Melissa Hemsley's Niçoise Salad with Fried Chickpeas

Melissa Hemsley's take on the classic Niçoise salad is made with crispy fried chickpeas and fresh, crunchy veg.

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Don’t mess with a classic? Sorry Niçoise, I have. This salad has all the best bits of the Niçoise plus extras and it always goes down well at a party as a sharing main. The chickpeas and lentils make this super satisfying, but feel free to swap in any beans in place of the chickpeas. If I don’t have radishes or cucumber, I sometimes add celery or apple for the crunch, which makes it a bit of a Waldorf/Niçoise hybrid. If you have any tomatoes or peppers, chop them in too or do a mix of asparagus or broccoli with the green beans.

Feeds 4 as a main
Cook time: 20 min


6 eggs
1 tbsp oil or ghee
480g cooked chickpeas (2 x 400g tins, drained and rinsed)
400g green beans, topped but not tailed
1 big handful pitted olives
2 tbsp capers
1 small tin anchovies, 4 sun-dried tomatoes or extra olives and capers
2 handfuls sliced radishes or cucumber
1 big handful chopped fresh parsley
1 big handful chopped chives or spring onions or 1 red onion, thinly sliced
6 handfuls salad leaves – I like a mix of leafy ones like watercress and then firmer leaves like little gem
240g cooked beluga or Puy lentils (1 x 400g tin, drained and rinsed)
200g feta (optional)
sea salt and black pepper
For the dressing:
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp raw honey or maple syrup
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
7 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


In a medium saucepan, cook the eggs for 7 minutes in strongly simmering salted water, then cool immediately in a bowl of iced water. When cool enough to handle, peel, half and season.

Meanwhile, add the oil or ghee to a large frying pan with salt, pepper and the chickpeas. Fry them over a medium heat for about 6 minutes until crispy, stirring halfway through, then set aside.

While the cooked eggs are cooling, put the egg saucepan back on the heat and steam the green beans in about half a mug of salted water with the lid on for 4–5 minutes until just tender and not squeaky sounding when you bite into them.

Whisk the dressing ingredients and some seasoning together in a bowl.

Assemble the salad by adding everything to a large platter. Drizzle the dressing over and toss everything together to coat or leave as is for everyone to help themselves.

Flexi swap: Vegans can leave out the eggs and it will still be a hearty and satisfying salad. Meat eaters could swap 300g cooked shredded chicken or fish for the feta.

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