Nicoise Pasta Salad
with canned tuna / green beans / olives
This pasta salad version of the classic French Nicoise Salad can be made ahead and is great served warm or at room temperature.
Smarts #1: Be sure to season your pasta water before cooking the pasta. Salt in the pasta water will add flavor to both the pasta and the green beans.
Smarts #2: Look for pre-sliced olives for the pasta salad or slice them yourself before adding them.
- Garlic - 1 clove, chopped
- Vinegar, sherry - 1 Tbsp (sub red or white wine vinegar)
- Lemon juice - 2 tsp
- Mustard, Dijon - 2 tsp
- Honey - 2 tsp
- Oil, olive - 4 Tbsp
- Green beans - 8 oz, trimmed and chopped into 1" / 2.5 cm pieces
- Pasta, any fun shape - 8 oz
- Eggs - 4
- Tomatoes, medium - 2, chopped (sub cherry / grape tomatoes)
- Green onions - 2 stalks, chopped, green and white parts combined
- Tuna, canned (5 oz / 142 g) - 2 cans, drained (look for Spanish or Italian varieties packed in olive oil)
- Olives, nicoise - 1/2 cup (sub pitted kalamata, use pre-sliced olives if you’d like)
- Cheese, mozzarella pearls - 4 oz (sub chopped mozzarella or crumbled feta)
- Green beans / Garlic - Prep as directed. Store separately. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Pasta and green beans - Cook pasta according to package directions. In the last 4 minutes of cooking, add green beans to the boiling pasta. Drain well. If cooking ahead, toss with some oil to minimize sticking. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Boil eggs - Cover eggs with cold water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and then turn off heat. Put a lid on the pan and let eggs sit in hot water for 11 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Make vinaigrette - Whisk together garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, and honey. Add olive oil while whisking. Season with some salt and pepper. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Tomatoes / Green onions - Prep as directed.
- Tuna - Drain well.
- If you would like the pasta warm and it was cooked ahead, reheat it briefly in the microwave. (This is optional - the pasta salad can be served warm or room temperature.)
- In a large mixing bowl, gently combine pasta, green beans, tomatoes, green onions, olives, mozzarella pearls, and tuna. Fold in vinaigrette.
- Taste and season pasta salad with some salt and pepper.
- Roll eggs against a hard, flat surface to break up shell and then peel. You can chop the eggs and fold then into the pasta or slice them down the center and serve them on top. (Season the tops of the eggs with some salt and pepper if you’re serving them on top.)
- Divide pasta salad between bowls and serve. Enjoy!
Good stuff! Sadly, the pasta I picked was too “fun” and didn’t include time to cook (!?), so I had to guess. It took way longer than expected, so my green beans were sooooo soft. Still good, though.0 Helpful
This was delicious on a hot day! I used only 1 can of tuna for 4 servings and it was perfect for us. I liked the dressing and thought the amount was just right.0 Helpful
I wonder if fellow Cooksmarts cooks feel the same way - I always end up thinking the dressing recipes are not enough if made as followed, so this time I added a bit more. Glad I did. Good, flavorful pasta0 Helpful
Great meal to make ahead and allow family members to eat when available (great for busy nights). Love all the flavors together, would probably make 1.5 dressing next time. Would also add spring mix, not necessarily because it needs it but just for added nutrients.0 Helpful
Good solid pasta salad. Could have used more/more flavorful dressing.0 Helpful
Really easy to put together and nice for a hot day0 Helpful