The fresh bite of this arugula salad with a simple lemon dressing and shaved Parmesan is made three ways for three easy salad recipe ideas to go with any dinner’s main course meal.
What Is Arugula?
Choosing a main course dinner idea is pretty easy to do. But when it comes to rounding out the meal with some extra plant nutrition, it can add another layer of what-to-make-wondering to your meal planning.
That’s why I depend on a few simple salad and dressing ideas that are easily customized to dress up or dress down, depending on what extra ingredients I have on hand. This easy 5-ingredient arugula salad recipe with big flakes of salty parmesan is often where I get my start.
Arugula (known as rocket in Europe), is a leafy green cruciferous vegetable that looks similar to spinach but has a fresh, peppery taste. Arugula is high in fiber, folate, phytochemicals and antioxidants, similar to broccoli, kale, and Brussels sprouts.
I love arugula in so many recipes, and have used it in loads of ways, such as:
- a substitute for basil in this arugula pesto
- a tasty topping on pizza added after it’s been baked (my favorite way to eat pizza!)
- and as the main leaf in my favorite caprese salad
What’s in This Arugula Salad?
The base of this simple salad is just fresh arugula and shaved Parmesan.
The arugula salad dressing is only 3 ingredients, plus kosher salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper:
- extra virgin olive oil
- fresh lemon juice
How to Make Arugula Salad
This rocket salad’s easy vinaigrette dressing isn’t even so much of a dressing as it is a mixture. I took a page from the technique often used in Caesar salads, and mixed this 3-ingredient dressing in the same bowl the salad is tossed in.
After the dressing is mixed, the arugula leaves are tossed into the bowl, too. This method gives a lighter touch to the dressed leaves, and helps to avoid a heavy salad where the leaves all clump together.
Seasoned with kosher salt an freshly ground black pepper, you could totally stop here and serve. Or, add more ingredients from your global pantry for a quick and simple salad to match an main course.
How to Make Arugula Salad More Ways Than One
There are plenty of ways to make this simple arugula salad to fit your meal, and your cravings. Here are three of my favorite ways:
- Lemon and Shaved Parmesan Arugula Salad: This is pretty much my go-with-everything, fast and simple side dish salad. I love it with its ribbons of Parmesan served on top of pizza or as a side to stuffed chicken thighs or easy gnocchi with pomodoro sauce.
- Arugula Salad with Apple and Parmesan: Slivered slices of apple sweeten the peppery flavor of arugula with the salty bite of spunky Parmesan cheese with super thinly sliced red onion. I like serving this salad alongside my chicken and white bean and butternut squash chili for a light bite to the meal.
- Sun-Dried Tomato, Pine Nuts and Parmesan Arugula Salad: This version comes straight from my globally stocked pantry with toasted pine nuts with sun-dried tomatoes and chunks of Parmesan. This salad is terrific with any Mediterranean main dish, especially as a base for my Greek marinated chicken, and one of my favorite lunches.
Tips for Making the Best Arugula Salad
If rinsing the arugula before tossing it with the dressing, be sure to use a salad spinner to shake off any excess moisture. You don’t want to wind up with a soggy arugula salad!
If you don’t have shaved Parmesan on hand, shredded will work as well. Just be sure to get good-quality Parm, and not the powdery stuff in a shaker can.
If prepping this salad ahead of time, store the dressing separately until ready to serve.
More Easy Salad Recipes to Try
- Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad with Chicken
- Superfood Salad with Lightened-Up Poppy Seed Dressing
- Caesar Salad with Garlic Croutons
- Classic Blue Cheese Wedge Salad
- The Best Caprese Salad
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment below or take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
Arugula Salad with Shaved Parmesan
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups arugula
- 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
- In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, and salt and pepper.
- Add the arugula to the bowl and toss. Top with the shaved Parmesan and more pepper taste. Makes 4 cups.
- Use a vegetable peeler to shave long ribbons of fresh Parmesan cheese for this easy side salad.
More Arugula Salad Recipes to Make Now
- Avocado and Arugula Caprese Salad
- Citrus Shrimp, Avocado and Arugula Salad
- Tuscan Tuna and White Bean Salad
- Arugula Salad With Pesto Shrimp, Parmesan And White Beans
- Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
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