Cook-with-what-you-have Nicoise Salad

I take the idea of Salade Nicoise and adapt it all summer long, i.e. take fresh and/or cooked vegetables, good Oregon Albacore (usually canned), and hardboiled eggs, drizzled with an herby and/or creamy dressing, as a complete, fabulous dinner. You can also skip the tuna as it’s fabulous without too.


Quantities can be adapted to suit your needs and can be varied in all ways. You just want enough dressing for everything so scale that up if you’re using more vegetables.


Serves 4


¾ lb fresh green, romano or wax beans, trimmed

¾-1 lb potatoes about 4-5 medium, scrubbed

2 large tomatoes, cut into 3/4-inch wedges

4 eggs

2 5-oz cans albacore or fresh if you have it, seared

Handful brined or oil-cured olives, halved (optional)

4 cups lettuce, washed and torn (optional)



2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped or combination of parsley, chives and/or tarragon

1 large clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (more to taste)

2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard

1/3 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste


Put the potatoes and eggs in a saucepan and cover generously with water. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and set the timer for 6 minutes. After 6 minutes remove the eggs and set in a bowl of cold water to stop cooking. Peel eggs while potatoes continue to cook until just tender. Remove potatoes from the water with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool and then cut into bite-sized pieces. Salt the potato cooking water with 2 teaspoons salt, add the green beans and cook for 3-4 minutes. Drain and refresh with cold water to stop cooking.


Mix all dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.


Toss the lettuce, if using, with a little of the dressing and spread on a platter and arrange the eggs, beans, potatoes, olives, if using, tuna on top. Drizzle the dressing over everything. Serve with good crusty bread.

4 thoughts on “Cook-with-what-you-have Nicoise Salad”

  • Jennifer Sprague says:

    This was delicious! Even my vegetable-avoiding husband gobbled it up. I have made nicoise-style salads before, so I’m not surprised I like your version – as well as the winter version with beets. I LOVE that you cook the potatoes and eggs together and save the water to cook the beans in! Saves time and water (a finite resource). On that theme, I cooked enough potatoes to also make a potato salad and I cooked a whole pound of romano beans, so I doubled the amount of dressing and used it on the beans for another meal. I didn’t use lettuce, but I did use kalamata-style olives I had. Yum, yum. Thanks.

    • cookwithwhatyouhave says:

      Love all that extra prep that pays off in quick meals days later. And I could eat a pound of romano beans in one sitting!

  • Shawna Hickey says:

    Unbelievable! Katherine, you are a mind reader! This newsletter popped up at the exact moment I was dreaming up a Nicoise salad that I am making for a potluck next month. This one is beautiful and saves me a lot of time searching for dressing ideas. Thank you Katherine for your lovely recipes! Cook with what you have remains my mantra as I meal plan. And to that I add We cook with what we have, which includes our heart and our hands!
    Blessings for a beautiful day!

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