Vegan Nicoise salad combines raw and cooked vegetables with beans, hearts of palm, and greens dressed in a shallot vinaigrette. Get all your greens, beans, potatoes, and vegetables in this nutrient-dense salad. This vegan Nicoise salad recipe is fabulous!
Today, I decided to make a vegan Nicoise salad recipe veganized from one of my favorite childhood salads. My mom made a Nicoise salad when I was younger, which she coined a fancy French salad. Whenever she prepared her salad, we ate "French" food, so we were fancy. Although similar to my mom's recipe, my vegan Nicoise salad is fish-free with a vegan twist.
Traditionally, Nicoise salad is prepared with various vegetables and topped with canned tuna, anchovies, or both. It is a specialty of the French province of Cote D'Azur, with the salad named after the city of Nice. Since this is a vegan version, I chose similar vegetables in my mom's recipe, but I decided on hearts of palm to replace the fish.
My vegan Nicoise combines cooked and cold vegetables and a shallot vinaigrette like my mom's salad recipe.
Even though any vegetables work well in this salad, I picked the vegetables my mom served in her recipe.
- Cucumbers: I like using English cucumbers because they have few seeds and a more firm exterior.
- Grape Tomatoes: Grape tomatoes have firm skin and fewer seeds but fabulous flavor.
- Red Onion: Raw red onion is sweet and less pungent than white or red onion.
- Watermelon Radishes: I love watermelon radishes for their vibrant color as well as their mild flavor.
- Kalamata Olives: Kalamata olives are saltier and more flavorful than other olives.
- Parsley: Parsely brings a beautiful freshness to the salad.
Because the vegan Nicoise salad varies from the original version, I combine both raw and cooked vegetables in my salad recipe.
- Baby Red Potatoes: Red Potatoes have thinner skin and a subtle, sweet flavor. Their waxy texture helps them stay firm throughout cooking, making them ideal for stews, soups, and salads. They roast beautifully and are a colorful addition as a side dish.
- Green Beans: Green beans are in season and delicious this time of year.
- White Beans (Cannellini Beans or Butter Beans): Cannellini beans are wonderfully nutritious. They're fat-free and an excellent fiber, folate, iron, and magnesium source.
- Radicchio: Radicchio's hallmark is its bitter taste, which makes it an ideal backdrop for more savory ingredients.
- Hearts of Palm: Hearts of palm comes in a jar or can in the vegetable section of the grocery store.
Salad Ingredient Substitutions
- Choose any preferred greens; Kale, collard greens, and chopped endive are great substitutes.
- Some people do not like the bitter taste of radicchio, so I suggest using red cabbage because it is not bitter but has excellent nutritional benefits.
- I used butter beans, also called lima beans, because they are big and meaty, but any white bean or even pinto beans works well as a substitute.
- Try any colored baby potatoes; the color of the skin doesn't change the nutritional profile. I prefer red potatoes for color.
- Sometimes, it's challenging to find watermelon radishes. Any radishes taste great in this salad.
- Canned or marinated artichoke hearts or white or green cooked asparagus are often used as a substitute for hearts of palm.
Cooking Potatoes and Green Beans
First, I'm all about saving time. So, I use one pan for two different tasks. For instance, it takes 10 minutes to boil baby red potatoes and 5 minutes to blanch green beans.
Once the potatoes boil for 5 minutes, throw the green beans in the pot for the last 5 minutes. And then cook both at once.
Then, drain the potatoes and green beans simultaneously and soak both in ice water to stop cooking.
As soon as the potatoes and green beans cool, it's time to create the vegan Nicoise salad!
Begin with the greens mixture and evenly distribute the vegetables, white beans, hearts of palm, and other ingredients.
Shallot Vinaigrette Ingredients
- Red Wine Vinegar: Quite sharp and tangy, it has smokier notes and a fuller body than you'll find in white vinegar.
- Shallots: Gourmet chefs love to use them since they don't have the tangy bite that onions do. It is not just the taste that is different. Shallots grow differently from onions. Regular onions grow as a single bulb, but shallots grow in clusters, more like a head of garlic does
- Water: The water thins the dressing and acts as an emulsifier.
- Dijon Mustard: Dijon mustard has a tangy sharp taste that goes well with this tasty shallot dressing.
- Lemon Juice: Freshly squeezed lemon juice gives the dressing a citrus flavor while balancing the acidity in the vinegar.
- Maple Syrup: I love pure maple syrup in a dressing for a natural tasting sweetness.
- Salt and Pepper: Salt and pepper enhance the other ingredients in the salad dressing.
- White wine vinegar substitute for red wine vinegar. While there is an obvious color difference, the flavor profiles of red and white wine vinegar are surprisingly similar.
- Onions, leeks, garlic, scallions, garlic scapes, and chives all have a similar flavor to shallots and work as replacements in different recipes
- Stone ground mustard is close in taste and texture to dijon mustard.
- Use bottled lemon juice in place of freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- Date syrup or agave are substitutes for maple syrup.
I served vegan Nicoise salad as an entree with vegan cornbread. But, if you serve this salad as a side dish, I suggest vegan clam chowder or sheet pan tomato soup.
Niçoise comes from the French phrase à la niçoise and means “of Nice,” a French city on the Mediterranean coast. Other things can be described as niçoise (like the olive), but it is best known as the name of the salad associated with Nice, France, where it is said to have originated.
Salade niçoise has been known in the United States since at least the 1920s when a cookbook for hotel chefs included two variations.
Salad Niçoise (pronounced nee-suahz) is essentially a French-composed salad, much like our American Cobb salad, but with tuna, green beans, and potatoes, instead of chicken, bacon, and avocado.
Instead of tuna fish, vegan Nicoise salad has hearts of palm.
- As a cooking shortcut, cook the potatoes and add the green beans for the last 5 minutes.
- Prepare an ice bath for the potatoes and green beans BEFORE cooking the potatoes and beans. Use a colander to drain them before adding them to the ice bath.
- For a lighter onion flavor in the dressing, roast the shallot instead of blending it raw.
- Make the dressing ahead of time and refrigerate to enhance the flavors before making the salad.
Savor the season with this vegan Nicoise salad full of summer green beans, hearty potatoes, and loads of vegetables!
Other Great Vegan Salad Recipes
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Vegan Nicoise Salad
- 1 cucumber cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 pint tomatoes grape or cherry, cut in sections
- ½ red onion sliced into slivers
- 1 watermelon radish sliced thin, and cut into quarters
- ¼ cup Kalamata olives cut in halves
- ¼ cup parsley chopped
- ½ pound baby red potatoes cut into bite-sized pieces
- ½ pound green beans trimmed and cut into bite-sized portions
- 15 ounces white beans Cannellini beans or butter beans (1 can)
- 1 head romaine lettuce chopped
- 1 head radicchio chopped
- 7 ounces hearts of palm in brine cut into thin slices
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 shallot
- ½ cup water
- 2 Tablespoons dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup or date syrup
- Salt and pepper to taste
Vegan Nicoise Salad
- Place equal-sized, bite-sized pieces of red potatoes in a pan and cover with cold water.
- Add 2 teaspoons of salt.
- Boil for 5 minutes.
- Add green beans and stir into boiling water.
- Cook an additional 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and drain in a colander. Run cold water over potatoes and green beans.
- Transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.
- Once cool, drain again.
- Chop lettuce and Raddichio and place on a large tray or bowl.
- Add the raw vegetables, cooled cooked vegetables, olives, beans, and hearts of palm.
- Do not dress until ready to serve.
- In a small blender, combine all ingredients.
- Blend until smooth.
- Cover and place in a refrigerator to chill until ready to serve.
- I'm all about saving time. So, I'm committed if I can use one pan for two different tasks. For instance, it takes 10 minutes to boil baby red potatoes and 5 minutes to blanch green beans.
- Once the potatoes boil for 5 minutes, throw the green beans in the pot for the last 5 minutes. And then cook both at once. Then, drain the potatoes and green beans simultaneously and soak both in ice water to stop cooking.
- As soon as the potatoes and green beans cool, it's time to create the vegan Nicoise salad!
- Try artichoke hearts or cooked asparagus as a substitute for hearts of palm.
Hi! My name is Kathy, I am a retired high school English teacher & vegan enthusiast and blogger. My entire blog is fully plant-based vegan. I truly believe what we eat & how we live determines our health & the preservation of our planet! 🙂
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