The Oliver's Salad Recipe - Pinch of Yum
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The Oliver’s Salad

20 reviews / 4.9 average

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.

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.

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. 

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Salmon salad in a bowl

The Oliver’s Salad

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 46 salads 1x


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. 


Units Scale

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 (or 2 tablespoons fresh 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

  • 5 ounces spring mix (about 1-2 cups per serving)
  • 24 ounces salmon or chicken (about 3-4 ounces per serving)
  • 3 avocados (about half of one avocado per serving)
  • 1 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 cups fire-roasted corn
  • 1/4 cup 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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Recipe rating


  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I so want this right now! Would it be ok to just use regular dry, not freeze-dried herbs? And should I use less than the freeze dried amount or more? Love your recipes and photos! Keep ’em coming!

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Vickey Ohm

    This looks wonderful and I am going to try it this week. I grew up in Minnesota…Annandale to be exact. Nice to know ya!

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Ann P

    This is probably a stupid question but neither my hubby nor I like cooked peppers. Is there anything else we could try in place of those? This sounds very yummy! Thanks.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Kristi White

      We had this for dinner, so good! I made the dressing without herbs and it was delicious! Thank you!

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This looks delicious! I only have unsweetened vanilla almond milk on hand. Would this alter the flavor too much if I used it instead of regular milk?

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Omg this is just…. EVERYTHING. Thank you so much for bringing us this absolute superstar of a salad. That ranch with the sweetcorn and peppers… Incredible!!

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        HOLY COW. This salad is absolutely to die for. 😍 The combinations are so so amazing – just finished eating it for lunch and can’t wait to have it again. Keep the salad recipes coming!

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I’m excited to try this for dinner tomorrow night! As suggested I pre made the bacon & peppers. Have a question about pepper confit — when do you add the red wine vinegar?

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This was AMAZING. I didn’t have time to make the confit but even without that presumably delicious addition, this salad made lunch feel luxurious.

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Salad looks amazing – it’s on my list, but in the meantime, what does POY stand for? I tried to look it up, but none of those made sense in the context of your recipe. Just have to know now!

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Renae Johnson

    Looks delicious. All the things that I like in one salad. I,also, like olives. Might add olives.

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo
    mary butler

    I love your recipes and look forward to receiving them.
    I live in France and I do not understand your love for “freeze dried herbs” and “onion & garlic powder”.. Why not fresh herbs and onions and garlic??

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Part of it is making things easy and accessible since we can keep them stored in the fridge and pantry for a long time, but also because we live in Minnesota where herbs aren’t always super available year-round! 🙂

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Bev Linkhart

    OH. MY. GOSH!!!! this is just yumminess! Sorry I am not close to Olivers to support their business, but soooo thankful you shared this recipe.

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Any good recommendations for a corn alternative? Super hard time with corn sadly 😩

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Ellie M

      I omitted the mayo and doubled the amount of plain yogurt and added the juice of a whole lemon. The dressing tasted great.

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I just had this salad at Oliver’s tonight and cannot wait to make it at home. It was so delicious! Did they share the recipe with you or did you come up with it yourself?

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Saw this on IG this morning, bought the few things I needed for it in the afternoon, consumed it for dinner tonight! It’s a keeper

  14. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Made this last night and it was so delicious. Added all the you-picks because why wouldn’t you?! So many flavors and because it’s such a tasty salad, you don’t need a whole lot to feel totally satisfied (esp bc of the richness of the dressing and avocado). I had to sub almond milk for regular milk in the dressing and only had Italian seasoning for the freeze dried herbs but they worked great – dressing was still delicious! I doubled the recipe to last two servings per day for a week and am looking forward to eating this over the next few days!!

  15. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This was SO GOOD. My family fought over leftovers (including little children). I made it with chicken breast instead of salmon (easier for leftovers) but I’m sure salmon would be amazing!

  16. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This recipe was an immediate *yes* for me after looking at the ingredient list. It did not disappoint! Made with chicken since that’s what I had on hand, but I will definitely try with salmon. Will be a great summer grilling salad.

  17. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Oh my!!!! This is beyond amazing and delicious!! I made it exactly as the recipe stated, I did just fry frozen corn to “fire roast” it. The flavours are complex yet spot on. I wouldn’t leave out anything, it is all necessary.

  18. Pinch of Yum Logo

    You should warn us that we may eat half the pepper confit while we prep the rest of the salad!!

  19. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This was honestly one of the best salads I’ve ever made. The flavor combinations are amazing!!

  20. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Absolutely loved this!
    Couldn’t find fire roasted corn so just used regular I added it to the peppers after they were almost cooked.
    Had about double the amount of peppers we needed so froze the other half so now I have it already prepped for another of these salads. Thank You for creating this great recipe!