The Oliver’s Salad

Call it a salad, call it a bowl, call it an entire main course on lettuce but here we are and we are just very heart eyes about it.

Salmon salad in a bowl with a fork

Light tender flaky salmon, silky and savory peppers and garlic confit, big buttery chunks of avocado and roasty corn, salty bacon, and rivers of homemade smoky ranch. Have we said too much? Are you already making it?

Oliver’s is a local spot here in POY’s neck of the woods and this little gem is a go-to order on their menu. And because one can’t just go to Oliver’s every single day, but one has giant salad needs that simply must be met, one must recreate it at home for maximum delicious salad consumption.

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Ingredients For This Salad

Have you ever had pepper confit? There are many delicious elements to this salad, but this pile of goodness is a real stunner. You just sort of slow simmer the sweet pepper rings and eventually the thin slices of garlic in olive oil until they are soft and buttery and caramelized. Then you store that mixture in your fridge and pile it on just about everything, namely, this salad.

But let’s make the other elements too, shall we?

For the smoked ranch:

  • mayo
  • full fat Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • milk or buttermilk
  • white vinegar or lemon juice
  • freeze-dried dill and chives
  • smoked paprika
  • onion powder & garlic powder
  • salt & pepp

For the pepper confit:

  • olive oil
  • mini sweet peppers
  • garlic
  • red wine vinegar
  • salt

For our favorite salad build:

  • spinach or salad greens
  • salmon (choose your adventure with how to cook salmon!)
  • avocado
  • bacon
  • fire-roasted corn 
  • sunflower seeds

You can pick and choose a bit from that last list to really make it your own, but we suggest everything because we always do. Go big or go big!

Peppers confit in a pan with a wooden spoon

Let’s Make The Oliver’s Salad

Here’s how to get your giant salad game on, let’s do this:

  1. Smoked Ranch: Shake everything in a jar and adjust to your tastes. Make it your own!
  2. Pepper Confit: Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the peppers and sauté for awhile until brown and very soft. Near the end, add in the garlic to get it nice and golden and soft.
  3. Bacon & Salmon: Both are headed into a 400 degree oven, bacon first and then pop the salmon in there for the last 8-10ish minutes.
  4. Salad: Assemble everything in over-the-top piles and then drizzle with the smoked ranch.

We really cannot stress this enough so, just as a reminder, go big or go big.

Salad on a plate with a fork

What Makes This Salad So Good

This salad is such a star because it just screams “Hello! Hi! I have everything you love!” Like truly, how do you resist? So satisfying. So much flavor.

It’s also one of those great recipes where you can prepare all of the elements ahead of time and then just have them at the ready to make this salad again and again. We always prefer to cook the salmon right before serving but the rest — the ranch, the bacon, the confit — will just be calling to you from your fridge shelves!

It’s also flexible and you can really change it up and make it your own, depending on how you’re feeling. It would also be delicious with grilled chicken or maybe even shrimp (oooooh ok yes, must try). You could leave a protein out altogether and just double, triple, quadruple up on that pepper confit and those buttery avocado chunks and you probably won’t be mad!

However you decide to doll it up for the day, just please be over-the-top with it. It’s the legacy this salad deserves.

You know, go big or go big.

The Oliver’s Salad: Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use fresh herbs instead of freeze-dried?

Definitely! Fresh dill and/or chives will work great here.

Can this salad be prepped ahead of time?

Yes! All salad elements can be made ahead and stored separately in the fridge. We prefer to cook the salmon just before serving.

Do you recommend canned, fresh, or frozen corn?

For the fire-roasted corn, we just use frozen fire-roasted corn (thawed / warmed)! Easy and always ready to go. 

Salmon salad in a bowl

The Oliver’s Salad

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 salads


We’re bringing you the most beautiful salad inspired by the restaurant Oliver’s in Minnesota. Tender salmon, savory peppers and garlic confit, buttery chunks of avocado, fire-roasted corn, bacon bits, and a river of homemade smoky ranch dressing. 



The Smoked Ranch

  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup full-fat Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk or buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar or lemon juice (more to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons freeze-dried dill
  • 2 teaspoons freeze-dried chives
  • 12 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • black pepper to taste

The Pepper Confit

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound mini sweet peppers, sliced into rings
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced into thin pieces
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • salt to taste

The You-Picks

  • spinach or salad greens (about 2 cups per serving)
  • salmon or chicken (about 3-4 ounces per serving)
  • avocado (about half of one avocado per serving)
  • bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • fire-roasted corn
  • sunflower seeds


  1. Smoked Ranch: Shake all ingredients in a jar until smooth. Taste and adjust. Make it yours!
  2. Pepper Confit: Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the peppers and sauté until brown and very soft, stirring only occasionally so you get some nice browning on them. I usually cook them for 20-30 minutes. During the last 10-15 minutes, add in the garlic with the peppers to get it nice and golden and soft (just make sure you don’t burn it). During the last 5 minutes, add the vinegar to add some zip and pull up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  3. Bacon: Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Drain and cool on a paper-towel lined plate. Crumble for the salad.
  4. Salmon: Pat dry and season with salt and pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes (depending on the size of your piece of salmon and desired doneness).
  5. Salad: Assemble everything over greens and drizzle with the smoked ranch. SO GOOD.


Nutrition information for this recipe includes 4 servings of the salmon, spinach, and other you-pick items. 

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Toss
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: salmon salad, oliver’s salad, easy salad recipe

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