Hello old friends. How has your summer been? Guac-less, I know but we’ll get to that. I find that summer flies by every year, especially when I spend 9 months out of the year looking forward to it! So since summer is almost over, I thought I’d pop in to share my favorite simple salad that I’ve been enjoying for lunches lately. This vegetarian Niçoise salad is easy to make, full of good-for-you veggies, and surprisingly hearty for such a light meal. A traditional Niçoise salad is typically characterized by its composition (everything is plated in separate piles, much like an American cobb salad) and usually includes greens, hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, and often tuna. I opted for a more office-friendly version by swapping the tuna for white beans and ended up really enjoying the combination of tastes and textures.
Particularly in the warmer months, I find myself with less of a desire to cook (hence, the three month posting break… oops). Instead, I gravitate towards super simple throw-together recipes (much like this hummus chicken salad) to minimize time in the kitchen and maximize time outside in the sunshine. Seriously, this summer’s mantra has been, “when in doubt go outside”… picnics, lazy strolls, relaxing on the pool deck – I wanted to take advantage of it all! So, luckily for me I was able to take advantage of the (mostly) beautiful weather Chicago had this summer and just enjoy being outdoors.
With Sunday meal prep time at a premium, recipes like this are just what you’ll need to rely on. There are just a few things to chop while your eggs hard boil; then toss everything together and you have lunch for the week set to go. I made a quick lemon vinaigrette for the salad, but it would also work nicely with a store-bought balsamic vinaigrette if you want to make prep even easier.
Look at all those goodies waiting for you! The base is whatever mixed greens you like best (I used a bagged mix of baby spinach, kale, and mesclun greens). Then, pile on your veggies: cucumber, tomatoes, and green beans. Throw on a few olives (I like kalamata), canned white beans and top with an egg. Of course, sprinkle the whole thing with a generous fistful of chopped parsley and a dash of salt and pepper. If you’re packing this for work lunches, keep the salad undressed, and also keep the hard boiled eggs in the fridge separately, peeling them the morning you plan to eat them.
Vegetarian Niçoise Salad
Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 salads
Recipe inspired by: French Bean Salad
4 large eggs
1 bag salad greens (usually about 8 cups)
8oz french cut green beans
1 14oz can of white beans (cannellini beans), drained and rinsed
1 English cucumber
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste
Juice of 1 lemon (~2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Pinch salt & pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
Place eggs in a medium pot and cover with water by 1 inch. Bring eggs to a boil, then turn off heat, cover, and set aside for 8-10 minutes. Remove and place into an ice bath to stop cooking. Steam your green beans by placing a strainer over a pot of boiling water (if you’re really trying to cut time, you can do this while your eggs are coming to a boil). Steam until fork-tender. Halve cherry tomatoes, slice cucumbers, and chop parsley while the eggs and green beans are cooking. In a small jar, whisk together all dressing ingredients until combined.
Assemble your salad: divide salad greens between 4 bowls or containers, top with tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, ~1/2 cup of white beans, a few olives and 1 egg. Top with chopped parsley and a pinch of salt and pepper. Drizzle dressing overtop just before serving.