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Vegan Nicoise-ish Salad with Grilled Asparagus - The First Mess

Grilled Asparagus & French Lentil Niçoise-Inspired Salad

French lentil niçoise-inspired salad with grilled asparagus and caper dressing is a wholesome, deliciously vegan take on the classic salad.
Cuisine French
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword 10 ingredients, asparagus, capers, chives, dijon mustard, French lentils, green beans, kalamata olives, lentils, olive oil, olives, potatoes, radishes, shallots, spring, spring entertaining, summer, white wine vinegar
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 3 -4


  • Grill


Caper Shallot Dressing

  • 1 small shallot, finely minced (roughly 2 tablespoons of minced shallot)
  • 1 tablespoon capers, minced
  • ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil


  • ½ cup French lentils, rinsed
  • ½ lb mini potatoes
  • pound green beans, stems removed
  • lbs asparagus, woody ends trimmed
  • olive oil
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup pitted black olives, cut in half
  • 4-5 radishes, cut into wedges
  • 1 tablespoon minced chives


  • Make the caper shallot dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the minced shallot, caper, dijon mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Keep whisking the mixture while you slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Once the mixture is thoroughly combined, check it for seasoning and set aside.
  • Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the lentils to the water and a fat pinch of salt. Simmer the lentils until just tender, but still quite chewy, about 20 minutes. Drain the lentils and transfer them to a medium bowl. Toss the lentils with 2 tablespoons of the caper shallot dressing. Set aside.
  • Place the mini potatoes in the saucepan and cover them with an inch or two of cold water. Bring the pot to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer the potatoes, uncovered, until tender when pierced with a knife, about 15-20 minutes. Drain the potatoes. As soon as you can handle them, cut the potatoes into quarters. Transfer cut potatoes to a medium bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of the caper shallot dressing. Set aside.
  • Fill the saucepan with water one more time and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the green beans to the water with a pinch of salt. Simmer the green beans, uncovered, until they're crisp-tender, about 4-5 minutes. Drain the green beans and rinse with very cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
  • Heat your grill to high. Toss the asparagus in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place the asparagus on the grill. Cook until asparagus is crisp-tender and lightly charred, about 5 minutes. Remember to flip asparagus over at the halfway point.
  • Transfer grilled asparagus to a serving platter. In sections, top the asparagus with the lentils, potatoes, green beans, olives, and radishes. Drizzle the remaining caper shallot dressing over the salad, and garnish with the chives. Serve immediately.


  • Roasting the asparagus is definitely an option if you don't have access to a grill.
  • There are 3 boiled components in this salad (lentils, potatoes, and green beans). I cooked each one separately, drained it, and then started on the next one. Of course if you're on the ball and have 3 decently sized pots, you could have them all going at the same time.
  • Also, I like to make a triple batch of the caper shallot dressing to have around for other random salads and bowls throughout the week. Just a little hot tip!