Simple Arugula Salad

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This Simple Arugula Salad recipe isn’t even really a recipe! It’s ridiculously simple and a super easy side dish that complements almost any main course! Arugula is tossed with the bright, simple flavors of lemon and olive oil, then topped with shaved Parmesan cheese. Your go-to salad is ready in about 5 minutes!

Simple arugula salad in a bowl with parmesan shavings and lemons and cheese on the side.

This salad has been a staple in my home for years! It’s perfect when you are too lazy/busy to make a fancy side dish, but need some freshness with your meal. It’s fantastic along side heavier pasta dishes and grilled meats. Grilled steak and this light, arugula salad is one of our favorite summertime low carb dinners! It’s also the perfect complement to my Instant Pot Chicken Thighs and Potatoes!

I feel a little guilty because this “salad” really isn’t even a recipe! When I make it, I throw some baby arugula into a bowl, squeeze on some lemon juice, drizzle some olive oil and sprinkle on salt, pepper and parmesan cheese. No measuring needed!

My hope is that once you make it a few times, you won’t have to think about the measurements, either! But for now, I’ve included all the measuring info you need in the recipe card below. šŸ™‚


  • It’s a super quick and easy side dish that complements so many different dishes.
  • It’s healthy! Arugula is packed with vitamins and minerals.
  • The flavors are light and bright and are great as an addition to heavier dishes like pasta and red meat.
  • You don’t even really need measurements or a recipe–it’s hard to mess up!


You’ll need the following ingredients to make this delicious, Simple Arugula Salad. Since there are so few ingredients, high quality ingredients (like excellent extra virgin olive oil) will really make this salad special:

Ingredients needed to make this easy arugula salad.


Arugula: I get baby arugula whenever I can. The leaves are smaller and more tender and the flavor of baby arugula seems to be a bit more mild.

Olive Oil: This ingredient can really shine in this arugula salad, so use good quality extra virgin olive oil if you can!

Parmesan Cheese: I like shaving my parm right on top of the salad with a vegetable peeler. However, grated parmesan works great too!


Here are some quick visual instructions. Remember that full instructions with exact ingredients will be in the recipe card below. There is NOTHING to this recipe, friends!

How to make this salad step by step

Step 1: Make the “dressing” by whisking together lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Step 2: Toss arugula with dressing.

Step 3: Shave fresh Parmesan cheese over the top and serve immediately.


Can you store leftovers?

Yes, arugula holds up well in the fridge. However, I would recommend storing the dressing and arugula/parmesan separately if you want it to last more than a day.

What do you serve with this salad?

The beauty of this salad is that it complements so many main dishes! My two favorite main courses this complements are:

1. Pasta: Especially heavier pastas like ravioli or lasagna.
2. Grilled meats: The perfect light, summer supper is grilled steak, fish or chicken with this salad on the side!
3. Instant Pot or Crockpot meals like my Instant Pot Chicken and Potatoes.

Can I substitute anything for the arugula?

If you don’t like arugula or can’t find it at the store, I have made a list of 11 delicious substitutes here.

What are some good additions in this salad?

I love the simplicity of this salad, but some great additions are: cubed buffalo mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. Also, if you want to tone down the acidity of the lemon juice, adding a couple of teaspoons of honey to the dressings works well.


  • Since there are so few ingredients in this salad, quality really matters! Using good quality extra virgin olive oil and freshly grated Parmesan can really elevate this salad!
  • You can also serve the arugula topped with Parmesan cheese at the table with the dressing on the side, so guests can use their desired amount.
  • I personally love the tangy, bright flavor of lemon juice but if you want to tone down the acid a little, whisk in two teaspoons of honey into your dressing.
  • Swapping out the parmesan for cubed buffalo mozzarella is just delish! If you have any bottled balsamic glaze on hand, drizzle some over the top, too!
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Close up to show texture of arugula salad with parmesan shavings and black pepper.


I hope you love this Simple Arugula Salad! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!

Simple Arugula Salad

Casey Rooney
This Simple Arugula Salad recipe isn't even really a recipe! It's ridiculously simple and a super easy side dish that complements almost any main course! Arugula is tossed with the bright, simple flavors of lemon and olive oil, then topped with shaved Parmesan cheese. Your go-to salad is ready in about 5 minutes!
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 4
Calories 101 kcal


  • 5-6 cups baby arugula, loosely packed
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
  • Parmesan cheese freshly grated/shaved, if possible!


  • In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, salt, pepper and olive oil. Set aside.
  • Arrange arugula into a medium sized serving bowl. Toss with dressing.
  • Shave or grate fresh parmesan cheese over the top and serve immediately.
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Calories: 101kcalCarbohydrates: 1.4gProtein: 0.8gFat: 10.8gSaturated Fat: 1.7gSodium: 158mgPotassium: 119mgFiber: 0.5gSugar: 0.9gCalcium: 42mg
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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I love this recipe and especially the simplicity of it. I typically toss it together over dinner with friends, and it’s always a hit. You are right, quality ingredients make ALL the difference!

  2. 5 stars
    This is our favorite way to enjoy arugula! We add grape tomatoes and toasted pine nuts for something a little extra, but the simplicity here goes a long way!