My name is Mary.  I love cooking healthy food for family & friends, making specialty coffee, wine tasting, finding great beauty products, traveling, and organizing everything. I document it all here! xo

nicoise salad with chickpea tuna

nicoise salad with chickpea tuna

{vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, nut-free, vegetarian}

nicoise salad with chickpea tuna #makemary

It's strange to think of non-tuna tuna, but OMG let go of your doubts and fears.  When I first made this recipe, Joshua and I kept looking at each other with each bite, shaking our heads in both disbelief and delight.  The chickpea tuna has a bit of crunch from the sunflower seeds, and the capers add a tuna-esque flavor without the fishiness.  Sometimes plant-based meals can leave you feeling like you didn't get enough of something...but this salad is completely satisfying.  There are plenty of fats from the olives and olive oil, and lots of protein from the sunflower seeds and chickpeas.  And, the crispy potatoes fulfill your craving for carbohydrates. 

nicoise salad with chickpea tuna

I discovered this recipe from Golubka Kitchen after my friend, Heather, who mainly follows a dairy and meat-free diet, mentioned she sometimes struggles finding ways to get enough protein.  This is a concern that many people have who are curious about adapting a more plant-based lifestyle but fear their protein requirements won't be met.  However, there are lots of different ways to get ample protein with nuts, seeds and legumes (see this recipe, this recipe, this recipe, this recipe and this recipe for a few more ideas).

nicoise salad with chickpea tuna

I chose to use purple potatoes which aren't standard for a typical nicoise salad, but they were at my farmers' market and added a vibrant pop of color.  I roasted the potatoes to get a crispy texture, but you could also boil them.  Everything, minus the lettuce, does well served as leftovers.  You could also make chickpea tuna salad sandwiches with some smashed avocado, cuz why not???

Bon appetit!

nicoise salad with chickpea tuna

Total: 30 minutes | Prep 10 minutes | Cook: 25 minutes | Serves 4 as a side


parchment paper

baking sheet

food processor (or use a fork to mash)

mixing bowl

small whisk or fork

Pyrex measuring cup or bowl to make dressing

serving platter

salad utensils



for the vegan tuna

1 15-oz can chickpeas

1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds (can be raw or toasted)

1 shallot

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

red pepper flakes to taste

juice of 1/2 lemon

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

2-3 tablespoons high quality olive oil

1/2 cup dill, roughly chopped (plus more for garnish)

pinch of sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

2 tablespoons capers, plus teaspoon caper juice



1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

juice of 1/2 lemon

5 tablespoons high quality olive oil

sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste


for the salad

1 pound small potatoes, cut into thin rounds or quartered

avocado oil or neutral cooking oil

sea salt to taste

about 3 cups green beans, ends removed and cut in half

1 head of butter lettuce or preferred salad greens

1 1/2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

1 cup kalamata olives, roughly chopped



Preheat the oven to 450 F. Meanwhile combine all ingredients for the vegan tuna, aside from the capers, in a food processor. Briefly pulse in spurts a few times to mix the ingredients, while leaving a chunky texture (be careful not to over process).  Alternatively, you can chop the dill, dice the shallot and add the remaining ingredients into a bowl; mash with a fork until everything is combined but the texture remains chunky.  Then, mix in the capers plus caper juice.

In a mixing bowl, toss together the potatoes with enough olive oil to coat and sea salt and pepper to taste.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Spread out the potatoes, in an even layer, onto the baking sheet.  Cook for about 15 minutes, then flip them and cook another 10 minutes or until crispy and lightly browned. 

Heat olive oil or avocado oil in skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the green beans and salt to taste. Stir, then cook covered for about two minutes until the green bean are bright green and tender, but with a slight crunch. Remove them from the heat.  Meanwhile, whisk together the ingredients for the vinaigrette. 

Layer the butter lettuce on a large platter.  Then arrange the green beans, tomatoes, potatoes, chickpea tuna and olives on top.  Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad (if you have extra, serve it alongside the salad).  Garnish with dill and plenty of fresh ground pepper.

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