Nicoise Salad


Since this week has mostly consisted of eating all the wonderful leftovers from our Valentine’s Day dinner, I thought it would be a nice break from the chocolate and pasta to create a salad meal. Salads usually lose their luster to me, along with smoothies, during the winter. However, this week we are experiencing temperatures in the upper 50s! It has been glorious and I’m trying to cling on to it as much as possible in case it decides to return to the 30s next week. But, for now, it’s out with the soups and in with the salads.

If you are turning your nose up and not thrilled about eating a salad for your main course, give me a minute to explain. This isn’t your bowl of lettuce and carrots type of salad. This is a healthy, fill you up, hearty meal in salad form, type of salad. The dressing will also make you want to lick your plate. Go ahead, I won’t judge.

Nicoise Salad with Green Goddess Garlic Dressing (adapted from Appetite for Reduction)
Ingredients: (for the salad)
3 cups romaine lettuce
2 cups chopped red skin potatoes (chopped into 1 or 2-bite chunks)
1 1/2 cups green beans, stems removed
1/3 cup halved kalamata olives
1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp capers
1 cup cherry tomatoes
Fresh parsley and chopped chives (to garnish)

Ingredients: (for the dressing)
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup fresh parsley
2 Tbsp tahini
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp miso
1/3 cup water
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4-1/2 tsp salt (adjust to taste)

Directions:
1. Prepare the dressing by placing the garlic cloves and parsley into the food processor. Process until thoroughly chopped. Add the remaining ingredients and process until well combined and very smooth. Adjust seasonings to your taste. Place in a sealed container and refrigerate until ready to serve.
2. Prepare your steamer pot for the potatoes. Once ready, steam the chopped potatoes for about 15 minutes. They should pierce easily with a fork. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath by filling a large mixing bowl halfway with ice water.
3. After 15 minutes of steaming add the green beans in with the potatoes and steam for another 5 minutes.
4. Transfer potatoes and beans to the ice bath and let them cool while you finishing preparing the salad.
5. Place the chickpeas in a mixing bowl and mash with a potato masher or fork. You want the mixture to remain chunky, but try to mash all of the chickpeas. Add the capers and 2 Tbsp of the dressing and mix well to combine.
6. To assemble the salads, begin by placing the lettuce onto plates. Divide the potatoes and green beans among the salads and add a handful of tomatoes. Place a scoop of the chickpea mixture in the center and on top of the salads, along with a handful of kalamata olives. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve with the dressing.

Traditional nicoise salads are topped with hard boiled eggs and tuna. However, the chickpea mixture offers a protein and fiber-packed vegan alternative and you don’t miss the eggs. The Green Goddess Garlic Dressing is incredible and my only wish was that I had made more to have for lunch today. A salad fit for a full meal. Enjoy!

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