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Shaved Fennel and Olive Salad with Salmon

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Fennel and Olive salad features crisp fennel, salty green olives and crunchy croutons for a delightful blend of flavors and textures! Tossed in a simple vinaigrette that brings it all together, this fennel salad is a surprisingly delightful side dish or a main meal when topped with a warm broiled salmon fillet. 

A serving of salad topped with a fillet of salmon. Lemon wedge and a fork alongside the dish.

This delicious fennel and salmon salad is fitting for the next time you’re looking for an impressive salad for a dinner party.

Briny olives and fresh bulb of fennel paired with the tender, juicy salmon to  create a piquant medley of flavors that is sure to impress. 

Why This Fennel Salad Recipe Works

If you’re in the camp of people averse to the idea of fennel creating the base to a fresh salad, know that we’ve considered it our mission to convince you otherwise. 😉 

Whole large fennel bulb, with its crisp consistency and anise-like licorice flavor, is not only highly nutritious, but it’s one of our favorite ingredients for a truly unique garden medley.

There’s something about the combination of fennel, lightly sweet and crisp, with firm green olives and crunchy croutons.

The garlicky vinaigrette adds a tangy finish but doesn’t overpower the flavors which is key to enjoying all of the bold flavors. 

​Here’s why you’ll love it:

  • Unique flavors and textures shine. The tang of the vinaigrette, the briny olives, and the earthy, licorice flavor of fennel creates a wonderful balance of flavors. 
  • An easy side or main course meal. Skip the added protein and serve this as a simple side or create a delicious main course by topping it with a fillet of broiled salmon.
  • Fresh and elevated. Fennel and salmon salad is a sophisticated recipe that doesn’t take a whole lot of effort. 
Pouring a salad dressing over a salad of fennel, croutons, lettuce, green olives and capers.

The Ingredients for Fennel and Salmon Salad

Here’s a look at the main ingredients you’ll need:

  • Vinaigrette. The ingredients for the vinaigrette include minced garlic, Dijon mustard, rice vinegar, extra virgin olive oil,salt and freshly ground pepper. A good quality EVOO will make a huge difference here! 
  • Crusty bread. Cut stale, crusty bread into 1/2-inch cubes to make your own croutons. Melted butter ​adds a rich, buttery flavor to the bread cubes.
  • Whole fennel bulbs. ​You’ll need two fennel bulbs, halved, cored and thinly sliced (reserve the fennel fronds). 
  • Frisée lettuce or spring mix greens. More greens to create a fresh base.
  • Green olives. They’ll need to be pitted and cut in half. Castelvetrano olives are a great, easy-to-find option.
  • Capers. ​A couple of tablespoons of capers add to the brininess of the dish. 
  • Chives or scallions. ​Thinly slice them and make sure to use the green parts of the onion only. 
  • Salmon fillets. Choose portions that are about 6 ounces each.
Ingredients to make a salad of fennel, croutons, green olives, capers, and lettuce.

A Medley of Fennel and Olives with Salmon

Here’s a quick look at the steps for making this fennel and salmon salad. Make sure to scroll to the bottom of the page to view the printable recipe card ​with all of the instructions and ingredient amounts.

  1. Make the vinaigrette by combining garlic, mustard, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper in a small dish. Set it aside. 
  2. Place the bread cubes in a large mixing bowl, drizzle with melted butter and toss to combine. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden, then cool.
  3. Remove the tops from the fennel bulbs, cut them in half and discard the core. With a mandoline or sharp knife, cut the fennel into thin slices and toss with lemon juice. 
  4. In a large bowl, add the cooled croutons, fennel, frisee lettuce, capers, scallions and reserved fennel fronds.
  5. Place the salmon fillets on a sheet pan, brush with oil and season with salt and pepper. Broil for 6 to 8 minutes, then transfer to a plate. 
  6. Toss everything with one-third of the reserved vinaigrette. 
  7. Divide between chilled salad plates, sprinkle with flaky salt and place each salmon piece on top. Garnish with fennel fronds and lemon wedges. 
A bowl of salad with croutons, olives, fennel, fennel fronds and lettuce. Salad dressing and serving utensils in the background.

Pro Tips for Success

  • Unless you have exceptional knife skills, a mandoline is the easiest way to get thin, uniform slices.  
  • Fennel is often labeled as anise bulb. It has a crisp, crunchy texture with a mild licorice taste. Some people discard the fennel fronds but they create another lovely element. It’s optional to add them. You can chop fennel fronds if preferred. 
  • The lemon juice will keep the fennel slices from discoloring. 
  • Frisée lettuce can be substituted with a mix of greens or arugula. 
  • Feel free to substitute the salmon for halibut, cod, bass or your favorite firm fish fillets.


Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to a day. Keep the vinaigrette separate in a small jar. You’ll likely have leftover vinaigrette to use for a future recipes. 

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A serving of fennel salad topped with a fillet of salmon and garnished with fennel fronds.

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Close up view of a serving of salad topped with a fillet of salmon and garnished with fennel fronds.

Fennel and olive salad

Crisp slices of fennel are complemented by the salty green olives and crunchy croutons in a fennel and olive salad. A simple vinaigrette brings it all together to balance the flavors. This salad recipe can be served as a side or as a full-meal by adding a warm broiled salmon fillet.
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 to 8 Servings
Calories: 674kcal
Author: Pat Nyswonger


For the Vinaigrette:

  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

For the Salad:

  • 4 cups crusty bread cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 4 tablespoons butter melted
  • 2 fennel bulbs halved, cored and thinly sliced (reserve fronds)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 large or 2 small heads frisée lettuce or spring mix greens
  • 1 cup green olives pitted and halved
  • 2 tablespoons capers drained
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced chives or scallions green tops only
  • Flaky salt

For the Salmon:

  • 4 salmon fillets (6 oz. each)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt/pepper
  • Lemon wedges


For the Vinaigrette: 

  • In a small dish, whisk together the garlic, mustard, vinegar olive oil, salt and pepper. Set aside while preparing the remaining ingredients.

Toast the Bread Cubes:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place the bread cubes into a large mixing bowl, drizzle with the melted butter and toss to combine. 
  • Spread the bread on the prepared baking sheet and transfer to the oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until crisp and golden. Transfer from the oven and cool while preparing the fennel.
  • Remove the tops from the fennel bulbs (reserve some of the fronds), cut the bulbs in half, remove and discard the core. With a mandoline or sharp knife, cut the fennel into thin slices, then toss with lemon juice.
  • In a large bowl, add the cooled croutons, the fennel, frisée lettuce, capers scallions and the reserved fennel fronds.

For the Salmon:

  • Set the oven to broil and adjust the oven rack to the upper position, about 4 inches from the heat.  
  • Place the salmon fillets skin-side down on a rimmed sheet pan, brush with oil and season with the salt and pepper. Transfer to the oven and broil for 6 to 8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the salmon.  Calculate 4 minutes for each ½-inch thickness of the fillet. Remove from the oven, transfer to a plate.
  • Toss with about one-third of the reserved vinaigrette. 
  • Divide equally into 4 chilled plates, sprinkle each serving with the flaky salt then place a salmon fillet on each serving and garnish the salmon with fennel fronds and serve with lemon wedges.


  • A mandoline is a great tool to use for thin, uniform slices.
  • Fennel is often labeled as anise bulb and has a crisp, crunchy texture with a mild licorice taste. 
  • Adding the fennel fronds is optional.
  • Toss the fennel slices with lemon juice will keep them from discoloring.
  • Frisée lettuce can be substituted with a mix of greens or arugula. 
  • This is a great side salad or by adding the fish fillet it becomes a full meal.
  • Adding fish is optional.
  • Salmon can be substituted with halibut, cod, bass or you favorite firm fish fillets.
  • Store the remaining vinaigrette in a small jar and keep refrigerated.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 674kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 1224mg | Potassium: 818mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 389IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 116mg | Iron: 6mg

Pat Nyswonger

Pat is a wife, mom of four adult children, and grandmother to seventeen beautiful children. She is a self-taught home cook and loves creating delicious meals for her family and friends. Her kitchen is the hub of activity in her home, and she loves to entertain.

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Monday 19th of February 2024

I too just posted a fennel salad recipe, but yours looks so much better and tastier with salmon, Pat.

Dahn Boquist

Monday 19th of February 2024

Thanks Angie!

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