Vegan Salade Niçoise for #GreensLove

We interrupt my usual post-fee weekend for a BLOGHOP!

 

This month’s theme is #GreensLove in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.  Naturally, I got unnaturally excited.  75% of everything I eat is green!

I thought about making another green smoothie, but decided that was getting old (not to my taste buds, but after you’ve seen one green smoothie pic, you’ve seen them all).

 

 

A salad seemed too obvious.  What about an not-so-obvious version of a famous salad?  As I brainstormed ideas for my French-themed vegan book club, I knew the dinner spread would be incomplete without the famous French  salad - Salade Niçoise.

 

A traditional (by traditional, I mean Julia Childs’ recipe :) ) Salade Niçoise consists of lettuce, green beans, shallots, vinaigrette, tomatoes, boiled potatoes, chunked tuna, hard-boiled eggs, anchovy fillets, Niçoise olives, and capers.

I couldn’t have tuna, potatoes, eggs, or anchovies.  That’s half the salad.  Undeterred, I set to work on recreating the dish in a fun way.

 

 

Dressing that can make or break a salad.  I wanted to light, herby vinaigrette that wouldn’t overwhelm with the stronger flavors from the olives and capers.  The lemon-thyme vinaigrette did the trick – the lemon flavors brought out the other veggies in the salad.  A high-quality olive oil allows you to use less in the recipe without compromising flavor.  This particular bottle is from my recent travels to Italy.

 

The other stand-out in this vegan-ized recipe was the “tuna” tempeh.  Meant to sub for the tuna, it doesn’t really taste like tuna (a good thing in my book).  Rather, it adds a slightly nutty, lemon-pepper protein addition.  The crunch it adds as a result of being slowly sautéed is a fun dimension to the salad.

 

 

You may think you’re going overboard with the pepper on the tempeh – and feel free to adjust to your tastes – but when it’s combined with the lemon flavors and them eaten with the other salad ingredients, it’s the perfect flavor.

 

The color of the salad is fabulous.  It was the most photogenic thing on the table!

 

 

You’ll notice I didn’t include measurements for the veggie toppings.  Add as much or a little as you like!  I simply added “handfuls” until the bowl was filled and looked pretty.

If you are unable to locate Niçoise olives, substitute Kalamata or another high-quality dark olive.  Read: don’t use your left-over pizza topping olives.

 

 

Check out these other (vegan) French dishes served that Book Club:

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Salade Niçoise

For the Salad:

  • Arugula lettuce
  • Red leaf lettuce
  • French green beans, ends removed and cut in 3-4 in pieces
  • Wax beans, ends removed and cut in 3-4 in pieces
  • Niçoise olives
  • Capers
  • Tomatoes, diced
  • Red onion (1/4-1/2 C), diced

 

Place lettuces in a large bowl.  In individual sections, add each veggie topping.

 

For the Tempeh:

  • 8 oz. tempeh, cut into 1-in cubes
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon, plus zest
  • 1-2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 4-5 drops liquid smoke
  • 1-2 drops liquid stevia
  • Salt, to taste

 

In a small bowl mix together remaining ingredients.  Toss with tempeh to coat well, and allow to marinate for 10-15 mins.

Heat oil in a medium pan over medium heat.

Place tempeh and any residual marinade in pan.  Cook, tossing occasionally until tempeh is lightly browned and crisped on the outside (~10 mins).

Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Once cooled, add to salad.

 

For the Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 C fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 C water
  • 2 T fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 C extra virgin olive oil

 

In a small bowl whisk together all ingredients except olive oil.  Slowly pour in the oil, whisking constantly.

Alternately, place all the ingredients in dressing bottle or jar and shake to combine.

Taste and adjust the seasonings before serving alongside the salad.

Note: If not using dressing right away, cover and refrigerate, bring to room temp and shake again before use.

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I’m excited to be co-hosting the #GreensLove event with the following fabulous bloggers.  Be sure to visit them, and to add your own recipe via the linky tool below!

 

ASTIG Vegan ~ Richgail ~  @astigvegan
Bon a croquer ~ Valerie ~ @Valouth
Cheap Ethnic Eatz ~ Evelyne ~ @cethniceatz
Easily Good Eats ~ Three Cookies
Oh Cake ~ Jessica ~ @jesshose

Join us in the March #greenlove by linking up any leafy green recipe below.  Don’t forget to link back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by the #greenlove event!  The twitter hashtag is #greenlove.

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Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

***

I am also honored to announce that I was nominated as a “Best Healthy Eating Blog” for the 2012 Fitterati Blog Awards on FitnessMagazine.com.  You guys are the best and a constant source of inspiration.  If you’re so inclined, pretty please click here and vote for me. :)

 

What’s the best green food you’ve made lately?

Is anyone running this weekend?  Good luck – I’d love to hear how it goes!!!

 

Comments

  1. says

    Ahh! Salade Nicoise was one of my favourite things ever pre-vegan. It looks gorgeous! A must-try for me once I get my hands on some tempeh. Just out of curiosity why couldn’t you make this with potatoes?

    • Laura says

      I made this while doing a cleanse and white potatoes weren’t “allowed.” Also, I don’t like white potatoes. ;)

  2. says

    Great idea to use the tempeh!Your salad looks colorful and delicious to say the least.I love all the flavors and textures that have come together.The dressing adds just the right splash of deliciousness to it all :)Yay for # Greenslove!

  3. says

    Ouu-la-la this updated version of salad is so refreshing and super heathy. I love re-inventing recipes it’s so much fun. I prefer tempeh over tuna – unless it’s sushi grade, then I get weak in the knees.

  4. says

    Beautiful colors and I love the dressing you put together. Salad nicoise is one of my summer favorites – I usually make it with grilled mahi mahi. I haven’t cooked with tempeh before – this looks really cool.

    • Laura says

      This is a good one to try for a non-salad eater – there’s so much going on flavor-wise you hardly notice you’re eating salad! :)

    • Laura says

      LOL! I got a good head start with last month’s cleanse. I think I’m “in the zone.” Thank you again for hosting the challenge. I’m loving the added motivation. :)

  5. says

    Psssh who said vegan food was boring?? This looks great- tempeh isn’t available in Mumbai but I think I am going to try recreating it with tofu instead! Thanks for the recipe :)

  6. says

    Laura, I love how you veganized this salad! :D And I love how this isn’t a skimpy salad either hahaha. Yay for beast salads and tons of fresh veggies. I sometimes ground up chickpeas to mimic “tuna” form. Have a great weekend!

  7. says

    Just stunning! I love that you could tweak this classic to fit your lifestyle! And your green heart is SO perfect for this blog hop…so creative. Happy Sunday~

  8. says

    I will soo vote for you!!! And if there was a contest on salads…this would be a winner! I love the presentation and anyone not familiar with tempeh would dig right in as it looks so good!!

    • Laura says

      That means so much – thank you, Linda! I love using tempeh for the texture, and because it’s less processed than tofu.

    • Laura says

      That may be a *bit* of an exaggeration… but all my smoothies are green! :)

      Thank you SOOOOO much for voting!

  9. says

    A vegan salade nicoise? Interesting. Now I like the taste of tuna, but I would be intrigued to try the tempeh version – earthy usually appeals to me :)

    • Laura says

      I’d love to hear what you think… it’s hard for me to compare since I don’t eat tuna! (Aside from the memory of tuna salads my mom made every Sunday ~20 years ago!)

  10. says

    I love everything about this post! And I agree with you on the green smoothie topic (although, my excuse was that I was in a time crunch ;)), I can’t wait to share the rest of my ideas this month! I will definitely be trying that vinaigrette recipe out, as it sounds delicious and light. Sending #greenslove your way! :)

    • Laura says

      Thank you! The dressing was my favorite part… next to the tempeh. I’m looking forward to more of your ideas for sure. :)

  11. says

    I love salads, and will have to make your jaw dropping , gorgeous salad. one soon, though probably not vegan. This salad is perfect for #greenslove, as is your green heart:) Sending lots of #gremslove your way.

    Congrats on the Top 9 today!

  12. says

    Vegan salad nicoise…you are my hero! This looks so good, and I haven’t had salad nicoise since I became a vegetarian! Yum!

  13. says

    Oh man, I have smoked salmon now. This salad sounds perfect. OK, yes, I know I’m making a big substitution, but still! Both versions are good right?

  14. says

    Congratulations on your nomination! I just made my first vegan banana bread in honor of your blog :) I’ve been trying to do a lot more vegan recipes! This salad is gorgeous too! I just had a nicoise salad the other night for dinner (only with the tuna eggs and potatoes….I have a real soft spot for hard boiled eggs) I’ll have to try this version later on this week though, it looks great!

    • Laura says

      Thank you! How did the bread turn out? Banana bread is my favorite loaf. Can’t wait to check yours out!

      • says

        The middle sank :( Its cooked all the way through but the middle got kinda mushy, do you think I put too many bananas in it? The flavors reallyyyy good though (I just bought the babcakes cookbook, yum!), I’m going to give it another try today!

        • Laura says

          Possibly… or too much of some sort of liquid. Did you use oil or flax eggs? BabyCakes is a great one to have – I love everything in that book!

          • says

            I used oil, the book called for coconut but I only had canola at home? But Im about to give it another go so wish me luck!

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