A perfect salad to bring to an outdoor party
It’s that time of year again for engagement parties, bridal showers, and DIY weddings. Niçoise salad is one of my favorite go-to summer meals for outdoor entertaining. It’s packed with satisfying veggies and a fresh Dijon dressing. The ingredients are affordable and seasonal. Most importantly, you can make it the night before.
Traditionally the salad has eggs and tuna – usually not a good idea to serve buffet style in the heat. To my surprise, I found a vegetarian version when I worked in Belgium. I ate this salad for lunch every chance I got. They even served it with edible flowers.*
Vegetarian Niçoise Salad
1 cup quinoa
6 baby red potatoes
1 1/2 cups green beans
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 cup mixed olives
1/2 cup sliced radishes
¼ cup thinly sliced red onions
6.5 oz jar of marinated artichoke hearts
Juice of one lemon
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. raw-unfiltered apple cider vinegar
4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tbsp. fresh thyme
Sea salt and pepper to taste
1. Boil the potatoes for 15 minutes or until tender. *
2. As the potatoes cook, measure 1 cup of quinoa and place it into a fine-mesh strainer. Rinse the quinoa and drain. Add the quinoa to a pot with 2 cups of water. Drizzle a little EVOO into the pot and add a dash of sea salt. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to the lowest setting. Cook the quinoa, covered, for 15 minutes.
3. Drain and transfer the potatoes to a chopping board. Quarter or slice the potatoes. Let the quinoa stand for 5 minutes before fluffing it with a fork. If you prefer to have the quinoa and potatoes cold, refrigerate them for at least an hour. **
4. Add the green beans to a pan with a small amount of water. Bring the water to a simmer, and cook the beans for 2-3 minutes until they are bright green. Shock the beans by placing them in an ice bath, drain, and set aside.
5. Shake the oil, vinegar, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, thyme, and garlic in a closed container until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Divide the potatoes, red onions, green beans, cherry tomatoes, artichokes, olives, radishes, and quinoa evenly among the serving plates. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and enjoy.
*You’ll have to grow the pansies yourself without chemicals. I’ve also seen edible flowers at Whole Foods in the fresh herb section.
**You can cook the quinoa and boil the potatoes the night before.