Salad is pretty boring – let’s just get that out there. Consuming leaves, as a concept, is a bit sad, but there are ways that you can make these things less punishing. For example, drowning said leaves in salad dressing, or putting the leaves one by one into a deep fat fryer. HOWEVER, this does somewhat negate the healthfulness of eating a salad in the first place, which brings us back to square one.
Enter the Niçoise.
This is a French* salad that’s packed with protein, and you need minimal dressing so it’s easy to keep the oil-content down as well. I had a version at Pizza Express a couple of weeks ago that blew my taste buds away, and I’m doing my very best to recreate those flavours here.
Because fate sometimes smiles upon me (though I get the distinct impression it’s usually laughing at me), bottles of Pizza Express light House dressing are available in supermarkets, so my lazy ass doesn’t even have to try and recreate it – which means less washing up, fewer ingredients, and more time for passionate consumption of food.
So here’s my version of a Niçoise salad; to make things easier for those of us trying to eat as healthily as possible, I’ve also included the SmartPoints® per portion, which I’ve calculated using the app**. For you general healthy eaters, this really is a filling, protein-packed salad, regardless of what measure you use!
Tuna & Artichoke Niçoise Salad (Pescatarian, Gluten-free)
Serves 2 (6sp per portion)
Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins
Small saucepan with lid; medium-large bowl; slotted spoon or spaghetti spoon (so good for safely getting eggs in and out of boiling water, let me tell you – absolutely useless for spaghetti though); an eating partner who doesn’t mind that you’re probably both gonna smell a little fishy after dinner.
- 100-150g bag of salad (preferably something crunchy, but use whatever you fancy)
- 110/112g tin of tuna in spring water, drained
- Roughly 100g artichokes in oil (either antipasto-style or from the deli), very thoroughly drained
- 8 fillets anchovies (in olive oil, drained and patted with kitchen towel to remove as much oil as possible)
- 30g pitted black olives, drained
- 2 tsp capers
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cucumber
- 2 large tomatoes/handful of cherry tomatoes
- 3 tbsp Pizza Express light House dressing (but you can use whatever dressing you like)
- Boil a kettle and get your saucepan on a medium high heat. Get the boiled water into the pan and, once you’ve got a “rolling boil” (i.e. you still get bubbles on the surface of the water when you stir), carefully lower your egg into the water and put the lid on. Cook for 6-8 minutes (6 minutes gives very gooey, still runny yolks, which is how I like ’em), then carefully remove the eggs from the water and place in your bowl, covering them with cold water to make them easier to handle later on. Set aside to cool and prepare the rest of your salad.
- Wash the salad if needed (pre-washed salad is easy to find, and saves a lot of time and mess). Cut the cucumber into half moons or quarters, the tomatoes into wedges (or just halve them if using smaller tomatoes), and halve the artichokes and olives. Drain the water off your eggs, and take them out – dry your bowl with some kitchen towel and pop your salad, cucumber, tomatoes, capers, artichokes and olives into the now-vacated bowl. Now – PEELING THE EGGS:
- Peeling boiled eggs is actually really easy, and all you need is a teaspoon. Tap the top point of the egg sharply all over with the back of the spoon and remove enough of the shell (and that thin, papery membrane) that you can get the teaspoon between the white and the shell. Slide it underneath and around, and you’ll find that the shell comes away incredibly easily. You can then halve or quarter the eggs and set them aside. I’ve put a couple of photos below to show you how easy this is to do.
- Add the dressing to the salad and toss everything together with your hands, a couple of spoons, or salad servers (if you’re fancy), dividing between two bowls. Flake the drained tuna over the salad, then add the anchovies and eggs. Serve as it is — or with a side of garlic bread if you, like me, have a tendency to stare longingly at any and all carbohydrates that cross your path.
This is a lovely spring/summer dish, and I enjoyed it immensely with a glass of Prosecco. In reality, I would probably enjoy most meals with a glass of Prosecco, but are you really in a position to judge? I mean, unless the Pope is reading this. Although, are you in any position to judge either? Really???
*I’m sure the French would disagree that this has anything to do with their great and generally side-eyeing nation, but roll with me here.
**This is for reference only, and if you make any adjustments, you might want to run it through the app or use your scales just in case. I’m on Weight Watchers Flex®, so if you’re doing it the old way the SP value will be different as you’ll have to count the tuna and egg for starters.
DISCLAIMER: I am not affiliated with, sponsored by, or given any kind of incentive to blog about Weight Watchers. It’s just something I’m doing at the moment, and I thought I’d make it as easy as possible for myself when looking back over my own recipes! In fact, I pay them on a monthly basis, so if they’d like to start doing things the other way round, I’m game.