Crisp arugula tossed in a simple lemon and olive oil dressing, with sharp parm and toasted pine nuts; a crazy simple arugula salad that just works. And it comes together in a matter of minutes, making it an easy green to get a veggie on the table!
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Why Arugula is So Great For Salad
Arugula’s is mildly bitter with a touch of pepper. That said, it’s mellow enough to work with so many dishes, making this salad my go-to for almost any main dish. Here’s why we absolutely love it:
- It’s crazy simple, and delicious that way. Yet easy to customize or tweak to accommodate the flavor of your main dish.
- It’s super easy to throw together, really. You only need about 5 minutes to get this arugula salad on the table.
- It’s got a standout flavor that works with everything. Mellow, yet peppery; Arugula will not let you get bored of salad, but it’s easygoing enough to work with almost any dish.
Ingredients to Gather (+ Swaps)
Not much to it. Here is my favorite combination of ingredients for arugula salad, and some potential swaps:
- The nuts: Pine nuts, which we’ll toast in a pan just before tossing into the salad. Other nuts that go great with arugula salad are slivered almonds or chopped pistachios.
- The greens: Arugula! If you find arugula to be too bitter, you can always use half baby spinach.
- The dressing: The arugula salad dressing is a combination of olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Easy and perfect.
- The cheese: Your favorite parmesan, please.
What Else Can You Add?
This arugula salad is uncomplicated and easy to customize to your family’s taste. Here are some ways to jazz things up:
- If you find arugula too bitter: try adding something sweet. Think fresh fruit (blueberries, raspberries, or strawberry salad), candied nuts, or add some honey to the dressing.
- If you want some protein for a complete meal: mix in shredded chicken, or your favorite protein–think ahi tuna salad or salmon salad.
- If you want a different arugula salad dressing: anything goes. Think ranch dressing, Italian, etc.
- If you’re craving more vegetables: add them in! Diced tomatoes, shallots, red onions, bell peppers, roasted vegetables, really whatever you fancy.
How to Make Arugula Salad
This arugula salad is so, so easy. Throw it together just before you plan to sit for dinner. (Or make it ahead… tips below). Here’s how:
- Toast the pine nuts, and watch them closely (burning them would ruin the dish). They’ll turn slightly golden and will taste SO much better.
- Combine your arugula salad dressing.
- Dress the arugula.
- Let those pine nuts cool completely, then toss them in and give everything a good mix.
- Now here’s the fun part: use a veggie peeler to shave your parmesan. The large pieces of parmesan add so much flavor! And really up the gorgeousness of this dish.
See how to make this Arugula Salad on TikTok.
Make Ahead Tips + Tricks
This arugula salad comes together so quickly and easily, that I typically make it just before I plan to serve. But if you want to take a few shortcuts, you can always:
- Do: toast the pine nuts ahead of time and store them in an airtight container in the fridge.
- Don’t: shave the parm until right before you plate the salad.
- Do: Mix the dressing ahead, and give it one extra stir before you dress the greens.
- Don’t: Dress the salad until just before you plan to serve.
Dishes That Go Well with Arugula Salad
It’s incredible how this simple arugula salad works well with almost every dish. Including:
- Light proteins: Simple dishes like pan seared salmon or Peruvian chicken.
- Or saucier dishes work too! I’m telling you, this salad is easygoing. It’s the perfect side to this Tuscan salmon or this caprese chicken.
- Pastas or risottos: This is a great Italian side dish alongside your favorite pasta dishes or some of my low carb substitutes like this zucchini spaghetti or this cauliflower risotto.
- Soup: Make it a light lunch with a bowl of soup like this rotisserie chicken soup and a side salad.
- Sandwiches and wraps: Another lunch or light dinner idea. Check out my cucumber wraps or cabbage wraps to keep it low carb.
- Quiche: At a fancy French bistro, salad is always a side. We love dishing a scoop of this arugula salad alongside any of my crustless quiche recipes.
More Salad Recipes
Arugula SaladPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 5 ounces arugula
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice about 1/2 a lemon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/3 cup block of quality Parmesan cheese
- Place pine nuts in a skillet, without oil, and heat to medium. Toast, stirring constantly until the pine nuts turn golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove immediately to a plate and set aside.
- Add arugula to a large bowl. Drizzle with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add completely cooled pine nuts, and toss to combine. Taste and adjust the dressing to your liking.
- Transfer salad to a platter. Use a vegetable peeler to shave long thick pieces of parmesan over the arugula. Serve immediately and enjoy!