Packed with tender pesto-smothered salmon, ultra crispy roasted baby potatoes, crispy green beans, salty kalamata olives, and plenty of buttery lettuce, our Roasted Salmon Nicoise Salad is the salad you’ll want to eat and stare at all summer long. This fresh hearty salad is our take on a classic but in our opinion, so much better.
Roasted Salmon Nicoise Salad
Now THIS is a salad. Perfectly roasted salmon and crispy baby roasted potatoes, all smothered in (store-bought) pesto, crisp green beans, salty olives, juicy tomatoes, and the most stunningly beautiful soft-boiled eggs . These are the makings of our Salmon Nicoise Salad – our version of a classic, but done much much better.
Like many of our entree salads (Green Goddess and this Thai Chicken Salad come to mind), this one is packed with ALL the things so there is no mistaking it for a supporting role in a meal lineup.
While I love a traditional Nicoise salad, sometimes, it lacks a little bit of imagination and creativity. To amp up the flavor we use salmon instead of tuna, and opt to roast it after smearing the top with pesto. This creates a flaky, flavor-packed base for the Nicoise salad I can’t get enough of.
To streamline the cooking process, we roast baby potatoes alongside the salmon and then hard-boil the eggs and blanch the green beans while everything is working in the oven.
As we do in many of our recipes that call for a vinaigrette, we put our classic Lemon Dijon Dressing to work by dressing the buttery greens with it before piling everything on top and drizzling with extra vinaigrette and pesto to finish it off.
Ingredients in Salmon Nicoise Salad
Potatoes. The smaller the potatoes, the cuter the salad. At least that’s how it goes in my head. If you can’t find these adorable baby potatoes, small Yukon gold or red potatoes will work just fine.
Salmon. Traditionally Nicoise salad calls for sushi-grade ahi tuna, which I love but salmon is much more approachable and affordable so that’s what we went with. You can use salmon that has the skin on or off, just be sure to take it off before assembling the salad.
Pesto. Now is not the time to get fancy with homemade pesto, but if you already have it on hand as I do many times in the summer, then go for it. Otherwise, I always look for pesto in the refrigerated section instead of something shelf stable as it tends to be fresher.
Eggs. For me, you can’t have a Salmon Nicoise Salad or any Nicoise salad for that matter, without eggs and they need to be soft-boiled. I don’t like them so soft that the egg runs over everything, but I like for them to somewhat gelled in the center.
Green beans. I like to keep things fancy by using haricot verts, the French version of a green bean, but any fresh green bean will work great. The great characteristic about the French version is your don’t have to trim them before blanching.
Look for beans that are bright green without a lot of bruising on them
Butter lettuce. I like for everything to be nestled on a green of some sort and butter lettuce is almost always my number one choice. The greens are delicate and buttery, but when very lightly dressed, hold up well to the other ingredients.
Vinaigrette. Any vinaigrette will work here, but we’re partial to our homemade dijon vinaigrette. If you don’t want to make it, just a little bit of olive oil, lemon, juice and salt and pepper would be a great substitute
Everything else. Also in the lineup are juicy heirloom cherry tomatoes, salty kalamata olives, and plenty of briny capers.
Let’s make Salmon Nicoise Salad!
It’s important you follow the instructions step-for-step to make the process streamlined. If you get out of order, this simple salad could take you a very long time to make.
So! Start out by prepping everything. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. and bring a semi-large pot of water to a rolling boil.
Cook the potatoes. Add the potatoes to a medium bowl and toss with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread on the prepared baking sheet and roast for about 10 minutes.
Prep the salmon. While the potatoes cook, smother the salmon with pesto after seasoning with a good amount of salt and pepper. When the potatoes have cooked for about 10 minutes, toss them and move them to the side to make room for the salmon. Add the salmon to the other side of the pan and cook another 12-15 minutes until the salmon is cooked through and the potatoes are crisp.
Boil the eggs. Here’s where the streamlining comes in. While the salmon and potatoes cook, you’re going to boil the eggs and blanch the green beans. Soft boiled eggs take about six to seven minutes to cook, so after dropping the eggs in, set a timer for six and and half minutes (or seven if you want the yolk cooked a little bit more). When there are two minutes left, drop the green beans in.
When the timer goes off, immediately drain the eggs and green beans and run them under cold water. This will help to stop the cooking process of both ingredients and leave with a perfectly soft-boiled egg and the most vibrant crisp green beans.
Dress with pesto. After the green beans cook, pat them dry with paper towels and toss them with a little bit of pesto. Set aside.
Prep the salmon and potatoes. When the salmon and potatoes are done cooking, use a fork to flake the salmon into big pieces. Add the potatoes to the same bowl we’ve been using and toss with a little bit more pesto.
Assemble! To start, toss the butter lettuce with a little bit of vinaigrette. I like to start out with a very little amount and then add more as needed. Remember, you can always add more but you can’t take it away, and soggy greens are no bueno.
Arrange the greens in a big bowl. Artfully nestle the salmon, green beans, and potatoes around the lettuce leaves. Tuck the olives and eggs in where you can. Sprinkle with capers. I like to give everything a little sprinkling of salt and pepper, especially the tomatoes and eggs which haven’t been seasoned or tossed with anything.
Drizzle with extra vinaigrette and pesto, whichever you prefer!
Can I make this in advance?
Yes! Our salmon Nicoise salad can be served warm, room temperature or cold so it’s the perfect make ahead meal. Roast the salmon and potatoes. Boil the eggs and green beans. Prep everything else. Store everything except for the butter lettuce in an airtight container and when you’re ready to serve assemble as instructed.
Do I have to use salmon?
No! You could go the traditional route and use tuna. Shrimp or chicken would be great as well.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipes Success
- Watch the salmon and potatoes! Even though we give precise instructions every oven is different so keep that in mind. The salmon is done when it flakes easily with a fork. The potatoes are done with the are crisp on the outside, but are easily pierces with a fork.
- If you don’t like kalamata olives, you can use black or green.
- For a little spice, think about adding a little bit of calabrian chili paste to the pesto.
- Use romaine or mixed greens lettuce instead of butter.
- For a harder yolk, cook the eggs for eight minutes.
- If you don’t want to cook the green beans, you don’t have to. They will be great raw as well.
- For a little bit of crunch, think about sprinkle some chopped toasted hazelnuts on top.
Roasted Salmon Nicoise Salad
- 1/2 lb baby potatoes, halved
- 2 tsp evoo
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup pesto, divided plus more for garnish
- 2 5 oz salmon filets
- 5 hard boiled eggs
- 1/2 lb haricot verts
- 4 oz butter lettuce
- 1/4 cup vinaigrette
- 1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1-2 tbsp capers
- sheet pan
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.
- Toss the potatoes with 2 teaspoons olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and dash of pepper. Spread on the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes.
- While the potatoes roast, pat the salmon dry. Season with salt and pepper. Spread each filet with 1 tablespoon pesto. After 10 minutes, pull the potatoes out, toss them and then move them to one side of the pan and add the salmon to the other side of the pan. Cook another 12-15 minutes until salmon is cooked through and potatoes are golden brown and crisp.
- After you put the salmon in the oven, add the eggs to the boiling water. Cook for 6 1/2 minutes.
- When there are two minutes left on the eggs, add the green beans to the same pot with the eggs. When the two minutes is up. gently drain the eggs and green beans in a colander. Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Peel the eggs and cut in half. Dry the green beans off with a paper towel and add to the bowl you tossed the potatoes in. Add 1 tablespoon pesto. Toss to coat. Set aside.
- Add the butter lettuce to a large platter or salad bowl. Drizzle with a few tablespoons (to your taste) of vinaigrette. Toss to coat. Make sure you don't add too much dressing or the leaves will become soggy.
- When the salmon comes out of the oven, use a fork to flake it into large pieces. Add the potatoes back to the same bowl you used earlier for the potatoes and green bean and toss with another tablespoon of pesto.
- Arrange the salmon on top of the butter lettuce, followed by the potatoes. Nestle the green beans in as well as the olives and tomatoes. Fill in with the soft-boiled eggs. Sprinkle everything with capers. Season the surface with salt and pepper and then drizzle with more vinaigrette and pesto.
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