An arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette is always a great choice. The peppery flavor of the arugula pairs beautifully with the fresh lemon vinaigrette for a delicious salad that’s both simple and elegant. It will take you under 5 minutes to pull together these simple ingredients. No wonder it’s my go-to salad for easy entertaining!
This post was updated from the original which was published November 27, 2016.
I’m a huge fan of arugula and this easy arugula salad is fresh and vibrant, satisfying and delicious with tangy flavors that make me love it even more. A simple arugula salad has no season….it’s the perfect summer salad and also the arugula salad recipe I prefer to enjoy my favorite greens with all winter long.
This classic arugula salad with lemon dressing is made with basic ingredients that everyone loves. The best part is that it’s a great throw-together salad for hectic weeknights, it would be the perfect simple dinner served with baked boursin pasta.
Why you will love this Arugula Salad
- Quick and easy to make….I bet you can do it in under 5 minutes….arugula salad dressing included.
- Simple….yet elegant.
- Nutrient dense.…low in calories and carbs, high in nutrition.
- EVERYONE will LOVE it.
- Avocado.…yes, another healthy way to enjoy some avocado!
- Tasty way to get in your daily dose of greens.
- A gorgeous Thanksgiving Salad.…the perfect balance to heavier holiday recipes.
Different types of Arugula
- Arugula comes in full sized (also called wild arugula) and baby varieties. Both varieties are often referred to as rocket, rucola or Italian cress.
- Arugula is a leafy green that is known for its peppery taste. The larger, more mature leaves have a stronger, more distinct, spicy flavor. Baby arugula has been harvested sooner and has a less intense flavor, but still has the peppery, mustardy taste that distinguishes it from other leafy greens.
- Arugula leaves are narrow and elongated with a series of deep indentation along its length. Those deep teeth are accentuated in the fresh baby arugula, making it super easy to distinguish arugula leaves from spinach.
- Fun fact: Arugula is actually a cruciferous vegetable and provides many of the same health benefits that you’ll find in broccoli, kale and brussels sprouts. Arugula also has a lot in common nutritionally with other leafy greens. This means calcium, potassium, folate, vitamins C, A and K just waiting for you. Plus loads of fiber to keep your gut happy and your bowels moving.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Agugula: I prefer the larger arugula leaves because they have a strong bitter/spicy/peppery taste. Smaller, baby arugula is more mild. You can substitute spinach for a completely neutral flavor. You can also use any greens or lettuce in this salad or a combination.
- Artichoke hearts: I like the smaller artichoke hearts found in glass jars, packed in water, like the ones pictured above. You can also find larger artichoke hearts in cans. The important feature is that they’re packed in water, rather than marinated….which usually mean heavily processed vegetable oil was used. Frozen artichoke hearts will also work in this recipe. Thaw and drain on paper towels to get out as much water as possible.
- Avocado: Slices or cubes of avocado add a creamy texture and a satisfying flavor. If you don’t have a ripe avocado, substitute with olives, beans or nuts. The good fats aid in the absorption of the fat soluble vitamins found in the arugula.
- Lemon: Use the zest too for some super lemon flavor. Citrus combined with the peppery taste of the arugula is a winning combination. Lime would be a good substitute in a pinch, as would apple cider vinegar.
- Extra-virgin olive oil: The emulsion factor of this vinaigrette is created by the oil. I don’t recommend vegetable oils. Consider making avocado lime dressing or my green tahini dressing if you’re not using oil.
- Sea salt: You could omit if you’re watching your sodium intake….or replace with some lemon pepper Mrs. Dash.
- Optional: pomegranate seeds, sliced radish or thinly slice purple cabbage are wonderful additions to this salad and add some color pizazz. In the warmer weather, add some sliced fresh stone fruits, cherry tomatoes or fresh herbs.
How to make Lemon Vinaigrette
Save yourself some dishes and prepare the arugula salad dressing right in the bowl you’ll use for the salad. Start with olive oil and then squeeze in the fresh lemon juice.
Whisk well, sprinkle in the salt and black pepper and whisk again. You can also make this homemade salad dressing in a mason jar. Easy storage for leftovers.
How to make the simple salad
First wash and dry your arugula. I find this is easiest with a salad spinner. Roughly chop if you’re using large leaf arugula. If you’re using baby arugula, and the leaves are small enough to be bite sized, leave as is.
Place the prepared arugula right on top of the lemon vinaigrette and toss until coated.
Quarter or half the artichoke hearts, depending on how large they are. Make sure they can be eaten in one bite. Sprinkle them over the dressed arugula.
Halve the ripe avocado. Take out. the pit. Make thin slices in each half and then use a large spoon to scoop out the slices. Arrange them on top of the salad.
Sprinkle on some pomegranate seeds for color and texture. Taste for seasoning, adding more lemon if desired and additional salt and pepper.
Debra’s Pro Tips
- Be sure to keep your arugula dry by storing it in the refrigerator in a plastic bag with a paper towel to absorb moisture.
- Prep all ingredients in advance, make the homemade dressing in a glass jar…the perfect way to meal prep this lemon arugula salad.
- Stock your pantry with artichoke hearts….just saying.
- Fresh lemon juice is awesome…and you can use the lemon zest too…but there’s no shame in using lemon juice from a bottle to make this homemade lemon vinaigrette dressing.
- Always buy avocados when they’re firm. Let them ripen on the counter. When they are just barely ripe, throw them in the fridge if you’re not using that day. Bring them to room temperature an hour before using.
Arugula is an excellent choice for salad greens as it is low in calories, sugar, fat and carbs….and also high in nutrition and taste. All this makes it a superfood in my eyes. Plus, it’s easy to store and use. Be sure to keep your arugula dry and refrigerated to keep it fresh longer.
What to serve with arugula salad
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Lemony Arugula Salad
- 5 oz arugula*
- 1 jar artichokes packed in water 9.9 oz/dry 5.8 oz
- 1 avocado
- 1 small lemon juiced (2 Tablespoons)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- ¼ pomegranate seeds seasonal, optional
- Wash arugula and spin dry.
- Drain artichokes and cut lengthwise into quarters.
- Halve the avocado, scoop out each side with a large spoon and then thinly slice.
- MAKE THE DRESSING: Measure olive oil into large bowl. Squeeze lemon into same bowl. . Whisk together until lemon is fully incorporated into oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then whisk again.
- Toss arugula into dressing. Sprinkle artichokes and avocado slices throughout. If using pomegranate or radish, add them now. Sprinkle with additional S+P if desired and enjoy right away.
- A sprinkle of pomegranate seeds offers a nice punch of color. . When pomegranate isn’t in season, consider some thinly sliced radish, purple cabbage or small dice red pepper.
- CRUNCHY CHICKPEAS: One of the things I love most about this salad is its simplicity, but I do sometimes make a batch of crispy chickpeas (from this Caesar Salad Recipe) to sprinkle on top….takes this salad to the next level, trust me.
- SPICED PEPITAS: Another idea for major crunch and a little boost of protein: the easy spiced pepitas from my butternut squash soup recipe are an amazing addition to this salad.
Arugula has a nice peppery taste, so I like to pair it with simple food. A veggie burger, a creamy soup or a hearty chili would be good choices.
Yes! It’s loaded with VItamin K, which is good for bones. The fiber will help keep your bowels regular and keep you feeling full. Arugula is also rich in chlorophyll that is loaded with antioxidants. Arugula is so delicious, you can enjoy it in many different salad recipes to keep things interesting.