A Crunchier and Filling Nicoise Salad

Happy New Year Everyone! A great beginning….I can feel the vibe! Really! It does amaze me though that we all look at the New Year as a fresh start though we are constantly a part of beginnings and endings all throughout the year. But why not! With a beginning comes hope and.. belief. In yourself..in the world around you…in good. Hope is good, isn’t it?

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Life just got insanely exciting and relaxed for me at the same time. Moving houses at the end of December is not exactly the perfect time to pack away bakeware and dinnerware in boxes. Though I managed to put up a decent number of cookie and other posts, it almost hurt not being able to carry it through to the end. Cooking and Photography are an integral part of my being today and I cannot imagine a day without doing it. Somehow life makes a lot more sense when I am whisking, stirring, chopping, mixing or piping.

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Our move was seamless though hectic as expected. But we’ve been anything but tired….lazy but not tired. Living on the waterfront does have its advantages. We’ve been getting into a crazy habit of packing our meals and eating them outside. I’ve been getting some pretend haircuts and therapies from soft little hands while listening to a different version of ‘Poky Little Puppy’. each time. Lucky me also got to eat some ‘masterpiece’ cookies made with care. All in all I love the exciting little changes that have come about with a change in surroundings.
Talking about food, I don’t have any New Year resolutions and not even the slightest intention of swaying away from Sugar recipes. But I love salads, soups or any other food and they will continue to appear on the blog. It’s more of a creative outlet for me. As with this one. I wanted to give the classic Nicoise a little makeover and make it filling enough to substitute a meal for the health conscious resolution-makers.

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Instead of boiled potatoes, I have grilled them. To do that quickly, I cooked the potatoes in the microwave and finished them on the chargrill. The Tuna steaks or flakes in a typical Nicoise Salad have been replaced by Tuna meatballs that are pretty quick to put together. The tuna meatball recipe will yield about 25 meatballs. If you don’t want to use up all of them in the salad, you can serve some with a pasta or wrap. With the meatballs, hard-boiled eggs, beans, olives, tomatoes, lettuce you can imagine how nutritious, tasty and filling this will be.

I hope you all are off to a great start after spending ‘quality’ time with family, friends and food. Isn’t that what matters, whatever the day or whichever the year!

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A Crunchier and Filling Nicoise Salad
Serves 4

For the Salad
Tuna Meatballs (recipe below)
2 grilled potatoes (recipe below)
4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
300 g green beans, cooked (to do this, cook in boiling water for 2-3 minutes until bright green and tender crisp. Refresh under cold running water and drain)
1/2 cup kalamata olives
1 tomato, seeded and sliced
Cos lettuce and salad leaves of your choice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, mustard and sugar until combined. Season with salt and pepper. Divide the salad leaves, meatballs, eggs, potatoes, green beans, tomatoes and olives evenly among serving bowls. Drizzle with dressing. Sprinkle salt and pepper if required. Serve

For the Tuna Meatballs
450 g canned Tuna (in spring water or Brine), drained
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs, from a day old whole grain bread (to make, just run a slice of bread through the food processor)
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1/2 tsp dried mixed herbs
2 tbsp. grated parmesan
1 tbsp. grated lemon zest
1 egg lightly beaten
Salt and pepper to season

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Brush a baking tray with olive oil
Place the canned tuna, breadcrumbs, herbs, parmesan, lemon zest, salt and pepper and mix with your hand until well combined. Add egg and mix well. Roll into medium meatballs between your palms.
Place on the oiled baking tray and brush with oil. Bake for 15 minutes or until form and slightly golden brown. Once cooked, set aside to cool.

For the Grilled Potatoes
2 large Russet potatoes
1 tbsp. olive oil
salt to taste

Pierce each potato all over with a fork. Cook them on high in a microwave for 5 mins. Turn over and cook for another 5 mins. (Take care while doing this as the potatoes are extremely hot). Let cool for 10 minutes. Slice into wedges. Drizzle with oil and season. Heat a chargrill pan on high heat and place the wedges. Cook for 5 minutes on each side until cooked through and charred. Set aside




  1. says

    I never believed in resolutions. Actually I did many moons ago but what’s the point I hardly crossed the line I drew. These days, its balance in everything; eat whatever you like in moderation.

    I think by now you would have known that I sugar rush isn’t for me yet I love to see the outcome of the stirring, mixing and baking. And with open hands, I am welcoming this nicoise (gosh, don’t even know how to pronounce it) salad. Absolutely love the whole platter and the dip is trilling too.

    Glad to hear that you have almost settled down in a beautiful place. Enjoy the moments and continue with stirring and mixing. Looking forward to more baked goodies soon. Take care.

    • Sugar et al says

      I am touched that you appreciate the sugar high here despite not doing it yourself in real life. Thank you Nava!

  2. says

    Happy New Year! And enjoy your new home in 2014! I think it will be a great beginning and I bet many delicious things will rise from the kitchen. : ) I love your spin on the classic nicoise. The tuna meatballs is such a wonderful idea – it’s nice to add a bit more warmth and heft to salads right now (we’re expecting a blizzard tonight where I am!).

  3. says

    A lovely start to the New Year, Sonali! I never make NY resolutions as you already know, but I can definitely eat more salad! Especially if it so beautiful. I’ve always liked Niçoise salad and like your revamp, definitely beautiful and tasty.
    Looking forward to more delicious sugar posts from you, have a wonderful year Sonali, and see you sometime this year!!

    • Sugar et al says

      Thank you Nazneen! For some reason I look at salads like a main meal more than a side. I can’t wait to see you all in person!

  4. says

    I can feel the fresh start of the new year with this crunchy salad. I love nicose salad, although haven’t had from long time and this one with tuna balls look more delicious. Happy New Year!

  5. says

    I love Nicoise salad…it’s the only salad that really feels like a meal to me! Yours is just beautiful. And I love eating beautiful things! I’m dying to try the tuna meatballs…very creative! Happy New Year…though every day is a new beginning!
    : )

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