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I'm Crystal Vaughn

a classically trained chef taking holistic plant-based nutrition on a grand adventure through North America. When I’m not creating in our traveling kitchen, you can usually find me on my yoga mat or a hiking trail.

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I have a confession to make, not once in my three months of living in Nice, France did I ever have their signature salad, the Niçoise.  I always looked at it on the menu and considered it but after thinking about the combination of tuna, hard-boiled eggs and the Niçoise olives (I can’t stand olives) I would always find something that looked more appealing. 

I did want to try one though.  I always said someday I would.  Today is that day but I’m doing it on my own terms.  This isn’t a true Niçoise salad since it is missing those essential small little Niçoise olives but you can feel free to add whatever olives you like in addition to the recipe below.  I decided to add capers to the dressing so you still have that salty bite but it doesn’t have the olive flavor. 


I love how this salad turned out.  Every bite you get a different flavor and texture and the way the tangy dressing pairs with each ingredient is so wonderful.  This is the perfect time of year to make this salad.  I picked up all the produce at the farmers market.  I swear fresh and local make it taste so much better.  This recipe is great for an end of the summer soirée!


Since I was removing some of the traditional ingredients I decided to add some baked tofu.  This was a great addition and I really recommend you give it a try.  But if you are not ready for tofu or don’t happen to have it on hand you can switch it out for crunchy baked chickpeas.  These are delicious as well and I have given you the instructions in the recipe below. 


I really hope you give this salad a try!  What are some of your favorite dishes from your travels or maybe something you never gave a chance but you wish you had?  Please share in the comments below.  I would love to hear from you!

Salad Niçoise with Dijon Caper Dressing
Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

1 lb small red potatoes, cleaned

1/2 lb green beans, fresh, ends trimmed

1 package firm or extra-firm tofu (see note)

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp tamari

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp Italian dried herbs

1 cup of cherry or grape tomatoes

1/4 red onion, in thin slices

1 head of Boston lettuce or favorite salad greens, cleaned and chopped

Dressing:

2 tbsp capers + splash of the caper liquid

1 tbsp dijon style mustard (coarse ground is my favorite)

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp water

1 clove garlic

pinch of black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Drain tofu and wrap in a no lint towel or paper towels.  Press between two plates with a can on top for at least 10 minutes.

2. Once pressed, cut the tofu into 1 inch cubes. 

3.  In a bowl or shallow dish mix together the lemon juice, tamari, black pepper and dried herbs.  Toss the tofu to cover with marinade and let sit for 20 minutes.  Stirring occasionally.

4. Bring a medium to large pot of water to a boil and add potatoes.  Cook for about 20 minutes, until they can easily be pierced with a fork.  Remove potatoes from water.  Once cooled, cube the potatoes.

5. Bring the water back to a boil and add the green beans.  Cook for two minutes and drain.  Quickly add the beans to a bowl with ice and water to stop the cooking process.  After the beans have cooled strain and set aside.

6. Bake the tofu on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet at 375° for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until brown on the edges.

6. In a small blender add all of the dressing ingredients and blend.

7. Assemble the salad: layer the lettuce on the bottom of the platter or bowl, in sections arrange the potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, red onion and tofu and serve with the Dijon caper dressing.

*Note: If tofu is not your thing, you can replace it with chickpeas.  Rinse and strain chickpeas then toss with half of the marinade.  Bake for about 15 minutes or until crispy. 

*For a soy free version make the recipe above but replace the tofu with chickpeas (as suggested above) and omit the tamari.  Easy as that!

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The information on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any health condition or disease. It does not replace medical advice from a licensed professional.