This smoked salmon salad recipe tastes just like a cream cheese and lox bagel, only so much healthier! Cucumber, dill, tomatoes and gluten free bagel chips are topped with a drizzle of homemade cream cheese dressing. To make it keto, just omit the bagel chips.
Since adopting a gluten free diet for my health, and opting more more low-carb dishes, bagels and lox have often felt out of reach. If you crave the taste of a lox bagel in salad form, you should make smoked salmon salad for a healthy lunch today!
This smoked salmon salad is made with fresh greens, and topped with an array of artfully arranged thin slices of cucumbers, tomatoes, slicers of onion, and a smattering of capers and fresh dill. It comes full circle with thinly sliced smoked salmon, draped lavishly over everything. My husband says it tastes like a caesar salad with smoked salmon. It's one of our favorite salads to try!
The part that really makes this salad come together are the homemade bagel chips - I use gluten free bagels to make this recipe allergen-friendly! They take less than 5 minutes to make, so don't skip them for best flavor and texture. You could also make this salad with ready-made store-bought bagel chips, or make this lox salad without any chips at all to keep it low carb and keto friendly.
What Are the Differences between Lox and Smoked Salmon?
Lox and smoked salmon are two types of fish preparations that are commonly confused. While both varieties of fish contain a range of healthy fats and beneficial nutrients, there are some important differences between them.
Lox is a type of cured salmon that is not cooked, but rather soaked in a brine solution or heavily salted for flavor. It is also often called gravlax. The name "Lox" is derived from “lachs” and “laks,” the German and Yiddish words for salmon, and is a resoundly Ashkenazi Jewish recipe.
Smoked salmon, on the other hand, is actually cooked during the curing process. It can be cold smoked or hot smoked. For hot smoked salmon, salmon is smoked over a fire made of aromatic woods such as apple or cherry to give it its unique flavor and texture. For cold smoked salmon, it is layered with seasonings and smoked over coals that are red, but no longer burning.
Additionally, lox is usually served thinly sliced while smoked salmon can be cut into thick slabs or thin slices. Lox tends to be milder in taste than smoked salmon, which has a more intense smoky flavor.
Both varieties can be enjoyed in this bagel salad!
What you need to make this smoked salmon salad
The ingredients of this salad are very customizable - if you don't like capers or fresh dill, feel free to skip them!
- Arugula - you can use baby spinach or any other mixed greens of your choice. Any leafy greens will do!
- Lebanese cucumbers
- Smoked salmon slices - known as lox, smoked salmon are thin slices of salted and smoked salmon fillet. Feel free to use gravlax, or cooked flaked salmon, instead of lox for this salad. If you don't like salmon, you can use another type of smoked fish - but it won't taste like bagels and lox!
- Purple onion, slivered
- Bagels - I use gluten free bagels, but your can use your favorite bagels or bagel chips.
- Cream cheese, softened
- Buttermilk, plus more for thinning - a good substitution for buttermilk is just regular milk, or non-dairy milk. But it makes this salad dressing recipe yummy and zingy!
- Lemon juice - use apple cider vinegar instead if you prefer.
- Garlic clove
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Everything but the bagel seasoning - if you cannot find EBTB spice mix, feel free to use 1 teaspoon of poppy seeds and 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds.
- Fresh dill - I find that it really amps up the flavor and looks of this salad. If you aren't a fan of fresh dill (I wasn't for many years), feel free to use a milder fresh herb like chives.
How to assemble bagel and lox salad
Making a delicious bagel and lox salad is easy. Follow my step-by-step guide to make this!
Make bagel chips
First, begin by slicing the bagels in half. Then, cut each bagel into small, bite-sized wedges of about 1-inch in width. In an oven preheated to the grill or broil setting, toast the bagel chips until they are golden brown - this would take about 2 minutes, so watch carefully to avoid burning them.
Make cream cheese salad dressing
In a blender or food processor, combine together the softened cream cheese and buttermilk and process until they are blended evenly. Afterwards, add the lemon juice, 1 ½ tablespoons of capers, chives, garlic and 1 tablespoon of everything but the bagel seasoning. Pulse until fully combined.
Start to slowly pour in the olive oil while blending to help the dressing emulsify. Keep mixing until it the vinaigrette becomes creamy and glossy.
Add more buttermilk if needed to thin the sauce.
Assemble smoked salmon salad
Arrange greens at the bottom of a large platter or bowl. Arrange thinly sliced tomatoes, cucumbers and onions. Next, layer thin slices of lox or smoked salmon.
Drizzle generously with cream cheese vinaigrette. Finally, top off your creation with dill and remaining capers. Sprinkle with remaining seasoning.
Serve lox salad with more dressing on the side
This simple salad is full of flavor and makes for a delightful lunch option any day of the week. Enjoy!
When to serve this lox salad?
This bagel and lox salad makes for a yummy summer meal! It's a perfect summer salad, but I also like it in winter when I need a breath of something fresh.
You can serve it as an appetizer, though it's substantial enough to serve as an entree or a main course for lunch. I can have a whole serving of this salad by myself!
If making for a crowd, make a big bowl of this salad and serve the bagel chips and cream cheese vinaigrette on the side, so everyone can choose their own portion.
I also served it for mother's day brunch one year, and it was a great hit!
Storage and Make Ahead
As long as you don't top it with dressing, this salad will stay fresh for a day, though the tomatoes may start to bleed and the greens to wilt as the hours go by. If making ahead, keep the dressing and tomatoes separate and it will be good for a couple of days.
Smoked salmon and raw salmon are two different types of fish that have distinct characteristics. Smoked salmon is usually made from Atlantic salmon, but can also be made from other species of salmon. It is cured in a salt-based brine, then cold smoked to give it a distinctive smoky flavor. Raw salmon, on the other hand, is usually fresh or frozen and uncooked. It has a milder flavor and softer texture compared to smoked salmon due to its lack of curing and smoking process. Additionally, raw salmon contains more nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids while smoked salmon has fewer health benefits due to the smoking process. Both types of fish are delicious when prepared properly and can be used in various dishes for added flavor and nutrition.
No. Smoked salmon slices are already lightly cured from the salt and smoking process. This, in essence, cooks it. Unless you are pregnant, you can eat cold smoked salmon without cooking!
Cream cheese, cucumbers, capers and dill are the classic accoutrements to smoked salmon. I also like to add arugula and tomatoes to round it up.
Yes! If you can't find smoked salmon, and you're feeling ambitious, I recommend this recipe for cold smoked salmon, and this recipe for hot smoked salmon.
Making your own lox is very easy with this lox recipe.
Yes, smoked salmon can be a healthy part of your diet. It is high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for heart health. It also contains vitamins A and B12, as well as selenium and potassium. However, it should be eaten in moderation due to its high sodium content.
Yes! This recipe makes for 1 large salad for 2 people as a side, 3 people as an appetizer, or 1 very hungry person for lunch. Feel free to increase the quantities as needed - I usually give 2 slices of smoked salmon per person.
You can, but keep the tomatoes and dressing separate for best results. However, note that it's best when eaten fresh.
Did you make this smoked salmon bagel salad? Rate the recipe, pin for later and don't forget to leave a comment!
If you love traditional bagels and lox
Try my lox and cream cheese bagel board for an easy brunch!
For more salad recipes
In the mood for some innovative salads? Try these healthy salad recipes:
Tried and loved this recipe? Please leave a 5-star review below! Your reviews mean a lot to me, so if you've got any questions, please let me know in a comment.
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Smoked salmon and bagel salad recipe
- 2 cups arugula or other greens
- 4 Lox slices
- 2 Lebanese cucumbers sliced thinly
- 1 large tomato sliced thinly
- ½ purple onion slivered
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 2 bagels
- ½ lemon sliced
- ¼ cup cream cheese softened
- 1 tablespoon buttermilk plus more for thinning
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon capers
- ½ garlic clove minced
- 1 ½ tablespoon everything but the bagel seasoning or 1 teaspoon poppy seeds and 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, optional
- Cut the bagels in half. Subsequently, divide each bagel into individual segments of around 1-inch wide. Place the bagel pieces in an oven preheated to grill or broil mode and toast until they become golden brown - be sure to keep a close eye on them as this may take up to 2 minutes and you don't want them to burn.
- Put the cream cheese and buttermilk in a blender or food processor and mix until smooth. Subsequently, add in the lemon juice, 1 ½ tablespoons of capers, chives, garlic, and 1 tablespoon of everything but the bagel seasoning (sub for a mix of sesame seeds and poppy seeds); pulse until all ingredients are blended together. Afterwards, slowly stream in the olive oil while blending to create an emulsion. Keep stirring until the vinaigrette has a glossy, creamy texture.
- If needed, whisk in more buttermilk to make the sauce thinner. Transfer sauce to a jar, cover and refrigerate. Salad dressing will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week.
- Layer a large platter or bowl with greens. Top with thinly cut tomatoes, cucumbers and onions. Then, spread thin slices of smoked salmon. Generously drizzle salad with cream cheese vinaigrette and top it with dill and leftover capers. Finally, sprinkle remaining everything but the bagel seasoning (you can sub it for sesame seeds and poppy seeds). Season with salt and pepper if desired over the salad and toss.
This recipe makes for 1 large salad for 2 people as a side, 3 people as an appetizer, or 1 very hungry person for lunch. Feel free to increase the quantities as needed - I usually give 2 slices of smoked salmon per person.