The Not-So Niçoise

"Tuna fish" is a cringeworthy phrase. Even as a tuna lover for some reason I always associate it with an image and smell of a cubicle mate chomping on a smelly tuna sandwich. I choose to call any tuna salad a niçoise instead... Even when it almost always lacks the classic eggs, anchovies and and olives. A canned tuna game changer is to get the jars or tuna in olive oil. I like the one that has olive oil and oregeno the best. They are pricier but still relatively cheap to alternative to other non-plant protein like chicken or fresh fish. I made this salad when I was too lazy to go to the store and recommend keeping all off the involved ingredients stocked in your fridge/pantry!

Ingredients:

  • Jar of tuna
  • Pesto (I used the vegan/mild version of my recipe in this post) 
  • Olive oil 
  • Lemon
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Greens of choice
  • Cucumbers
  • Pepitas
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Coriander
  • Salt/pepper
  • White beans

Method:

  • Pepitas: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drizzle and spread olive oil on a foil lined baking sheet. Cover with raw Pepitas. Sprinkle cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper and coriander atop. Use your hands to toss Pepitas in the oil and spices until covered. Spread the Pepitas evenly before putting in the oven. Check and toss/flip around the Pepitas after 4 minutes. Roast another 4 minutes or until just beginning to brown. Let cool.
  • Dressing: If you prepared the thicker version of the pesto whisk it with extra lemon juice and olive oil until it's more of a liquid.
  • Tuna: drain oil from tuna jar and mash with new oil, salt, pepper some of the drained and rinsed white beans, pesto and Pepitas. 
  • Toss greens, chopped tomatoes and cucumbers, additional white beans and Pepitas and tuna salad with dressing. 

My Favorite Dressing Recipes

Dressings are fun because as long as you stick to the general base ratio, you can add/eliminate different amounts of the other factors until you get the flavor you are looking for. I will suggest some general amounts but use this as a guide of ingredients that go well together and customize to your desired taste. 

Dijon Vinaigrette:

  • Base- about 1:3 ratio apple cider vinegar to olive oil
  • About a tbsp of Dijon mustard
  • Half lemon juiced
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • Raw honey optional if desired sweeter
  • Minced garlic/shallot for extra flavor if desired 

Whisk or shake ingredients. 

Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • Base- about 1:3 ratio balsamic vinegar
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • Raw honey if desired sweeter
  • Half lemon juiced if desired 
  • Minced garlic if desired 

Whisk or shake ingredients.

 Basil Pesto

  • Bunch of basil leaves
  • About 1/2 cup walnuts
  • Olive or avocado oil to desired consistency
  • Juice of a lemon
  • About 1/3 cup grated parmesan (not necessary)
  • Jalepeno seeded and chopped (not necessary)
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • Salt/pepper to taste 

Pulse all ingredients except oil in food processor. Once combined, drizzle olive oil through top while pulsing to your desired consistency- will go from thicker to vinaigrette as you add more. 

Spicy Cashew Dressing (my best attempt at my Sweetgreen favorite)

  • Cup of cashews soaked in water for a couple of hours
  • Cup of vegetable broth
  • Cayenne pepper (to taste- I like to add a LOT until it's extra spicy)
  • 1/4 cup of cilantro 
  • Tbsp of Tahini
  • Garlic clove
  • Juice of a lemon or lime 
  • Salt/pepper to taste

Pulse all ingredients except vegetable broth in food processor. Add vegetable broth little by little while pulsing until desired consistency. 

White Bean Hummus (Perfect for dressing chicken/tuna salads)

  • 1 can of white beans
  • Avocado or olive oil
  • Cayenne pepper to taste 
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 1-2 garlic cloves 
  • Salt/pepper to taste 

Pulse all ingredients except oil in food processor until smooth. Add oil through top of processor while pulsing until desired creamy consistency.