It’s hard to find a salad green that’s lighter and easier to digest than arugula.
The robust peppery flavor profile of the green leaf brings lightness, dryness, clarity, and warming qualities to the dinner table.
This is the reason arugula salad is a wonderful complement for heavier foods, such as meats, whole grains, sandwiches, eggs, or root vegetables.
I absolutely love this recipe for arugula salad made with 5 ingredients or less.
First, the minced shallots add sweetness to the dish, along with a whole lot of pizzaz.
A generous sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper and flaked finishing salt adds even more warming heat to the arugula leaves.
The final ingredients—high quality olive oil and fresh lemon juice—deliver both a healthy fat, and support for digesting the fat, in a one-two punch.
If you like arugula at all, then you have to try this ultra-simple recipe (just 5 ingredients, not including salt) with your next lunch or dinner. You will thank me later.
Arugula health benefits
Arugula brings alkalinity and vital energy (prana) to the body. It is also balancing, rich in Omega 3s, fatty acids, and potassium.
You’ll also get calcium, folate, and vitamins C, K, and A.
Arugula is in the same family as radish, kale, and cabbage.
As such, it is rich in antioxidants that fight inflammation and cancer by protecting your cells from free radical damage.
What goes with arugula?
The taste of arugula is rather unique among leafy greens. The leaf is softer (similar to spinach), but the taste is pungent, like black pepper.
Arugula pairs well with rich, heavy foods, like cheese, tomatoes, eggs, and meats.
Arugula as a pizza topping is a helpful choice to aid in the digestion of pizza fats and carbs.
It also works well as a savory addition to sweet fruits, such as citrus, berries, and watermelon.
Avocado lovers may also relish a good portion of this arugula salad—with the olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon, and shallots—right on top of their avocado toast.
I would also use this arugula salad as a sandwich filling, or inside pita bread with hummus or falafel.
Another common way to use up arugula is to mix it with milder lettuce greens in a salad mix to reduce the overall pungent taste.
I grow arugula in the garden, and it tends to get a little out of hand on me, so I created a beautiful arugula pesto recipe where you blanch the arugula in boiling water before blending it up with olive oil.
Then I use the pesto to make pesto pasta, or as a tasty sandwich spread.
The pesto freezes well, so it’s a helpful way to use up arugula if you have too much to eat raw.
Extra topping ideas
This recipe for arugula salad has just six ingredients, but if you want to get fancy, there’s a few things you could add to it.
1. Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano
I’m talking about parmesan cheese, and Parmigiano Reggiano, with a global reputation for quality and flavor, is the best.
The umami flavor of parmesan cheese is strong enough to match the arugula, and its rich, heavy, taste brings the light, dry, qualities of arugula down to earth.
2. Blueberries or strawberries
I like the idea of blueberries since the blue berries have a punchy enough flavor profile that they won’t get lost in the arugula leaves.
The sweetness of the berries will also bring a welcome addition.
3. Grapefruit or orange wedges
Still on the topic of fruit. Add some sweet and sour zest to your arugula salad, and your tastebuds will be dancing due to the excitement of all the flavors.
There is something really lovely about shallots and olive oil with citrus too. I’d give this version a try for sure.
4. Fresh tomatoes
Seems like we are following a theme here with another ingredient that is high on the umami scale, but also sour.
If I were going to use tomatoes, I might substitute the lemon juice in the arugula salad with red wine vinegar or balsamic. Sounds good.
I think I will stop there. This is a a lot of ideas for a simple little salad.
Arugula Salad With Lemon & Olive Oil
- 4 cups baby arugula
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 tablespoon shallots, finely minced
- ¼ teaspoon flake finishing salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Make the dressing first. Place olive oil, lemon juice, shallots, salt, and pepper in a small jar. Cover the jar and give it a good shake.
- Place the baby arugula in a mixing bowl and pour the dressing over it. Use two forks or your hands to toss gently.
- Serve right away.