The best part? It takes just 5 minutes to toss together this arugula salad and serve as a great quick bite or side salad. It’s the easiest dish you’ll make all year, and it might be the most rewarding! You’ll want to make this arugula salad again and again because the flavor is just that good.
Why You'll Love this Arugula Salad Recipe
- Simple ingredients. Made of just four ingredients (plus salt and pepper), this arugula salad couldn’t be any more effortless. With a dressing of just lemon juice and olive oil, plus plenty of parmesan cheese shavings, this arugula salad is deliciously uncomplicated. It’s the right amount of tangy-meets-salty for a well-balanced bite.
- Fresh, summery flavor. Bright citrus, salty cheese, and peppery, fresh baby arugula make this salad one you’ll crave all summer long. It’s the perfect time to use in-season lemons and arugula!
- Goes with everything. Because this salad is so simple, it goes with practically everything. Serve it with grilled chicken and veggies, toss it on top of a wood-fired pizza, eat it alongside a sandwich, or serve it as a side with a casserole or stew — the options are endless with this versatile arugula salad.
To make this quick and easy Arugula Salad, you will need the following ingredients (full measurements in recipe card below):
- baby arugula - you can use full-grown arugula too, but you should chop it up a little to make it more bite-sized.
- Parmesan cheese - Asiago cheese or an aged white cheddar are good substitutes for this shaved parmesan cheese because they will produce a similar taste and texture. But you can play around with any cheese you like. Feta is delicious here too.
- lemon juice - freshly squeezed lemon juice is best, but you can also use lemon juice from concentrate, white wine vinegar, or balsamic vinegar in its place.
- olive oil - I recommend a high-quality extra virgin olive oil for this recipe.
- salt and pepper
How to Make the Best Arugula Salad
- Make dressing. In a small mixing bowl, combine lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Stir well to mix.
- Toss. In a large serving bowl, add arugula and the dressing. Toss well to combine.
- Add cheese. Sprinkle with shaved Parmesan cheese on top and serve immediately.
- Add protein. Want to make this side salad a main? Just add protein! Cooked chicken, steak, salmon, shrimp, or tofu would make great additions to make this salad a one-bowl meal for lunch or dinner.
- Add in some veggies. Feel free to customize this salad with whatever veggies that you want. Some of my favorite options are cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers.
- Add fruit. Add some brightness to your arugula salad by adding segments of juicy fruits such as peaches, berries, or oranges.
- Add crunch. Add some crunchy elements like toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) or pecans.
- Add quinoa. Bulk up this salad with extra protein and make it more filling by adding in cooked quinoa.
- Give it a spicy kick. If you love a bit of heat, kick up the spice level by adding a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes.
How to Serve
This Arugula Salad is delicious served on its own for a light lunch with a simple side, or served as a side dish paired with an entree. Some of our favorites to serve with it are:
- Chicken Enchilada Casserole
- Mediterranean Flatbread
- Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
- Pecan Crusted Chicken
- Tagliatelle Pasta
- Caprese Sandwich
- Garlic Butter Steak Bites
- Baked Gnocchi
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Assemble right before serving. Nobody likes a soggy salad! For the freshest, crispest salad, dress the greens right before you’re ready to eat it, or no more than 30-45 minutes before serving.
- Give your greens an ice bath. Arugula going a little soft? As long as it’s not fully wilting, you can freshen the arugula up and make it crisp again by giving it a quick soak in some ice water for a few minutes. Just be sure to pat the leaves dry or give it a quick spin in a salad spinner afterward to get rid of the extra water.
How to Store
It’s not recommended to freeze arugula salad as greens typically don’t fare well when frozen and thawed. The texture will change and the arugula will become limp and mushy.
More Salad Recipes
Did you make this recipe? I would greatly appreciate a comment and rating below, letting me know what you thought of the recipe. You can also snap a picture and tag me on Instagram @aheadofthyme or share it on the Pinterest pin so that I can follow along.
This Arugula Salad with Parmesan cheese and a simple homemade lemon dressing is healthy, fresh, and delicious. This versatile salad is easy to customize and goes well with almost any dinner entree.
- 6 ounces baby arugula (about 4 cups)
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, shaved
For the dressing:
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ⅛ teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper (or more to taste)
- In a small mixing bowl, combine lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Stir well to mix.
- In a large serving bowl, add arugula and the dressing. Toss well to combine.
- Sprinkle with shaved Parmesan cheese on top and serve immediately.
Freezing? It’s not recommended to freeze arugula salad as greens typically don’t fare well when frozen and thawed. The texture will change and the arugula will become limp and mushy.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Category: Salad
- Method: Tossed
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: arugula salad, arugula salad with parmesan