A delicious meal that’s ready in less than 30 minutes!
This is a super-flexible recipe that’s ideal for hot-weather dining as it’s terrific at room temperature and so quick and easy to prepare. You can switch up the vegetables if you like – adding in chopped peppers, diced avocadoes or sliced green onions, for example – and use gluten-free pasta if you wish. Add in feta or chopped anchovies if either of those are your thing; skip the eggs and tuna for a vegetarian or vegan version. To make getting this meal on the table even speedier, you can cook the eggs, prepare all the vegetables and make the vinaigrette the night before. Refrigerate until you’re ready to assemble the dish and all you’ll need to do is cook the noodles, drain the tuna and toss it all together! if you’re looking for a more traditional Salade Niçoise recipe, here’s my take with smoked salmon; I’ve also assembled a collection of some of my other favourite pasta salads.
For the salad:
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, cooled, peeled and sliced
- 1 jar (6 oz / 170 mL) artichoke hearts, drained and halved lengthwise
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) capers, drained
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) pitted Kalamata olives
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) halved cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) sliced cucumbers
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) thin green beans, blanched *
- 1 can (5 oz / 147 mL) tuna, drained and loosely crumbled
- 2 cups (500 mL) small pasta shells or macaroni
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped fresh parsley, to garnish
*to blanch beans, drop them in a pot of boiling water and cook for 2 minutes (3 if beans are thick). Drain and run under very cold water to stop the cooking. Pat dry on a clean towel.
For the vinaigrette:
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 1 small clove garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) Dijon mustard
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup (90 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
- Prepare all salad ingredients before cooking pasta.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of coarse salt then stir in the pasta. Cook to just al-dente according to package directions. Before draining, scoop out 1/3 cup of the pasta cooking water and set aside.
- While pasta cooks, make vinaigrette by putting lemon juice, garlic, Dijon, salt and pepper in a jar with a tight lid. Cover jar and shake to blend. Add olive oil; shake again. Taste and add more lemon, Dijon or salt to suit your tastes.
- When the pasta is cooked, drain and transfer it to a large serving bowl. Stir in the reserved cooking water so the shells don’t stick to each other.
- Add the artichokes, capers, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, beans and tuna (if using) to the pasta and toss very gently to combine. Shake vinaigrette again and drizzle over top, tossing gently once more. Garnish with chopped parsley and sliced hard boiled eggs (if using) and serve immediately.
Serves 3 – 4; recipe can easily be multiplied.