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When it comes to Arugula Salad, this is the simplest, most balanced and satisfying version I know. With just 6 simple ingredients, plus salt and pepper, it’s the kind of salad that’s likely to become a house recipe that you’ll know by heart.

arugula salad in a white bowl

A dab of honey softens the sharp acidity of the lemon juice based dressing while enhancing the peppery arugula. And a shower of nutty, shaved parmesan cheese and buttery pine nuts rounds everything out.

Ingredients you need to make Arugula Salad

Arugula Salad Ingredients on a white marble board
  • Baby Arugula: Ideally washed and dried, for convenience.
  • Pine Nuts: You can use raw pine nuts or toast them in a dry skillet.
  • Parmesan Cheese: Ideally Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano.
  • Lemon: Look for a bright yellow lemon that’s heavy for its size (extra juicy!).
  • Honey: Just a teaspoon, but it makes the dressing.
  • Olive Oil: A flavorful, extra virgin olive oil is best for this dressing.

Baby arugula is ideal here. The small, tender leaves are easy to eat and have a milder flavor than mature arugula leaves. They’re also convenient, typically pre-washed and dried, so you can assemble this salad in just 10 minutes. The ideal side salad for weeknight dinners because it goes with just about any main dish you can think of. It also happens to be gluten free and with just 4 grams of carbohydrates per serving is great for those following low carb or keto diets.

arugula salad in a white bowl photographed from above

How to Toast Pine Nuts

Toasting pine nuts for this recipe is optional, but easy. The simplest and most reliable way to toast pine nuts is in a dry skillet on the stove top. Place the dry skillet over medium-low heat until hot. Add pine nuts; cook and stir for 2-3 minutes until golden and fragrant. Immediately transfer to a bowl to cool. (They burn easily, so don’t leave them to cool in the hot skillet.)

Recipe Options

Though I love this simple salad recipe as is, it takes well to alternatives and embellishment. No pine nuts? Pecans make a great substitution. Want to add heft? Avocado slices, crumbled goat cheese (or rounds of crispy Baked Goat Cheese) or feta are excellent additions (You might also enjoy my Watermelon and Arugula Salad).

Pair With

How to Make Arugula Salad

Step 1: Combine dressing ingredients (olive oil, lemon juice, honey) in a small bowl; whisk until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

arugula salad dressing and a whisk in a white bowl

Step 2: Place arugula in a salad bowl and pour dressing over; gently toss to coat. Transfer to platter; sprinkle with parmesan shavings and pine nuts. Serve.

tossing arugula with dressing
arugula salad ready to serve
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Arugula Salad

5 from 12 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Calories: 182
Servings: 4 people
Toss this salad just before serving so your arugula leaves stay perky and fresh.

Ingredients  

  • 5 ounces baby arugula
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice about 1/2 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 ounce parmesan cheese thinly shaved with a vegetable peeler
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts toasted if desired, see recipe note

Instructions 

  • Place arugula in a large bowl.
  • Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, and honey in a small bowl until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle dressing over arugula and gently toss to coat.
  • Transfer salad to serving platter if desired and top with parmesan shavings and pine nuts. Serve.

Notes

  1. If you prefer toasted pine nuts: Place a small dry skillet over medium-low heat until hot. Add pine nuts; cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes until nuts are fragrant and lightly golden. Transfer to a small bowl to cool. (Don’t leave the nuts in the hot skillet to cool as they burn easily.)

Nutrition

Calories: 182kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 67mg | Potassium: 161mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 869IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 99mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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29 Comments

  1. Sharon says:

    5 stars
    This is a yummy salad!!! I love arugula, the parm shavings and dressing are a perfect compliment! I make the salad and keep dressing separately for me as DH dislikes arugula… perfect lunch for me or dinner with a little protein added!

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      I’m so glad you’re enjoying this, Sharon! It’s one of our favorite salads too.

  2. Chicago Knitter says:

    5 stars
    I make this about 3 times a week. I use Heinz infused honey with black truffles and BelGioiso Salad Blend for the cheese. A little dressing goes a long way.

  3. Chicago Knitter says:

    5 stars
    This is a perfect foil with the arugula. Sometimes I add thinly sliced apples. Use the dressing sparingly. It goes a long way.

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      So glad you enjoyed this!

  4. Sally says:

    5 stars
    Shopping for the ingredients for this wonderful salad as we speak. Going to be part of my Mother’s Day Crab Cake dinner! Thanks for all your wonderful recipes, Marissa.

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Sally, you are so kind. Thank you! Hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

  5. Mary says:

    Best arugula salad ever!!!

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Thank you, Mary! So glad it was a hit.