Add vegetables and the spirit of sunny France to dinner with this Chicken Salad Nicoise.
Every January I resolve to eat more vegetables, so this is my cheerful, delicious attempt to encourage you to do the same!
Nicoise (knee-SWAHZ)) refers to the sunny, Mediterranean coastal city of Nice, France.
A long time ago, I studied abroad in France for a year and fell in love with the traditional “tuna” Nicoise salad, consisting of tuna, tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, French green beans, new potatoes and olives. ( And sometimes capers and anchovies.)
But even the French dispute what constitutes a true Nicoise! So why not mix up an old tradition with chicken instead?
Not everyone likes tuna, but if you like meat then you probably like chicken too. I am always looking for a fresh meal idea for roasted chicken or a new way to dress up chicken breasts. This chicken Nicoise salad is versatile, easy to assemble and makes a stunning presentation. Plus it’s a good way to cut back on calories and still feel satisfied after dinner.
You can start with any kind of already prepared chicken (rotisserie or strips…) or follow the recipe below to make your own fresh, pan-seared chicken in less than 20 minutes.
Plan ahead! Manage salad preparation by boiling the eggs and veggies a few days before serving.
Double or triple the amount in the recipe and make extra hard-boiled eggs, new potatoes and green beans to use for future meals and snacks. Make 6 – 12 hard-boiled eggs for deviled egg appetizers, sandwich fillers or grated protein on your salads.
Roast extra new potatoes to go with tomorrow night’s dinner or breakfast!
Toss cut green beans (during the last 3 minutes of cooking time) into a pot of pasta, rice, quinoa or your next stir-fry. Instead of chips, pair crunchy green beans with ranch dressing or your favorite dip.
The recipe only LOOKS long because I explain in detail how to pan-sear chicken and boil potatoes, eggs and green beans. If you know how to cook chicken and prep the boiled ingredients, this meal’s a snap. Even if you are a beginner in the kitchen, this is an easy recipe that will expand the way you cook.
Give it a try and see how flexible and delicious Nicoise Salad can be.
Dig in and Bon Appetit!
Fresh vegetables, salty olives, ready made or quickly seared chicken make a beautiful, edible spread in this unconventional version of Salad Nicoise. A simple vinaigrette or your favorite bottled dressing make this salad an easy crowd pleaser!
- 2 boneless chicken breasts, skin optional (300gm)
- Kosher salt and coarse ground pepper
- 1/2 cup + 1 T olive oil (90 ml +10 ml)
- 2 oz broth or dry white wine (60 ml)
- 8 oz new potatoes (225 gm)
- 8 oz green beans (225 gm)
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes (200 gm)
- 1/2 cup mixed, pitted olives (100 gm)
- 2 T white vinegar OR lemon juice (30 ml)
- salad greens of choice
- fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
- Make chicken: Wash and pat dry chicken breasts. Season both sides generously with salt and pepper. In a medium size skillet, heat 1 T olive oil over medium heat. Add chicken breasts and cook 4 minutes on each side. Add wine or broth and cook over high heat until liquid has almost evaporated. Remove from heat, cover and let cool. (Chicken is done when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 165 F for at least 5 seconds.) When cool, slice each breast lengthwise into 1 -2 inch slices.
- Make potatoes and green beans: Add potatoes and 1T kosher salt to a deep pot. Fill with cool water to cover. (Set the green beans near the stove. You’ll use the same hot water to cook the beans after removing the potatoes from the pot.) Bring potatoes to a boil over medium heat and continue boiling 20 minutes or until potatoes are easily pierced through with a fork.
- While the potatoes boil, make the eggs: Place in a single layer in a shallow pot with a lid. (No lid? Use foil or two tea towels to cover.) Cover eggs completely with cold water. With lid off, bring eggs to a rolling boil (lots of bubbles!) over medium heat. Once they are boiling vigorously, remove pot from heat and cover for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, fill a mixing bowl with ice.
- After ten minutes, use a slotted spoon to gently remove eggs to the ice bowl and fill with cold water. Cool eggs at least 5 minutes. To peel, tap each egg all over against the counter surface to crack the shell, then gently roll it back and forth a few times. Begin peeling from wider end. The shell should come off easily. If not, let soak in cold water a few minutes and try again.
- Set eggs aside or refrigerate until ready to use. Slice 4 of the eggs into quarter wedges or slices.
- Without draining the potato water, remove cooked potatoes and let cool. Return potato water to a rolling boil, add green beans and cook just 3 -4 minutes. While the green beans cook, fill a mixing bowl with ice and cold water. Drain green beans and place into “ice bath” for a few minutes, then dry with paper towels.
- Make the dressing: In a mixing bowl, combine vinegar with ½ t each salt and pepper and whisk to dissolve. Slowly add in 1/2 cup olive oil and whisk again. Adjust for seasonings. ( Add a 1 tsp. Dijon mustard if you like a thicker dressing.)
- Assemble salad: Layer the base of a salad bowl or platter with salad greens or lettuce of choice. Then beginning with the chicken, place each ingredient: green beans, potatoes, tomatoes, eggs, and olives side by side like a deli platter or arrange ingredients like a sundial * (see blog photos). Pour half of the blended dressing over salad and sprinkle with chopped parsley, if desired.
- Serve cold or at room temperature with extra salad dressing.
Vegetarian: Replace chicken with your favorite home cooked or rinsed, canned beans or roasted, crispy chickpeas.
Vegan: Replace chicken and eggs with cooked or canned beans, corn, rice or quinoa. Add bright crunchy strips of peppers or shredded cabbage, carrots or beets.
Traditional: Replace chicken with canned, jarred or fresh cooked tuna steaks. Add drained capers and a few anchovy fillets for the true Nicoise experience!