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Niçoise Grain Bowls

Frances Largeman-Roth
Cook Time:
20 mins
Prep Time:
15 mins
Servings:
4
RATE THIS RECIPE
(5)

Chef notes

Named after the French city it hails from, the Niçoise salad is a well-loved classic. It became popular in the 1920s when a French chef named Jean Orsi put it on the menu at his restaurant in, not Nice but San Francisco. A colorful and briny salad, the niçoise traditionally features a hard-boiled egg, green beans (haricot vert), boiled new potatoes, tomatoes, olives and tuna, all dressed in a vinaigrette and served on a bed of leafy greens. It’s a filling and protein-rich salad that is perfect for warm weather lunches and dinners al fresco.

Since I love the Mediterranean flavors of niçoise so much, I thought it would be fun to turn them into a grain bowl. You can use rice, wheat berries, farro or whatever cooked grain you like, but I chose quinoa since it’s quick-cooking and has a nice nutty flavor. I used canned tuna in olive oil, but you could also use tuna in water or elevate the dish by using fresh seared tuna.

This grain bowl is wonderful to meal prep because you can make all the components in advance, store them separately and then assemble them at mealtime. You could prepare this dish as a light summer dinner for your family or friends or prep it and enjoy it throughout the week for your work lunches. It also makes an impressive picnic meal when served with a baguette, cheese and a bottle of your favorite rosé wine. Experiment with including other fresh vegetables like radishes or cucumber, too.

Technique Tip: Instead of boiling water twice, you can save time (and water!) by blanching the green beans in the boiling water first, then removing the beans from the water with tongs and adding the potatoes to the boiling water.  

Swap Option: If you’d like to make a vegan version of this grain bowl, skip the eggs and tuna and add a half cup of chickpeas per serving instead.

 

Ingredients

For the Grain Bowl
  • 1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
  • 6 ounces trimmed green beans
  • 1 (1½ pound) bag new potatoes
  • 1 (12-ounce) container cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, halved
  • 4 teaspoons capers, drained
  • 1 cup mixed olives
  • 10 ounces canned tuna in olive oil
For the Vinaigrette
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 shallot, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Fulfilled by

Preparation

1.

In a large saucepan, combine 2 cups water with the quinoa and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Turn heat off, fluff quinoa with a fork and keep lid on until ready to use.

2.

Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add the green beans and cook for 2 minutes, until the color brightens. Use tongs to transfer the beans to a colander and run cold water over beans until they’re cool to the touch. Set aside.

3.

Add the potatoes to the boiling water and cook for 15 minutes, until cooked through but not mushy. Transfer to a colander and run cold water over potatoes until they’re cool to the touch. Cut potatoes in half with a knife and set aside.

4.

To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the lemon juice, Dijon and water in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until smooth and creamy. Add the shallot, salt and pepper and whisk to combine; set aside.

5.

To serve, place 3/4 cup quinoa in each bowl. Divide remaining ingredients evenly among four bowls. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and serve.