Julia Child Salad Nicoise recipe is filled with classic components olives, capers, and fresh vegetables all tossed with a simple vinaigrette.
Julia Child Salad Nicoise
AKA Mediterranean Combination Salad as Julia calls it in Mastering the Art of French Cooking. We are keeping Julia Child's salad nicoise recipe as true to the original as possible.
I like to do this with most Julia recipes, such as with Julia Child's ratatouille recipe. There are layers that take time, but in the end, the flavors come together very well.
Salad Nicoise Components
Use the best and freshest ingredients you can find for this salad, since each element shines just as bright as the next. I love the combinations of the briny olives and capers with the warm potato salad and savory eggs.
Crisp Lettuce Leaves: I love the look of fresh large leaves layered on a platter. Red leaf lettuce and bib lettuce are great options.
Tomatoes: Sweet cherry tomatoes are used in this recipe, but in season roma tomatoes and heirloom tomatoes would be delicious.
Green Beans: or haricoverts that are quickly blanched (quick boil then green beans are submerged in ice cold water to keep the color and crispness).
Potatoes: Thin skinned Gold potatoes are perfect. Boiled and kept warm and seasoned with a simple vinaigrette.
Canned or Jarred Tuna: Staying true to Julia's recipe, use a good quality, sustainable jarred or canned tuna, such as Wild Planet Tuna or Tonnino Tuna.
Hard Boiled Eggs: Peeled and quartered. This is a great time to make a large batch.
Black Olives: Traditionally, nicoise olives are served with salad nicoise, but easier to find Kalamata offers a similar brininess.
Capers and Anchovies: Both provide saltiness. If you don't like anchovy fillets, feel free to omit.
Salad Nicoise Dressing
A simple whisk of red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper dresses the salad. Julia suggests adding finely chopped herbs, such as parsley, or tarragon or a pinch of dried herbs.
Helpful Tips on Arranging
- After washing, dry the lettuce very well to avoid water accumulation on the platter.
- Add a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette to the potatoes while they are still warm.
- You can also dress the green beans ahead of time.
- Reserve dressing the other more tender components until right before serving, such as the tomatoes and lettuce, to prevent wilting.
More Julia Child Recipes for Inspiration
Julia Child’s Salad Nicoise
- 1 pound fresh green beans ends trimmed and blanched
- 1 head of red leaf lettuce leaves removed, washed and dried well
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 6 ounces oil packed tuna flaked
- 4 hard-boiled eggs halved lengthwise
- 2-3 anchovy fillets
- ½ cup Kalamata olives or Nicoise olives pitted and cut in half or chopped
- 4 tablespoons capers
- Flat leaf parsley hard stems removed and chopped finely, for garnish
French Potato Salad
- 3-4 Gold potatoes cooked to fork tender
- Salt and pepper to taste
Vinaigrette (makes about ½ cup)
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ teaspoon dried tarragon optional, or use fresh
- Salt and pepper to taste
- If you haven't yet, blanch, prep the green beans by blanching them. Bring a pot of water to a boil and boil green beans for 2 minutes, then immediately transfer to a bowl filled with ice water.
- Remove green beans from water and set aside.
- Whisk all of the dressing ingredients together in a bowl until blended and emulsified (or shake in a mason jar). Set aside while you prepare the rest of the salad.
- Add potatoes to a cold pot of water and bring to a boil until just fork tender. Once done, remove and let cool enough to handle. Slice or quarter potatoes and toss with 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Assemble Salad Nicoise
- Shortly before serving, line a large, wide salad bowl or platter with lettuce leaves and drizzle with some of the vinaigrette.
- Toss the green beans with 1-2 tablespoons of vinaigrette and arrange on platter, along with the potato salad.
- Drizzle a spoonful or two of the dressing over the tomatoes and tuna and arrange on platter.
- Layer the rest of the salad ingredients around the platter, olives, capers, eggs and anchovies.
- Drizzle the rest of the vinaigrette onto salad and garnish with finely chopped parsley.
This post was originally published in June, 2012 and updated March 2022 with updated photography, clearer instructions, retested recipe and added nutritional information.
Looks SO good! That is one of my favorite salads.
Eileen Gross | Wine Everyday says
This is my favorite salad! Every time I make it I get transported back to Paris. I always serve a Chablis with this dish. Cheers!
LOVE Chablis! Thanks Eileen 🙂
Kim Bee says
Well if being a snob means food like this it's all good. Great job Sam!
Great pic, great recipe, cute story. You do need to work on your writing. For example, this sentence does not even make sense:
For sometime I thought to be some sort of smarty-pants cook.
Thank you for the feedback!
I believe that knowing what you like (or love) does not make one a food snob. Salad looks delish!
Thanks Rosana!! I agree 🙂
Where are the instructions for the vinaigrette? It is referenced several times as being drizzled on the tuna, tomatoes and the finished product, but there is nothing in the ingredients or directions...
PS - I agree with Jenna, e.g. "“Ohh…you don’t Batali, " - it may just be a matter of proofreading or enlisting a second pair of discriminating eyes before you post. As you can see by my handle, I am not only a foodie, but a wordie. 🙂
Thanks for pointing out the grammar error and the missing dressing recipe. It is only myself handling my food blog, creating, writing, photographing in addition to all the technical aspects, so there are times I may miss a few important details. I updated the recipe and included the vinaigrette as well as the addressed sentence. I really appreciate you taking the time to comment so that I can fix it! Have a great weekend 🙂
How many people is this recipe meant to serve? I'm having a luncheon for 8 women and am thinking of laying out the base salad in a large bowl and then have all the toppings available to put on individually. Thoughts?
Hi Lisa! I would say this salad served 4-6 as a main dish for lunch. I'd suggest doubling the toppings and even the dressing just to be sure. Will you be serving other things as well? Maybe bread and cheeses? Have fun!
I awoke this morning pondering whether to use fresh tuna or canned for this salad. Little did I know the can of worms (tuna) I opened for myself. Julia Childs uses canned, her bestie Jaques Pepin uses fresh! And so on. All the popular chefs, one or the other. The rest of the story is this...
Last night I used fresh grilled salmon.
It turned out AMAZACAKES. Haha.
Oh I think salmon would be perfect!! I wanted to stay true to Julia's recipe and bought a good quality jarred tuna, but I can see how the variations are endless. Chef John on Youtube has a recipe for olive oil poached tuna that I think would be fantastic as well!
Kayla DiMaggio says
This nicoise salad was so delicious! I am a huge Julia Child fan so this was right up my alley!
This salad looks so delicious! Going to make it next weekend! Thanks for sharing
Thank you...let me know how it comes out!
Giangi Townsend says
One of my favorite salads. Yours looks amazing. I wish I could reach in and grab it.
Thank you!! Layers of big flavors!!
great take on the classic nicoise salad. i will have to watch the movie again
Thank you!! The movie is such a feel good watch!