The classic nicoise salad is taken up a notch with baked salmon and a simple Dijon vinaigrette. Get your forks ready because you’re gonna want to eat this!
As pretty as it looks and intriguing as nicoise sounds this meal is incredibly simple to assemble. It’s one of those recipes I like to enjoy for a light and satisfying meal, especially in warm weather.
It’s simple to put together when you have cooked potatoes and green beans in the fridge; so if you plan on making this recipe, why not make two meals from one idea? Exactly.
What is Nicoise Salad?
A nicoise salad is an iconic dish of France and consists of a variety of ingredients such as hard-boiled eggs, olives, tomatoes, anchovies, and french beans nicely arranged for both an eye and palate-pleasing meal.
Over the years, recipes have been revised to include roasted potatoes and canned tuna or salmon, but its concept is kept the same; fresh and simple ingredients.
Growing up in Spain, we ate nicoise salads often so they are near and dear to my heart. Now that I have kids of my own, I wanted to recreate the salad in a way everyone could enjoy, so I swapped the anchovies for salmon, green beans for french beans, added roasted potatoes, and a homemade vinaigrette.
The results? A protein-packed, healthy meal that my kids love and it makes me feel like a sophisticated woman. Mission accomplished.
Should Nicoise Salad be Served Warm or Cold?
Traditionally, nicoise salad is served cold. Aside from the hard-boiled eggs, none of the ingredients are cooked, including the green beans. This might work for some but for my family? HAH! I’ll take mine steamed, thank you.
I know I’m breaking a nicoise salad rules but since when do I follow the rules?
Traditional Nicoise Salad Ingredients
Type in nicoise on any search bar and a dozen images and recipes will pull up all with tuna, roasted potatoes, green beans, hard-boiled eggs, olives, and tomatoes over a bed of lettuce. However, the original was extremely basic, with hard-boiled eggs, capers, french beans, and tomatoes tossed in a dressing of olive oil, anchovies, and herbs.
While the original is delicious all on its own, this Salmon Nicoise is equally delicious and MUCH more kid-friendly. I don’t know if they’d forgive me for sneaking anchovies into their salad. Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe:
chopped Romaine lettuce: crisp, fresh, and green. You can use another type of lettuce such as mixed greens or arugula.
cherry tomatoes: sweeter than regular tomatoes and adds more texture to the salad.
steamed green beans: the perfect way to use steamed green beans from a previous dinner.
red potatoes: halved and roasted, which can be done ahead of time.
cooked salmon: use canned salmon or leftover baked salmon.
hard-boiled eggs: for extra protein. And if you want to make perfect hard-boiled eggs that are easy to peel, check out this post.
pitted Kalamata olives: swap for pitted black olives or omit completely if your family isn’t a fan.
I keep my freezer stocked with fresh salmon by ordering through Fulton’s Fish Market. This means I always have the ingredients I need to make this salmon nicoise.
Nicoise Salad Dressing
I used my homemade vinaigrette which is the most “kitchen action” of the entire recipe. It’s super light and brings out all the flavors of the salad ingredients, so it’s worth making your own! Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Juice from ½ lemon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅓ cup olive oil
If you’re prepping the dressing ahead, I recommend making it in a lidded jar so you can seal and refrigerate for up to a week. Give it a good shake before drizzling over the salad.
How to Make Salmon Nicoise Salad
This salad is made self-serve style, meaning everyone starts out with a bowl of lettuce then tops it with the ingredients they wish to include on their salads. It’s a method that makes dinner more interactive and you can separately prep the ingredients ahead of time.
Start with the vinaigrette
In a medium jar, combine the vinaigrette ingredients. Top with lid and toss to combine.
Place the chopped lettuce into 4 serving bowls or plates. Top each with tomatoes, steamed green beans, potatoes, salmon, eggs, and olives, making rows of each ingredient.
Toss it up!
Drizzle the salads with the vinaigrette and toss to combine.
You can also watch the entire process for this easy salad in the video below:
I’ve also found this self-serve style of serving dinner to be helpful for picky eaters. It makes the meal more “fun” and creates a relaxed environment so they are more likely to try something new.
If you’re looking for more insight and easy-to-implement strategies to help your picky eaters build a well-rounded palate check out the Happier Plates course.
Should Nicoise Salad be Composed or Tossed?
Have you noticed that all the ingredients in a nicoise salad look intact and arranged? Because it is! I’m going to follow the rules on this one, it is much easier to assemble and creates an impressive and visually appealing dish.
Also, this way makes it easier to serve as a family meal. If someone doesn’t like olives they can easily remove them which is more difficult with tossed salads.
How to Prepare Salmon for Nicoise Salad
Whether it’s baked, grilled, or from a pouch, there is no wrong way. I usually go for whatever I have on hand, usually, it’s baked salmon from a previous dinner. In fact, salmon, green beans, and potatoes are a meal all on their own, so next time you bake salmon for dinner add 2 extra fillets, potatoes, and green beans.Print
Salmon Nicoise Salad Recipe & Dijon Vinaigrette Dressing
The classic nicoise salad gets dialed up with baked salmon, roasted potatoes, and Dijon vinaigrette for a healthy and satisfying meal.
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings
- Category: Dinner
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Gluten Free
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
Juice from ½ lemon
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
⅓ cup olive oil
1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup steamed green beans
¼ lb red potatoes, roasted and diced
2 4-ounce packs salmon
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
½ cup pitted Kalamata olives
½ cup Vinaigrette Dressing
- In a medium jar, combine the Dijon mustard, Italian seasoning, red wine vinegar, garlic, lemon juice, salt, black pepper, and olive oil. Top with lid and toss to combine.
- Place the chopped lettuce into 4 serving bowls. Top each with cherry tomatoes, steamed green beans, potatoes, salmon, eggs, and olives, making rows of each ingredient.
- Drizzle the salad with the vinaigrette and serve.
- Serving Size: 1 salad
- Calories: 344
- Sugar: 5g
- Sodium: 606mg
- Fat: 23g
- Saturated Fat: 3.9g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 17.5g
- Fiber: 6g
- Protein: 22g
- Cholesterol: 131mg
Keywords: salad recipes, best salads, healthy salad recipes