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Navy Bean Nicoise


This vegetarian version of the classic Nicoise salad recipe substitutes white beans for the tuna and lemon zest for the anchovies. Some beans are smashed so that they will cling to other ingredients.

  • Servings: 4

Source: Body+Soul, July/August 2005


  • Sea salt and ground black pepper

For the Dressing

  • 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh basil leaves

For the Salad

  • 1 pound small red potatoes, boiled, then halved or quartered
  • 1 head red-leaf lettuce, leaves separated, washed and dried, inner leaves reserved for future use
  • 5 ounces baby spinach
  • 2 ripe medium tomatoes, cored and cut in wedges
  • 1 pound green beans, into 1-inch pieces, blanched and dried
  • 1/2 cup Nicoise olives
  • 3 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained

For the Protein

  • 3 cups cooked navy beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 medium celery stalk, diced
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered lengthwise


  1. In a small bowl whisk together lemon juice, mustard, shallot, parsley, basil, salt and pepper to taste; set aside.

  2. Put just-cooked potatoes in medium bowl, toss with 3 tablespoons dressing and salt and pepper to taste; set aside.

  3. Place large lettuce leaves side by side in a circle around a large serving platter so the leaf tops extend just beyond the rim.

  4. In a large bowl, mix spinach with 2 tablespoons dressing. Create a bed of spinach on platter, leaving a frilly-edged frame of lettuce leaves exposed.

  5. Put navy beans in empty bowl and use the back of a large spoon to smash some. Add celery, lemon zest, 3 to 4 tablespoons dressing, salt and pepper to taste, and mix, Mound the beans in the center the platter, on top of the spinach.

  6. Mound potatoes on one-quarter of the platter to the left of navy beans. Then arrange tomato wedges in adjacent quadrant.

  7. Put green beans, 2 tablespoons dressing, and salt and pepper taste in the bowl; mix and mound the dressed green beans in the third quadrant.

  8. Arrange the eggs and olives in remaining quadrant. Sprinkle entire salad with capers. Serve immediately.

Cook's Notes

Navy beans are chosen simply because they are readily available, but don't hesitate to use any high-quality white beans. (Try cannellini or Great Northern.) If you use dried beans cook them with garlic for extra flavor.

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