Reply
    Sharon @ Savormania
    February 27, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    This is my husband’s favorite salad! I love that you add white beans to your version. I will try that next time!

  • Reply
    John/Kitchen Riffs
    February 8, 2017 at 8:26 am

    Love this salad! I usually compose individual plates when I’m making this — more work, but worth doing. And this dish cries out for canned tuna (good stuff, of course, like you used). It’s nice with a tuna steak plopped on top, but it’s just not the same. Good stuff — thanks.

  • Reply
    Taylor Kiser
    February 8, 2017 at 6:30 am

    Composed salads are so gorgeous! Love all the colors and flavors! Your nicoise salad looks so delicious!

  • Reply
    February 7, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    This looks so good! So pretty!

  • Reply
    Jennie @onesweetmess
    February 7, 2017 at 11:34 am

    I puffy heart Genova tuna. Love this salad!

  • Reply
    Karen (Back Road Journal)
    February 7, 2017 at 6:51 am

    Your salad is beautifully presented and more substantial than most. It is really a lovely meal.

  • Reply
    Laura | Tutti Dolci
    February 6, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    This salad is just gorgeous and so beautifully arranged. If only my Monday lunch looked this good! 😉

    • Reply
      February 6, 2017 at 7:38 pm

      There’s always Tuesday 😉

  • Reply
    Robyn Gleason
    February 6, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    Wow, Sue, such a perfect salad to showcase some delicious tuna! I just love heirloom radishes – so dang cute! So are the golden tomatoes. You’re making me long for summer. I agree with Tricia, your salads are always a work of art. Shared 🙂

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Show Me the Yummy
    February 6, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    What a gorgeous salad! I had my first Niçoise Salad in Italy a few years ago and have been obsessed ever since!

  • Reply
    maris (in good taste)
    February 6, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    That really does look perfect! So bright and refreshing and makes me think of Spring!

  • Reply
    Karen @ Seasonal Cravings
    February 6, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    Everyone should know how to make a salad so beautiful! Love it!

  • Reply
    Liz @ The Lemon Bowl
    February 6, 2017 at 9:55 am

    This salad is absolutely gorgeous!! I love nicoise so much!

  • Reply
    February 6, 2017 at 7:13 am

    You had me at ‘zero fishy odor’. I can’t stand tuna that smells like cat food! I’ll check out Genova, I think I saw it at TJs.

    • Reply
      February 6, 2017 at 7:14 am

      I believe they do have it at Trader Joes and I agree about the cat food 😉

  • Reply
    Tina Dawson | Love is in my Tummy
    February 6, 2017 at 7:12 am

    OMG! This is the prettiest salad I’ve ever seen! I almost don’t want to eat it. Ok that’s a lie.

  • Reply
    Sarah @ Champagne Tastes
    February 6, 2017 at 6:52 am

    So apparently I’ve been pronouncing nicoise wrong this whole time! hahaha.. This looks gorgeous! And I’ll look for that tuna- I’m always trying to figure out which canned tuna to buy!

    • Reply
      February 6, 2017 at 6:57 am

      Haha ~ I always wonder whether to include the little pronunciation thing, but it sometimes comes in handy 🙂 And go for the Genova, Sarah, you won’t be disappointed!

  • Reply
    Gloria @ Homemade & Yummy
    February 6, 2017 at 6:47 am

    That is a beautiful looking salad. Love how simple elements come together to create such a flavourful dish. Perfect for lunch or dinner.

  • Reply
    February 6, 2017 at 6:41 am

    This is the best salad I’ve ever seen!

    • Reply
      February 6, 2017 at 7:06 am

      Thanks Erren!

  • Reply
    Veena Azmanov
    February 6, 2017 at 6:16 am

    I LOVE how colorful this is. A full plate of gorgeousness!! The dressing sounds yum.

  • Reply
    Lauren Kelly Nutrition
    February 6, 2017 at 6:13 am

    This is BEYOND gorgeous!! I just love all of these colors!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    February 6, 2017 at 5:27 am

    Absolutely beautiful! Love a nicoise salad and yours is perfect 🙂

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s Recipes
    February 6, 2017 at 4:44 am

    This could be the BEST Nicoise salad that I have ever seen, Sue.

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    February 6, 2017 at 4:11 am

    Wow, – this is a perfect salad indeed. Except that it’s not my lunch today! Love that app too, really cool!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    February 6, 2017 at 3:59 am

    Oh my this is one gorgeous plates of deliciousness! You are a salad artist for sure. Love all these colors and flavors and I bet the dressing is great. Super video too! Love it 🙂

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!

Grab my latest e-book

for free!

Subscribe to get first dibs on all my new recipes, plus extra subscriber only benefits!


You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

You have Successfully Subscribed!