There is a local restaurant where I live in Whitehorse, Yukon called Burnt Toast that has the most amazing smoked salmon salad with maple balsamic vinaigrette. I’ve been eating it for years and finally decided to try and replicate it myself!

Choosing the right type of salmon

For this salmon salad recipe, it’s important to get the right type of salmon. There are distinct differences between lox and smoked salmon. This recipe uses hot smoked salmon.

Lox is not actually smoked. It is cured in a salty brine and has the appearance of raw fish. It is very pink in colour.

Smoked salmon on the other hand is both cured and smoked. Cold-smoked salmon is smoked at lower temperatures and still has the appearance of being raw, while hot-smoked salmon is smoked at a higher temperature. It has the appearance of cooked fish and is not as bright pink.

Lox is very easy to find at grocery stores in the frozen section, however unfortunately true smoked salmon is not always as easy to find. Where I live, I had to buy it at a specialty food store although I have seen it at grocery stores occasionally.

If you can, go for wild-caught salmon.

Side view of two wooden bowls with a colourful smoked salmon salad inside.

Recipe ingredient substitutions

Smoked salmon substitutions: this salad works best with hot smoked salmon (see my description above about the different types of salmon), but you can also use cold smoked salmon, lox, or even just regular baked salmon.

Field green substitutions: I generally just buy a field greens mix, but you can also use romaine lettuce, butter lettuce, iceberg lettuce, garden lettuce, spinach, arugula, etc.

Red onion substitutions: instead of diced up red onions, swap it out for white onion, shallot, green onions or chives.

Berry substitutions: I generally go for blueberries, but this salad works great with raspberries or strawberries as well.

Pumpkin seed substitutions: swap it out for salted and roasted sunflower seeds.

Caper substitutions: swap out the capers for olives or diced up artichoke hearts.

Olive oil substitutions: swap it out for avocado oil, liquid coconut oil, canola oil, or a vegetable oil blend.

Gluten-free soy sauce substitutions: if you aren’t avoiding gluten, you can also use regular soy sauce. If you are avoiding gluten and soy, swap it out for coconut aminos which is a soy free alternative.

Maple syrup substitutions: swap it out for a maple extract if you want to ditch the sugar. If you do this, only use a very small amount as it is very concentrated. To give the dressing some extra sweetness, you can also use honey, agave syrup or liquid sugar. I wouldn’t suggest using granulated sugar because it will make the dressing gritty.

Balsamic vinegar substitutions: swap it out for red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, etc.

Garlic powder substitutions: swap out the powder for 1 diced up garlic clove.

Onion powder substitutions: swap out the onion powder in the dressing for shallot or white onion. If you aren’t planning on blending the dressing, then dice it up super small.

Recipe variations

Add different fresh vegetables

This salad would also taste great with ripe avocados, green or red bell peppers, fresh herbs, crunchy cucumbers, green onions, tomato, chives, fresh dill or baby greens (baby spinach, arugula, mixed greens or romaine lettuce).

Switch up the salad dressing

Although this salad pairs great with a maple balsamic vinaigrette, you can easily swap out the dressing for ranch sauce, Italian dressing, creamy dill dressing, or a caper vinaigrette. You can even make a homemade dressing with a combination of extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, dijon mustard, black pepper and a pinch of salt.

Add cheese

This salad tastes great as it is, but adding some dairy free or regular cheese will take it to the next level! Consider adding goat cheese or feta cheese. You can even add some cream cheese or sour cream to the salad dressing to make it creamier.

Swap out the protein source

If you are not into smoked salmon, but this salad seems like your jam, consider swapping it out for chicken breast, turkey breast, steak, or hard or soft-boiled eggs.

Overhead view of colourful salmon salads

Recipe pairings

This salad pairs really well with a nice glass of wine, red wine being my favourite!

Storage tips

If you are going to have left over salad, I recommend keeping all of the ingredients in separate airtight containers in the fridge, including the dressing. This way your salad won’t get soggy.

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Side view of two wooden bowls with a colourful smoked salmon salad inside.

Smoked Salmon Salad with Capers and Berries

Tara Klippert
Smoked salmon salad with fresh greens, capers, berries and topped with a maple balsamic vinaigrette.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 270 kcal


  • 250 g packaged smoked salmon
  • 142 g field greens (one large plastic package-full or roughly 6 cups)
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup berries (either blueberries, raspberries or strawberries)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (roasted and salted are great!)
  • 1/8 cup capers

Salad Dressing


  • Start by chopping up your red onion into small chunks and set aside in a small bowl.
  • In a large bowl, measure out and add your fresh greens, berries, diced up red onions, pumpkin seeds and capers.
  • In a glass measuring cup, mix together all of your salad dressing ingredients.
  • Using your hands, pull apart the smoked salmon into bite-sized pieces and top your salad with it.
  • Stir the dressing thoroughly before adding it to your salad.
  • If you are going to have leftovers, consider mixing all of the ingredients in your individual bowls instead of altogether. That way, the salad won't get soggy in the fridge. If you do this, you can store all of the salad ingredients in separate airtight containers.


Above in the blog post I provide ingredient substitutions, recipe variations and storage tips.


Serving: 0gCalories: 270kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 19gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 1200mgFiber: 1gSugar: 9g
Keyword dairy free, gluten free, grain free, low oxalate, nut free, paleo
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Tara Klippert
About the author Tara Klippert

Tara Klippert is a Registered Health and Nutrition Counselor and holds a diploma in Holistic Nutrition and Health Coaching. She shares her gluten free, dairy free & allergy friendly recipes.