The Nicoise salad is a native cuisine to the southern Mediterranean region of France, near the city of Nice. The Nicoise (pronounced “nee-SWAZ”) Salad has a special place in my heart.
My first taste of the traditional Nicoise Salad took place during my time as an exchange student to the French Riveria, in the summer of 1988. My French host family prepared this salad several times a week for lunch, and it was the main offering in nearly every corner cafe.
In this version of the Nicoise Salad, I have removed the traditional eggs and pescatarian ingredients and successfully “veganized” this beautiful presentation of freshness. Still, each time I take my first bite, I have pleasant flashbacks to this life-changing cross-cultural experience of my youth.
The Vegan Version of the Nicoise Salad
Summer is the perfect time of year to try the Nicoise Salad. Hint: it is the simple Nicoise dressing that tops off the delicious and fresh ingredients.
What is Farro?
If you have never tried the grain farro (and you are not avoiding gluten), I encourage you to include it in this dish. Farro is an ancient whole grain that cooks a lot like pasta but has a nutty flavor and is perfect to add to salads or bowls. Here is a great resource to perfectly cook farro.
This salad works best if you have made the farro grain in advance and it is slightly chilled. Otherwise, you will prep the other ingredients while the farro is cooking. A good substitution for farro is brown rice or quinoa.
The Vegan Nicoise Salad
Six Steps to Voila:
- Cook the green beans: steam for 3-5 minutes or lightly parboil for 2 minutes. The beans are best cooked with a slight crunch and chilled.
- Scrub and quarter the potatoes, then steam for 6-7 minutes, or until mostly tender (not too soft). Make sure to let the potatoes cool before assembling the salad.
- Drain and rinse the can of chickpeas (keeping the liquid aquafaba in a separate container for another use). Lightly season with salt and pepper and other herbs and seasoning like Bragg’s Organic Sprinkle.
- Prep and whisk together all the ingredients for the Nicoise dressing and set aside.
- Prepare the raw vegetables (olives, tomatoes, spinach, and sprouts) and arrange on a large plate with farro, green beans, and potatoes.
- Drizzle salad with the dressing and garnish with herbs and seasoning of your choice.
Vegan Nicoise Salad
- 1/2 Cup Farro, dry about 1 cup cooked
- 1 Cup Green Beans, lightly steamed steam or parboil
- 1 Cup Potatoes, steamed any variety
- 1 Cup Chickpeas, canned Reserve Aquafaba Liquid
- 2 Tbsp Kalamata Olives
- 2 CUP Spinach, Baby
- 2 TBSP Cherry Tomatoes, chopped
- 2 TBSP Sprouts any variety
- 1/4 Cup White Wine Vinegar
- 2 TBSP Maple Syrup
- 2 TBSP Mustard, dijon
- 2 Clove Garlic, minced
- 1 TBSP Green Onion, chopped
- 1 TBSP Green Onion
- Olive Oil, drizzle
- Salt and Peper, to taste
- Braggs Sprinkle Seasoning
- Cook farro (grain) accordin to package instructions. It is ok the substitute brown rice or quinoa. This salad is best with grains previously cooked and slightly chilled.
- Drain and rinse canned chickpeas (reserve aquafaba liquid for another recipe) and lightly season the chickpeas and let sit.
- Parboil the green beans for 2 minutes in boiled water and steam the potatoes for 6-7 minutes.
- Prep and whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing and set aside.
- Prepare all raw vegetables and arrange all salad ingredients on a bed of spinach and drizzle with dressing, oil, herbs and salt and peper to taste.
This salad is wonderful on its own, but it becomes a French delicacy if served with whole grain bread dipped in virgin olive oil (and a small glass of wine).
Any undressed leftovers can be stored separately in the refrigerator and assembled within 2 days for another great vegan Nicoise Salad!