Summer is my favorite season and salad is my favorite dish. Maybe that’s why I moved to Miami. I think I could eat a Salad Nicoise every day if I had to. It's the perfect meal and reminds me of summer. Each element in the Nicoise can be eaten with your fingers—my favorite way to eat. (I think it actually makes the food taste better.)
Over the years I have become somewhat of a connoisseur of the Nicoise. Some have rice, some are made with basil, others with capers and tarragon, but all have tuna, haricots vert, olives, and anchovies. The salad smells of the sea, which I have learned is the whole idea. I always liked best the combinations that were heavy on the lettuce, light on the anchovies, and without capers.
So, how to make a Nicoise meatless and still evoke flavors of the sea? Seaweed! Particularly dulse, which has an anchovy-like flavor when mixed in dressings.
I recommend blanching the haricots vert very quickly to keep their color and crunch. I also like to marinate the beans with the onions in the dressing and then top them on the salad.
I will sometimes use purple potatoes or yams for color—they have a flavor similar to a new potato. If you eat vegan, omit the eggs. If not, the hard-boiled eggs are a lovely addition and reminiscent of the traditional salad.
Vegetarian Salad Nicoise
1 head butter lettuce
3 small heads little gem lettuce or 1 head romaine, ripped
2 new organic new potatoes
1 to 2 small organic yams
Handful black olives
½ large red onion, sliced
1 cup haricot verts, trimmed
1 red bell pepper, sliced in strips
1 yellow beet, raw or steamed for 5 minutes and cooled
3 eggs, boiled and quartered
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons dulse (approximately - a matter of taste and how much you like the flavor of the sea)
2 clove raw garlic
2-3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 bunch tarragon (or basil – in Nicoise they are interchangeable)
Toss haricot verts and onion in the dressing and marinate for at least 20 minutes and up to 3 hours.
Boil the potatoes until soft, but not mushy, about 15 minutes, and rinse with cool water. Peel and slice into quarters.
Arrange the lettuce on a platter and top with the vegetables and eggs. Top with the marinated haricot vert and red onions.
For the dressing:
Toss all of the ingredients in the blender except the olive oil and blend on low.
Slowly drizzle in the oil until you achieve desired consistency. Serve with the salad.
Lora Krulak, author of Veggies for Carnivores, is inspired by global flavors and exotic spices. She focuses on giving people the tools and understanding they need to create healthy, vegetable-centric lifestyles, without having to become a vegetarian. In addition, she's taught yoga, and has traveled the world—from India, Bali and Thailand, to Turkey, the Middle East, Australia and Southern Europe—bringing the stories, recipes and cooking techniques, learned and perfected overseas, to everyone.