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Vegetarian Salade Niçoise – Savoury Summer on a Plate

Vegetarian Salade Niçoise

When I spotted Cornish new potatoes at my local greengrocers at the weekend, I couldn’t resist purchasing some. Somehow, a bunch of Cornish asparagus made its way into my basket too. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to make a vegetarian salade Niçoise.

What is Salade Niçoise?

Salade Niçoise is a summer salad which originates from Nice in France. The version known and loved by us Brits consists of new potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, black olives and boiled eggs on a bed of lettuce accompanied by a garlicky dressing. One of the crucial ingredients is fish; anchovies are used in the traditional French recipe and tuna in the British adaptation. As it happens Nice chefs are appalled by our inclusion of potatoes and French beans or any other boiled vegetable come to that. Oh well!

Vegetarian Niçoise Salad

Vegetarian Salade Niçoise

Whatever the rights and wrongs of boiled vegetables, fish was clearly out for me. I reckoned pieces of fried halloumi would work well as an alternative to salty anchovies. I wasn’t wrong. As my salade Niçoise was clearly not going to bear much resemblance to the traditional French version, I opted to include potatoes. Cornish new potatoes are in season right now and it was indeed these buttery beauties that inspired me to make this salad. I wanted to keep my salad relevant to early summer, so I reckoned seasonal Cornish asparagus would make an excellent substitute for the green beans.

Spring onions or shallots are generally included in a Niçoise salad. I didn’t have any onions to hand, so I snipped some chives over mine instead. I wasn’t convinced that cucumber would be a good addition, although it’s invariably a component of this salad. There would be plenty of crunch from the crisp lettuce leaves, so I left it out.

Vegetarian Salade Niçoise

The Dressing

Dressings can make or break a salad and this one set off my vegetarian salade Niçoise beautifully. I used kombucha vinegar, although red wine vinegar is traditional and can easily be substituted. It gives me a bit of a kick using something I’ve made myself and it does have a good flavour. I’ve also included English mustard rather than French, mostly because that’s what I had to hand. The garlic is essential, but be careful. I grated a medium sized clove into the dressing, which was just about right. I adore garlic but pressing or grating it makes it far more powerful than simple chopping and I didn’t want it dominating the salad. My final addition, which isn’t at all traditional, was to add a little quince jelly. This just took the edge off the vinegar and added a little fruity note. You could use honey or another fruit jelly instead, or just leave it out all together.

Vegetarian Salad Niçoise

Seasonal Produce

There is nothing better than seasonal fresh produce newly harvested and both the potatoes and asparagus were exceptional. The potatoes were so buttery and delicious we’d probably have been happy consuming just those alone. The same goes for the asparagus. However, I’m so glad I combined them with all the other ingredients to make this vegetarian salade Niçoise. It was truly sensational.

Vegetarian Salade Niçoise – The Recipe

Vegetarian Salade Niçoise
Print
Vegetarian Salade Niçoise
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 

A vegetarian and early summer version of the classic French salade Niçoise. It's a hearty and delicious dish with a good variety of flavours and textures

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: French
Serves: 4 as a main course
Author: Choclette @ Tin and Thyme
Ingredients
  • 1 large or 2 small Little Gem lettuce - leaves separated and washed
  • 500 g new potatoes (I used Cornish) - scrubbed and halved
  • sprig of mint
  • 4 ripe salad tomatoes - quartered
  • 225 g block halloumi
  • 8 spears of asparagus (I used Cornish)
  • 4 eggs
  • 8 large black olives
  • handful of chives
Dressing
  • 1 clove garlic - peeled & finely grated
  • 1 tsp English mustard
  • 1 tsp honey or fruit jelly ( I used quince jelly)
  • pinch sea or rock salt
  • grinding of black pepper
  • 2 tbsp red wine or cider vinegar (I used kombucha vinegar)
  • 6 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. Cover the potatoes in cold water. Add the sprig of mint, cover and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are just done.
  2. Meanwhile, place all of the dressing ingredients into a sealed jar and shake until emulsified.
  3. Drain the potatoes and drizzle over 2 tbsp of the dressing. Set aside.
  4. Place the eggs in a pan of cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 6 minutes. Rinse under cold water immediately to stop the eggs cooking further.
  5. Snap the hard bottoms off the asparagus spears and set aside to make stock later. Fry the asparagus over a medium heat in a tsp of olive oil for a few minutes. Turn to ensure even cooking. Alternatively grill.
  6. Wash the halloumi to remove some of the salt. Cut into small chunks, then fry them in the asparagus pan (after the asparagus has been removed) for 4 minutes. Toss the cheese in the pan a couple of times to ensure it's nicely browned all over.
  7. Line a salad bowl with the dried lettuce leaves. Spoon the potatoes over the top. Layer on the tomatoes, followed by the halloumi. Drizzle over a tbsp of the dressing. Peel and half the eggs and arrange over the top together with the asparagus and olives. Snip in the chives and serve. Pour any remaining dressing into a jug or bowl and serve alongside for people to help themselves.

 

Meat Free MondaysI’m sharing my vegetarian salade Niçoise with Meat Free Mondays over at Tinned Tomatoes.

 

 

 

 

Simple and in Season LogoIt also goes to Feeding Boys for Simple and in Season.

 

 

Other recipes for summer salad recipes you might like

Vegetarian Salade Niçoise. PIN IT.

Vegetarian Salade Niçoise

 

Comments

  1. Leave a Reply

    Angela / Only Crumbs Remain
    12th June 2017

    I love the sound of your salad Choclette, and using haloumi is a great idea (love that cheese!) Thankyou too for including my asparagus salad 🙂
    Angela x

    • Leave a Reply

      Roz
      12th June 2017

      I love a nicoise and this is a fan revipe. Great to read all about it too

      • Leave a Reply

        Choclette
        12th June 2017

        Thanks Roz. The key is having really good fresh ingredients. It’s hard to go wrong then.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      12th June 2017

      Thanks Angela. It made a most delicious meal on a very depressing wet and windy weekend. I’m sure I could become a halloumi addict if I let myself.

  2. Leave a Reply

    Angie@Angie's Recipes
    12th June 2017

    I wish I could join you for the lunch! This salad looks really fresh and packed full of flavour, Choclette.
    Love your kombucha vinegar!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      12th June 2017

      I wish you could join me too Angie. Would be lovely to meet you. the kombucha vinegar is brilliant. If I don’t have any lemons to hand, I have it in my hot water in the mornings.

  3. Leave a Reply

    Kavey
    12th June 2017

    Love the combination of ingredients, including halloumi and potatoes, don’t care if it’s authentic of not! Bonus points for your own vinegar!!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      12th June 2017

      Haha, I knew someone, somewhere would appreciate the vinegar. Given that I’m almost incapable of following a recipe, most of what you’ll find here are authentically my own.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      12th June 2017

      Thanks Rhian. I can honestly say it’s the best salad Niçoise I’ve ever eaten – not that I’ve eaten that many 🙂

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      13th June 2017

      Thanks Michelle. I can definitely recommend them as good additions 🙂

  4. Leave a Reply

    nadia
    12th June 2017

    Looks delicious Choclette! Halloumi sounds like a much tastier alternative to canned tuna 😉

  5. Leave a Reply

    Janice
    12th June 2017

    Oh how beautiful, glossy olives, golden yolked eggs, seasonal asparagus and salty halloumi cheese, that looks like a perfect summer salad.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      13th June 2017

      Thanks Janice and amazingly the tomatoes were ripe and tasty too 🙂

  6. Leave a Reply

    Dannii
    12th June 2017

    Great minds think alike with this recipe. I love that you have added halloumi to it though – great idea.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      13th June 2017

      Thanks Dannii. Halloumi seemed like a good substitute for salty fish.

  7. Leave a Reply

    Melissa @ Insider The Kitchen
    13th June 2017

    I’m turning 30 soon as well…ahhhh! This salad looks absolutely delicious!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      13th June 2017

      Thanks Melissa. How I wish I was turning 30 again – sounds wonderful!

  8. Leave a Reply

    Jo Allison/ Jo's Kitchen Larder
    14th June 2017

    I love salad Niçoise and had no idea that boiled veggies were a no no for French chefs, but as you say oh well 😉 I think the addition of halloumi instead of fish makes wonderful veggie version and all the colours… It’s Summer on a plate!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      14th June 2017

      Thanks Jo. It’s good to make something like this from time to time to make me fall in love with salad all over again 🙂

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      19th June 2017

      The new potatoes and asparagus were delicious, but you’re absolutely right, it just wouldn’t have been as good without the eggs.

  9. Leave a Reply

    Fiona Maclean
    19th June 2017

    I love the idea of this salad, though for me a Nicoise does need the anchovy dressing and parmesan. I’d still eat your version though;)

  10. Leave a Reply

    Katie Bryson
    1st July 2017

    Oh yes, I am LOVING the addition of halloumi into this veggie spin on the classic Nicoise salad – masterstroke! Thanks for hooking up with Simple and in Season this month xxx

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      3rd July 2017

      Thanks Katie. It already seems an age since I had any halloumi. Time to make another one maybe 😀

  11. Leave a Reply

    maren
    4th July 2017

    This salad sounds so good! My friend gave me a ton of eggs from her farm so this is what I am going to do with them.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      4th July 2017

      How lovely to get a load of fresh eggs. Do let me know what you think of the salad. A photo would be fab.

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