Salmon Nicoise Salad

Salmon Nicoise Salad is a classic French Nicoise salad with salmon instead of tuna just like the one at Nordstrom Cafe!

Salmon Nicoise Salad is a classic French nicoise salad with salmon just like the one at Nordstrom Cafe! @FlavortheMoment

Nicoise salads are near and dear to my heart.  The first one I ever experienced was in Paris, so you can probably see why I have a fondness for it.   Traditionally, nicoise salads are served with tuna, haricot verts, potatoes, nicoise olives, and hard boiled egg tossed in a really great mustard vinaigrette.  If I see it on a menu, it’s a pretty safe bet that I’m going to order it.  This version is inspired by the Salmon Nicoise Salad at the Nordstrom Cafe — it has all of the elements of the traditional French version, but with a salmon twist.  This is one salad that doesn’t disappoint!

There are several elements to this salad — I’m not going to lie.  The trick is doing as many ahead as possible.  If you make enough of each element, you can have this salad for a few days, so it’s totally worth it.  Things you can make ahead are the salmon, roasted potatoes, hard boiled eggs, the haricot verts, and the dressing.  This salad is worth the effort, I promise!  I crave it often, and there is no substitute. 🙂

Perhaps you don’t know what haricot verts are?  They’re pronounced “hair-i-co vair”, no plural.  They’re very thin, french green beans, and Trader Joe’s carries them in microwaveable bags.  That’s exactly how I bought AND prepared them because I like to cut corners sometimes.   Please don’t think you have to make this with these fancy sounding green beans — they’re great with regular green beans too!

As for the nicoise olives, you can find them in supermarkets that have specialty olives in an olive bar like Whole Foods Market, or jarred as well.  Realistically, you can use any kind of olive you prefer.  I normally always have Greek, or Kalamata olives in my pantry, so I used those.  They are bit saltier, but I like the bite.

Salmon Nicoise Salad is a classic French nicoise salad with salmon just like the one at Nordstrom Cafe! @FlavortheMoment

In traditional nicoise salads, potatoes are often boiled.  I opted to roast mine as I love the golden brown, crispy texture so much better.  I added them to my salad warm from the oven, and it was divine!

As for the dressing, I tried something different here.  I made mine with sweet hot mustard instead of dijon.  I did this because I love eating salmon burgers with sweet hot mustard, and figured it would have to be great here!  I found it to be delicious, but you can use dijon if you don’t want a spicier dressing.  It’s all personal preference!  Cut corners and use a store bought vinaigrette if you’re short on time.

If you’re not a salmon person, sear a fresh tuna steak or even use canned tuna instead. Enjoy this salad any way your heart desires.  Enjoying it is the key, and I really think you will!   🙂

Salmon Nicoise Salad is a classic French nicoise salad with salmon just like the one at Nordstrom Cafe! @FlavortheMoment

Salmon Nicoise Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Salmon Nicoise Salad is a wholesome, fresh, and satisfying traditional French salad with a salmon twist!
Serves: 4-6 servings
  • 1½ - 2 lbs. Salmon fillets
  • 1 lb. baby red potatoes, roasted or boiled
  • 4-6 cups mixed greens
  • 1 cup steamed or microwaved haricot verts or green beans, cut into 2" pieces
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
  • ½ cup chopped nicoise or Kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons capers, optional
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sweet hot or dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 small shallot, cut into small chunks
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. If you're roasting your potatoes, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Quarter or halve the potatoes, depending on their size. Toss the potatoes with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper, and place on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 40 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking, or until the potatoes are golden brown and soft. Remove from the oven and tent with foil.
  2. While the potatoes cook, preheat the broiler. Place the salmon fillets on a rimmed baking sheet and season with salt and pepper or your favorite seasoning. Broil 7-9 minutes or until the fat has rendered. Remove from the oven and tent with foil.
  3. Prepare the dressing. In a food processor, add the vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, shallot, and garlic. Pulse until smooth. Turn the food processor on, and add the olive oil in a steady stream until it has all been added. Add salt and pepper, to taste, then pulse once or twice more.
  4. Place the mixed greens, haricot verts, cherry tomatoes, olives, and capers in a large bowl. Add just enough dressing to coat the salad lightly and toss gently. Place the salad on serving plates. Place a salmon fillet, roasted potatoes, and egg on each plate. Drizzle with more dressing, if desire, and serve!
Total Cook Time above includes roasting the potatoes, broiling the salmon, cooking the haricot verts, and boiling the eggs. If you boil the potatoes, less time will be needed. These elements can all be done ahead!

If you're making this dish for 1-2 people, either halve the amounts, or prepare in the quantities specified and store all elements separately in the refrigerator and enjoy for a few days! Simply don't dress the salad to avoid wilting.

Substitute the salmon for seared tuna steaks or even canned tuna or salmon. It will be just as tasty!

Recipe inspired by Nordstrom Cafe Salmon Nicoise Salad.