These days many of us are all about using up what my British friend calls “bits and bobs.” This Instant Pot Salad Niçoise fits that bill perfectly. It features pressure cooked potatoes, beets, eggs, and snap peas or string beans. They sit on top of mixed greens or any type of lettuce. Add whatever other appropriate ingredients (that is, the “bits and bobs”) you have on hand. Then top with vinaigrette dressing and you’ve got a delightful side or main course salad.
What makes this an updated version of the classic Niçoise salad? The pressure cooker or Instant Pot makes preparing the cooked ingredients a breeze. With a method I borrowed (adapted) from Julia of Imagelicious, you can make all the ingredients that require cooking in one pot in just a few minutes.
Even with gurus Jane Bonacci and Sara De Leeuw in my corner, I’m still hesitant to use my Instant Pot. After reading the confidence-building instructions in their The Gluten-Free Instant Pot Cookbook and making their Instant Pot Chipotle Pumpkin Vegan Chili and their Creamy Vegan Wild Rice Soup, certainly I should be in “not-a-newbie” status.
So why am I still afraid of this safe and useful gadget? Between my Instant Pot’s flashing lights and buttons and the memory of my grandmother’s dangerous old-fashioned pressure cooker on the stove, I’ve got a lot of fears to overcome. But overcome them I did.
If you have an Instant Pot or other modern pressure cooker, take my advice. Turn it on for this recipe and the others in this month’s Progressive Eats “Instant Pot Favorites.” You’ll be glad you did.
Tips for Making Instant Pot Salad Nicoise
- The bottom layer – Use whatever lettuce, spinach, or other raw greens you please, alone or in combination.
- What to add – For my salad, the more the merrier. However, I can also understand folks who go with a few, well-chosen ingredients. Whatever you decide, keeping to the Franco-European theme is required or the salad gods will ask you to rename your salad.
- Eggs – With the timing specified, the hard boiled eggs’ yolks are medium-hard. I like them that way. If you prefer yours with a harder yolk, wait a while before plunging them in cold water.
- Cutting the vegetables – Bite-sized pieces are preferable. Besides, you’ll need small pieces of potatoes and beets for cooking.
- Using the Instant Pot/pressure cooker – This recipe calls for layering the potatoes, beets, eggs, and snap peas or string beans with just a small amount of water. The beets will color the potatoes. In my case, the golden yellow beets tinted the potatoes ever so slightly. If you use red beets, you’ll end up with pinkish potatoes. If you prefer your potatoes pristine, leave out the beets or cook them separately.
- Salad dressing – Although I like vinaigrette, when I’m feeling lazy, I simply drizzle olive oil and vinegar over the salad. In that case, it’s nice to add a sprinkle of fresh or dried herbs – thyme, tarragon, or oregano come to mind.
Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. This month’s theme is Instant Pot Favorites, and our host is Karen who blogs at Karen’s Kitchen Stories.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats it’s a virtual party. The host chooses the month’s theme. Then members share recipes on the theme that are suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out. Come along and see all of the delicious fiesta inspired dishes!
Instant Pot Favorites
- Instant Pot Salad Nicoise – Mother Would Know (you’re here!)
- Instant Pot Leek and Potato Soup – Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Charred Tomato Risotto – The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Pressure Cooker Beef Stew – That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala – SpiceRoots
- Bison Tortilla Soup in the Instant Pot – Shockingly Delicious
- Instant Pot Creamy Parmesan Brown Rice (Gluten Free) – The Heritage Cook
- Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese with Crispy Bacon – Creative Culinary
- Instant Pot Chocolate Custard – The Redhead Baker
Instant Pot Salad Nicoise
This simple version of a composed salad known as Salad Nicoise cooks potatoes, beets, hard boiled eggs, and snap peas or string beans all at once in the Instant Pot (or any other pressure cooker). A great way to enjoy cooked ingredients in salad with just a single pot in a few minutes.
- 2 large Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes 12 ounces/350 g
- 1-2 small beets, cut into 1-inch cubes 2-4 ounces/60-120 g
- 2 large eggs
- 1 handful snap peas or string beans, ends cut and strings removed
- 1/2 can of tuna
- 8-10 cherry or grape tomatoes
- other ingredients (see note)
- See note
Put the cubes of potato and beets on the bottom of the Instant Pot. Add the eggs (gently) on top, along with the snap peas or string beans loosely wrapped in a small piece of aluminum foil. (Leave at least one end of the foil open. Add 1/2 cup of cold water to the pot and close it. Turn the valve to "seal" (the opposite of "vent"), set it for high pressure and set the time for 2 minutes. It will take less than 5 minutes for the Instant Pot to pressurize and then the timer will begin to count down the 2 minutes. Once the timer goes off, use the quick release (with a towel, oven mitt, or something similar to protect your hand from the hot steam) and wait for the release to go down. Carefully unlock the pot cover and remove the vegetables and eggs.
Using a spoon (because they are so hot) immerse the eggs in ice water, then peel and halve or quarter them. Run cold water over the potatoes, beets and snap peas or string beans to stop them from cooking. Drain them well and if desired, add a bit of dressing to those vegetables while they are still warm.
Put the layer of lettuce and/or other greens on two plates or in two bowls. Then add half the potatoes, beets, eggs, snap peas or string beans and whatever else you're using, arranging them in the bowls as nicely as possible.
Add dressing or serve on the side.
If you don't mind peeling the potatoes and beets before cooking, it makes them look prettier when done. In this version, I left the peels on until after cooking. Then they slip off more easily, but also create a more ragged look. Your choice.
The add-ins are endless and up to your taste and creativity. Consider roasted peppers, capers, olives, cannellini beans or chick peas, carrots, celery, cucumbers, anchovies, and even feta cheese. I kept this particular salad fairly simple, but I often put in many more ingredients for a heartier (main course) salad.
The amounts provided in this recipe make a large side salad. To make this a main course for lunch or supper, add more ingredients or double up on the amounts provided. You won't need to add more water to the Instant Pot if you double the potatoes, beets, eggs, and snap peas or string beans.
For dressing, if I'm putting one together (as opposed to simply drizzling on oil and vinegar) I use a simple vinaigrette. You can make it while the vegetables and eggs are cooking.