This is my take on the classic Tuna Nicoise Salad with a slightly spicy parsley and mustard dressing. It has been one of my lunch favorites for a while now, since it’s really easy to prep and bring with me wherever I go. I also love that I can eat a huge bowl, which will make me feel full for hours, without getting too many calories.
Tuna Salad Nicoise is, in my opinion, one of the tastiest and prettiest salads you can make. It’s one of the few dishes you can make look like a fancy restaurant meal without even trying. And it’s really easy to make too. Just follow the steps below:
Making the Tuna Nicoise Salad dressing
The dressing is really what makes a classic salad nicoise. You can, of course, go with a simple vinaigrette, but spicing it up just a little bit adds a completely new level of tastiness to the salad.
My favorite salad nicoise dressing is made from olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, parsley, and pepper. Very easy to make but incredibly tasty! You simply chop the parsley (lots of parsley!) finely and mix all the ingredients. The parsley soaks up so much of the oil and vinegar that the vinaigrette gets a thick, almost creamy, consistency and sticks to the tuna and salad.
Cooking the tuna
As always when you eat tuna (or any other fish that is served partially raw), remember to buy high-quality fish that is suitable for sushi. Tuna is probably the safest fish to eat raw, but you still want to make sure it has been treated right and is fresh.
The trick to cooking a tuna steak is to get your pan really hot before adding the tuna. You want to sear the tuna steak for just 2-3 minutes on each side (depending on how well done you like it). I personally don’t think tuna that has been cooked all the way through is worth eating, but that’s personal preference. I like my tuna very rare, or even completely raw as in Ahi Tuna Poke.
Choosing nicoise salad ingredients
The great thing about this Tuna Salad Nicoise is that you can add (almost) whatever veggies you like to make it fit your meal plan. Most salad nicoise recipes include potatoes, but I left them out to reduce the carbs. As a result, this huge salad only has 400 calories and 18.5 grams of carbs. It also packs a whopping 39 grams of protein. That’s perfect for a healthy meal!
You can also use almost any leafy salad instead of the spinach I used. The only salad types I would avoid are the bitter ones like arugula or radicchio, which would overpower the more subtle tuna and parsley flavors.
I often put together a quick salad nicoise from whatever I have in the fridge. If I don’t have tuna (which I typically don’t have lying around), I will use chicken or beef strips instead. The only thing I never leave out is the boiled egg. You just have to have egg in a salad nicoise!
More healthy salad recipes
I am a huge fan of healthy and easy salad recipes. Here are a few of my favorites:
When you’ve tried this Tuna Nicoise Salad, please don’t forget to let me know how you liked it and rate the recipe in the comments below!
Tuna Nicoise Salad
- 4 oz. ahi tuna steak
- 1 whole egg
- 3 oz. baby spinach (2 cups)
- 2 oz. green beans
- 1½ oz. broccoli
- ½ red bell pepper
- 3½ oz. cucumber
- 1 radish
- 3 large black olives
- Handful of parsley
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
- ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp. pepper
- Boil the egg and set it aside to cool.
- Steam broccoli and beans and set aside (2-3 minutes in the microwave with a little water does the trick or 3 minutes in a pot of boiling water).
- Season the tuna with pepper on all sides and cook it in a pan with a little oil on high heat for 2 minutes on each side.
- Put the cleaned spinach into the bowl or plate you want to serve the salad in.
- Cut bell pepper, cucumber, and egg into dice-sized pieces and add to the spinach.
- Cut the radish into slices and add together with the broccoli, beans, and olives.
- Slice the tuna and add to the salad.
- Whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper.
- Chop the parsley and add it to the vinaigrette.
- Use a spoon to drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad or use it as a dipping sauce.