It’s too hot. Johanis and I keep on picking ridiculous fights with each other. My energy levels are low. I have a constant low-grade headache. The inspiration for this salad was heat-related: I couldn’t be bothered properly cooking anything and I was craving a cool salad that would fill me up. I took a classic French recipe, the niçoise salad, and vegetarianized it for my own amusement (and now yours, I hope). It’s everything I wanted it to be: fresh, interesting, zingy, filling.
Instead of the traditional tuna, I used my favourite tinned tuna substitute: chickpeas roughly mashed with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. The provide all of the protein-rich savouriness you need to balance the fresh veggies, without being, well, made of meat. I also omitted the traditional anchovies; all niçoise salads already have olives enough to provide the saltiness required.
This recipe could be easily made vegan by omitting the hard-boiled egg; they’re traditional but not really pivotal, I think.
- 12 baby potatoes
- 400g green beans, trimmed
- 1 can of chickpeas
- 1 punnet of cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ cup of black olives (pitted)
- 1 cos lettuce, outer leaves discarded
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
- ½ cup of olive oil
- ⅓ cup of red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper
- Cook the baby potatoes in a large saucepan of boiling water for 10 minutes or until the baby potatoes are tender.
- Meanwhile, make the salad dressing. Whisk together ⅓ cup of olive oil, the red wine vinegar, and the Dijon mustard, then season to taste.
- Roughly mash the chickpeas with a little olive oil and season to taste.
- Remove the baby potatoes from the saucepan and rinse them in cold water. You can halve the baby potatoes or leave them whole if you prefer.
- Add the green beans the saucepan, cooking them in boiling water for just a couple of minutes or until the beans are just tender. Drain the green beans and rinse them in cold water.
- In a large serving bowl, add the cos lettuce leaves, halved cherry tomatoes, olives, mashed chickpea mixture, baby potatoes, green beans, and boiled eggs.
- Add the dressing just before serving.