When it comes to weekday lunches, I lean towards options that are wholesome and can easily be made in advance (bonus points for big-batch cooking). But I also want something that feels a little special. Even if I only have 10 or 15 minutes for lunch, I want that time to feel like an escape from the rest of the day, and tucking into something slightly luxurious is exactly how to do it. A classic Nicoise salad, layered with tender fresh veggies, tuna, hard-boiled egg, briny olives, and an umami-packed vinaigrette does the job like no other. Pack it up in a Mason jar and you're ready to tote it to work.
Mason Jar Tuna Niçoise: Watch the Video
Prep on Sunday for Easier Lunches
While the recipe is written for a single serving, it's really easy to scale up. If you're already prepping the ingredients for one, it's really not much more work to double, triple, even quadruple the recipe. In fact, big-batch lunch prep gives you the most bang for your buck.
All the ingredients can be prepped on Sunday, so all that's left to do is assemble the Mason jars. Make a bigger batch of dressing, cook more potatoes and green beans, boil a few more eggs, chop more tomatoes, and wash extra greens. I prefer to store each component separately. While the jars can be assembled in advance, I think they're best when put together the night before or morning you plan to have them for lunch. Quart-sized Mason jars are your best bet for packing a lunch salad, as they're large enough to guarantee you have a salad filling enough to carry you through the afternoon.
Mason Jar Tuna Niçoise
For the vinaigrette:
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
For the salad:
4 ounces new potatoes
2 ounces green beans, trimmed
1 medium plum tomato
1 (4-ounce) can tuna packed in water, drained
1 hard-boiled egg
10 pitted Nicoise olives
6 Boston or butter lettuce leaves, torn into bite-sized pieces
Make the vinaigrette: Place all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk, breaking up the anchovy fillet, until emulsified.
Make the salad: Place the potatoes in a small saucepan and cover with cold water and a generous amount of salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until potatoes are tender and can easily be pierced with a knife, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the potatoes with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool completely.
Use the same saucepan and return the water to a boil. Add the green beans. Cook until just tender, about 2 minutes. Drain the beans and set aside to cool completely.
Assemble the salad: Add the vinaigrette to the bottom of a quart-sized Mason jar. Place green beans on the dressing. Core and dice the tomato, and layer over the green beans. Break up the tuna with a fork and add to the jar. Quarter the egg and add to the jar. Add the olives to the jar. Cut the potatoes into 1/2-inch-thick slices and add to the jar. Top with jar with the salad greens. Seal and refrigerate until ready to eat.
To serve, empty the jar into a large bowl and toss to combine.
- Make Ahead: The vinaigrette can be made a day in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The potatoes and green beans can be cooked up to 4 days in advance and stored separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator. The salad can be assembled in a jar a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator.