The first time I tried this French summer salad was in Paris. You know, when in Rome. Well, you know what I mean. Some years back, I was in Paris on vacation with my daughters. It all started with Mary Kate and Ashley—my girls loved those two, and after we watched Passport to Paris, of course we had to go. Well, the twins don’t get all the credit—my girls loved Madeleine too.

One day, we had just finished up at the Louvre, and we were all hungry. We stopped at a lovely little café and I ordered the escargot. Maddy—who was a kindergartner at the time—went right for it. I couldn’t believe how brave she was! She was not afraid of those little snails. Not one bit. After the escargot, we filled up on Niçoise salad. That Parisian lunch will forever be one of my favorite meals.


The secret to the best Niçoise salad recipe? Use the best ingredients.

Niçoise olives are the best olives to use in a Niçoise salad but Kalamata olives are a good substitute.

If you can find them, I like to use Niçoise olives for this salad. These petite olives are a terrific addition, but one note of caution: they always have pits! Unfortunately, they are just too tiny to pit—so warn your guests! If you can’t get your hands on Niçoise olives, you can always substitute them with kalamata olives. Kalamata are delicious here too.

Get Tonnino tuna for your Niçoise salad whenever possible!

The real secret to this classic French salad, though, is the perfect vinaigrette. And really good tuna. I personally like to use an oil-packed tuna filet like Tonnino tuna. If you can’t find oil-packed tuna filets, get the best canned tuna you can find at your local grocery store. The tuna is the star of this dish, so you don’t want to skimp on the quality!

Last but not least, let’s talk about which green beans to use for your Niçoise salad.

My recipe also calls for a delicious French green bean called haricot vert. Literally translating to “green bean”, this delicate variety is more slender than a traditional green bean. You can substitute regular green beans, but remember that the two types of beans have different blanching times. You want the beans to be bright green and still crisp after they are blanched. Remember to rinse the beans immediately under very cold water to stop the cooking process.


Serve my Classic French Niçoise Salad for a Group

For the summer buffet table, serve one big Niçoise salad on a large serving platter. For fancier and more formal gatherings, I recommend plating up several individual salads.

Yield: 6 servings
Classic French Niçoise Salad Recipe with Tonnino Tuna

Classic French Niçoise Salad Recipe with Tonnino Tuna

This classic French summer salad consists of fresh tuna and raw vegetables. Traditionalists like to omit cooked vegetables and dress it with olive oil alone, but trust me—it’s even better with potatoes and a champagne dijon vinaigrette!


  • 6 ounces haricot verts or whole fresh green beans, ends trimmed
  • 1-pound small Yukon gold or fingerling potatoes
  • 10 ounces spring greens
  • 2 firm Roma tomatoes, quartered
  • 6 hard boiled eggs, cut into halves
  • ½ cup Niçoise olive or ½ cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • 3 cups oil-packed tuna filets, drained
  • ¼ cup champagne vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • A grind of black pepper
  • ½ cup olive oil


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a bowl. After the water comes to a boil, reduce to a simmer. If you’re using haricot verts, blanch them for one minute. Blanch regular green beans for 2 to 3 minutes. Use a strainer to remove beans then rinse under cold water. Reserve.
  2. Bring the same pot of water back to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the potatoes. If your potatoes are on the larger side, you can slice them into halves or quarters. Cook until a knife easily goes through the potatoes—about 15 minutes. Strain the potatoes and rinse under cool water.
  3. Prepare the vinaigrette: In a mixing bowl, combine the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, honey, salt, and pepper. Whisk to combine. Slowly whisk in the olive oil.
  4. Arrange the spring greens on a large serving platter or individual plates. Arrange the beans, potatoes, tomatoes, eggs, olives, and tuna around the lettuce. Drizzle with some of the vinaigrette. Serve the remaining dressing on the side. So good!
Did you make this recipe?
Tag @blameitonbiscotti on instagram and hashtag it # ClassicFrenchNicoiseSalad
June 27, 2022 — Mary DiSomma