Vegetarianized Recipe: Spring Nicoise Salad


It’s been so warm and sunny that I feel springy. Inspired by the great lettuces, potatoes and asparagus in season now I decided to move this traditionally French summer salad up a few months by replacing the fresh tomatoes with my homemade dried, oil-packed tomatoes (or you could use radishes) and the green beans with asparagus. I also vegetarianized it by exchanging Mediterranean white beans for the tuna. FYI, ounce for ounce white beans have LESS calories, fat, sodium and cholesterol, and MORE fiber, calcium and iron than tuna.

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Servings: 4
Time: About 30 minutes active; several hours for things to come to room temperature (or overnight is easiest)

2 eggs
1 pound small potatoes
1 pickled onion, recipe follows
1/2 pound asparagus
1 head radicchio, washed well and chopped
3/4 cup dried tomatoes, packed in oil, drained and chopped (save the oil!)
4 ounces nicoise olives
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed

Pickled Onion:
3/4 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
10 peppercorns
10 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 small dried pepper
1 large onion, sliced thinly

1 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon mustard
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (use the oil from the dried tomatoes)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
2-3 tablespoons fresh herbs, like rosemary, oregano, thyme, parsley, tarragon, chives
1. Hard boil eggs by placing them in a small pot covered with cold water. Bring to boil, turn off heat, cover and let sit 20 minutes. Drain and refrigerate a few hours or overnight. Crack off shell and chop.

2. Par-boil potatoes by placing them in a small pot covered with cold water. Bring to boil, cook 5 minutes, drain and refrigerate a few hours or overnight. Slice thinly.

3. Pickle an onion by bringing vinegar, sugar, herbs and spices to a boil. Add onion slices and cook 2-3 minutes until onions begin to soften slightly. Remove from heat and refrigerate a few hours or overnight.

4. Steam, boil or sauté asparagus for a few minutes, making sure to retain crunch.

5. To make dressing, whisk lemon juice, mustard and extra virgin olive oit. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk together.

6. In a large bowl, toss dressing with radicchio, potatoes and asparagus. Divide among four plates. Arrange eggs, onions, tomatoes, olives and white beans around the lettuce mixture. Enjoy!

Writer Bio: Adrienne D. Capps loves food AND is a vegetarian! These things are not mutually exclusive in her world. She is passionate about eating, drinking, cooking, teaching, reading about food and growing food. Her goal with her food blog,, is to open up the world of vegetarian cooking and eating to the veg-friendly and the veg-curious in an accessible way. She promises never to try to convert or make you feel guilty—just that eating less meat can be part of a healthy, fun and, above all, tasty lifestyle.