Dive Into Flavor with the Vibrant Tuna Niçoise Salad

What salad from the sun-kissed city of Nice, France, should you add to your evening meal repertoire?

It’s Tuna Niçoise Salad.

It is a celebration of simplicity and flavors.

The original version of Niçoise salad was even more simple: salted tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, anchovies, and olive oil. It was considered a much beloved poor man’s meal.

Then August Escoffier, a French chef who is known as the king of chefs and the chefs to kings and whose work spanned the 18th and 19th centuries, added boiled potatoes and green beans to the salad.

And there’s been controversy ever since from the purists who say that’s not traditional.

But it stuck and most often today you will see boiled potatoes and green beans in a Niçoise salad along with capers, olives, and canned tuna.


Cooking Up Fun: Pan-Searing Tuna

There is no shame in using canned tuna in this salad.

It’s quick, easy, and tuna packed in oil is delish and one of my weeknight go-tos.

Elevate your Tuna Niçoise Salad experience with pan-seared tuna.

It’s simple and fast.

Heat a pan over medium-high heat and add a splash of olive oil, just enough to coat the bottom of the skillet. Season the tuna on both sides, lay it in the skillet for not more than 1-2 minutes on each side. You’re aiming for a beautifully browned crust with a rare to medium-rare center.


Fresh, Flavorful Ingredients in Tuna Niçoise Salad

But before the fun of pan-searing, make the dressing for your salad and prep your veggies.

1. The Dressing. Whisk together olive oil, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest, minced shallots and Dijon mustard. Set that aside for the flavors to meld.

2. Red Potatoes. Cut the red potatoes into wedges and simmer in salted water for 8 minutes, or just until perfectly tender. Drain the potatoes and toss them in a bit of dressing as soon as they are done so they absorb the flavors of the dressing.

3. Green Beans. Cut green beans into 2-inch lengths and pan-steam them in salted water for two minutes. Shock them in an ice bath to stop the cooking. This cooking process ensures bright-colored green beans.

Toss these veggies together with dressing and plate them. Garnish with Niçoise olives, capers and a perfectly boiled egg cut into quarters. Lay your seared tuna on top.

Take a step back, admire your creation, give thanks, and dig into your Tuna Niçoise Salad.

Make it today and enjoy it at the table with your friends and family.

Learn how to perfectly boil and egg.

How To Perfectly Boil An Egg


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Tuna Niçoise Salad

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Tuna Niçoise Salad is the perfect salad when you want a ray of sunshine in your life and on your plate. And it’s easy to make on a weeknight.

  • Author: Chef Sandra Lewis
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


Units Scale


  • 4 6oz tuna filets
  • 1 lb small red potatoes, quartered
  • 8 oz green beans, trim and sliced into 2-inch pieces
  • 16 grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 4 boiled eggs, quartered
  • 1/4 cup Niçoise or kalamata olives
  • 4 teaspoons capers
  • kosher salt
  • red pepper flakes, optional
  • chopped parsley, optional


  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 4.5 tablespoons shallots, minced
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • kosher salt


  1. Salad Dressing. Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing except the olive oil.
  2. Whisk the olive oil into the vinegar mixture in a steady stream until combined. Taste the dressing and season with kosher salt as needed. Set the dressing aside.
  3. Potatoes. Place the quartered potatoes in a pot large enough to cover the potatoes by 1-2 inches of water. Season the water with kosher salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook just until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain the potatoes and toss with 1/4 cup of the dressing in a large bowl while they are still warm.
  4. Green Beans. Prepare an ice water bath for the green beans: a bowl of cold water with ice.
  5. Add the green beans to a large skillet, ideally so they lay in the skillet in one layer. Add just a bit of cold water to the skillet to cover at least half the surface of the skillet. Season the green beans with kosher salt. Heat the green beans until the water boils. Cook the green beans until they are crisp tender, 2-3 minutes. Once cooked, submerge the green beans in the ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Drain the green beans and lay on paper towels to dry.
  6. Tuna. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add just enough oil to coat the bottom of the skillet. Give it a swirl to evenly distribute the oil. Season the tuna filets and add them to the hot skillet. Sear 1-2 minutes on each side. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Assemble the Salad

  1. Toss the potatoes, green beans, and grape tomatoes with a good portion of the dressing, reserving some of the dressing to spoon over the top of the pan-seared tuna.
  2. Divide the salad onto four plates.
  3. Top each salad with a seared tuna filet.
  4. Garnish each salad with 1 teaspoon of capers, 1 tablespoon of Niçoise olives, and 4 boiled egg quarters.
  5. Spoon a bit of the remaining dressing over each tuna filet.


  • The potatoes and green beans can be cooked in advanced and stored in the refrigerator.
  • If you like a lot of dressing on your salad or want to use this dressing on another salad, make more salad dressing.
  • The dressing can also be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Let it come to room temperature before using.
  • Follow these instructions for a perfect boiled egg.
  • Optional: Some versions of this salad replace the tuna with anchovies. Other versions include a slice or two of anchovies as a garnish. Follow your heart on this one.


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