Smoked Salmon Niçoise Salad

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Smoked Salmon Niçoise Salad is a twist on the classic French salad Niçoise, jazzed up with a delicious pesto dressing! This is an elegant healthy Mediterranean inspired salad for a special luncheon or light supper.

Smoked salmon stands in for tuna in a colorful salad Niçoise

We had this salad for dinner a while ago and I never posted it.  Now that the suffocating heat is hovering over so many of us I thought it might be of use to a few of you. Nicoise just means ‘in the style of Nice’, the French city on the Riviera where they often cook with olives, tomatoes, capers, and anchovies.  The main protein in salad Niçoise is usually tuna, but I’ve substituted smoked salmon for a delicious change of pace.

Smoked salmon Niçoise is loaded with protein, making it an ideal main course salad

Thanks to the salmon, eggs and white beans, this is a healthy and filling meal, but light enough to beat the summer heat.  I make it on repeat all season long.

Ingredients for salmon niçoise salad

Just layer them attractively on a platter, or on individual plates.  As long as your lettuce is crisp and your ingredients are cold, you can’t go wrong.  You can use your favorite dressing or do as I did, drizzle the salad with a thin pesto, recipe below.

  • romaine lettuce ~ it’s got such a nice crunch!
  • smoked salmon ~ I use the hot smoked type, which comes packaged in chunk form, not the thinly sliced cold smoked salmon.
  • artichoke hearts ~ canned or frozen are fine.
  • white beans ~ any type, canned is fine.
  • fresh green beans
  • new potatoes ~ look for the little tiny ones.
  • roasted red peppers
  • cherry tomatoes
  • cooked eggs
  • Niçoise olives ~ of course!
  • capers ~ optional but so delicious
  • lemon wedges

Make this Niçoise salad ahead of time, it keeps beautifully

The only things you need to cook are the green beans, the new potatoes, and the eggs.  Do this ahead of time so they can cool.  The beans just get blanched for about 30 seconds in boiling water, then shocked in ice water to stop the cooking and retain their bright green color.  Assemble the salad and keep it in the fridge  for up to a day.

Other salmon salads to try

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3.25 from 4 votes

Smoked Salmon Niçoise Salad

Smoked Salmon Niçoise Salad, jazzed up with a delicious pesto dressing! This is an elegant Mediterranean inspired salad for  a special luncheon.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Prep Time 15 minutes
Yield 6 servings


For the salad

  • 1 head crisp Romain lettuce leaves
  • 1/2 pound smoked salmon, flaked (get the kind that comes in a chunk, not thin slices)
  • 15 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained well and quartered
  • 15 ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 pound fresh green beans, sliced and blanched in boiling water, then shocked in ice water
  • 1/2 pound small new potatoes, boiled until tender, and then cooled and halved
  • 1/4 cup jarred roasted red peppers cut in strips
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 3 hard boiled eggs halved or quartered
  • 1/4 cup niçoise olives
  • capers optional
  • lemon wedges
  • pesto dressing see below

For the pesto dressing

  • a large handful of basil leaves
  • 1 clove garlic rough chopped
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • juice of 1 lemon


For the salad

  • Layer everything on top of the lettuce, and then drizzle with vinaigrette or Pesto Dressing.

For the pesto dressing

  • Put the basil leaves and garlic into the bowl of a small food processor and process until the basil is finely chopped.  Add olive oil and process until you get a thin dressing consistency.  Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.  Taste and adjust to your liking.

smoked salmon nicoise pin

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  • Reply
    Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes
    August 10, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    What a delicious and healthy summer meal! I love the way you jazzed it up with the salmon & pesto dressing. I enjoy salmon, the hubby does not, so I’d have to swap out the salmon for shrimp for him! MEN!!! Have a wonderful weekend!


  • Reply
    Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen
    August 10, 2012 at 11:06 am

    How beautiful. Takes me right back to the south of France and Marseilles, where I first tasted salad Nicoise. You’ve just jazzed it up a little and that’s fine with me. Hope you have a great weekend.

  • Reply
    Ellen B Cookery
    August 9, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    I have had this salad while vacationing in Nice and must say you did a fine job at making this salad. YUM! This is one delicious recipe!

  • Reply
    Dom at Belleau Kitchen
    August 9, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Oooh it’s that wonderful combination of fresh fish egg and potato that just works doesn’t it!!!

  • Reply
    August 10, 2012 at 2:00 am

    Oh gosh. I bought Mirelle Johnson’s “Cuisine of the Sun” that covers traditional nicoise and provencal cooking. Probably I’ve been wanting to make a classic nicoise salad. I still remember the flavors of the one I got while in Nice a year ago. Yours looks beautiful, and I love how you used a pesto dressing for it. Inspiring!

  • Reply
    August 9, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    I love salade nicoise–it’s probably my favorite salad-as-meal–but I’ve never thought to make it with smoked salmon! A super interesting variation. 🙂

  • Reply
    August 10, 2012 at 1:28 am

    This is one of my favourite salads! The photos are wonderful!

  • Reply
    Bites from life with the barking lot
    August 10, 2012 at 1:00 am

    the pesto dressing must be fabulous on this salad. Great pictures! Makes me pine!

  • Reply
    August 9, 2012 at 4:32 pm


  • Reply
    Hungry Dog
    August 9, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    Gorgeous. I would eat this salad when it’s hot or cold, rain or shine. Absolutely stunning, and good for you too!

  • Reply
    SavoringTime in the Kitchen
    August 9, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Beautiful salad! I’ve never made a Nicoise at home – for shame, it looks delicious.

  • Reply
    August 9, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    Nice! You know that I am all over the smoked salmon recipes right now. This sounds delicious.

  • Reply
    August 9, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    gorgeoussssssss. i love Nice and Nicoise cuisine. When i visited.. almost everything had olives on it, even their pizza… just scattered on top. it’s delicious.

  • Reply
    Averie @ Averie Cooks
    August 9, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    pesto dressing, those chunky artichokes — mmm, that’s for me!

    my hubs would love the salmon and egg parts!

  • Reply
    August 9, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    I just stumbled upon your blog….great photos!

  • Reply
    August 9, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    This is a gorgeous salad. My husband would love this. Lots of great protein going on there and beautiful colors. That last picture is beautiful Sue!

  • Reply
    Lizzy Do
    August 9, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    This is one of my absolute favorite salads! And you’ve come up with some lovely tweaks with the smoked salmon and pesto dressing so that I never tire of it! Beautifully done~

  • Reply
    August 9, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Everybody is torturing me with the wonderful smoked salmon these days! This salad is indeed NICE – nice to look at, nicely prepared, and nicely photographed. I WILL make this soon! Thanks for the tip on the smoke salmon.

  • Reply
    Thyme (Sarah)
    August 9, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    I sure would love to be enjoying that Nicoise salad….in Nice!! It looks delicious and filled with goodness. BTW, Sue…I played around with your wonderful Cardamom Coffee Spice Cake and featured it on my blog. You’ll need to find an hour or so because my article is WAY too long….I just can’t help myself!