The Easiest Arugula Salad

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The simplest of vinaigrettes provides exceptional flavor in this crunchy, creamy, peppery, nutrient-dense salad than can be customized to taste.

The simplest of vinaigrettes provides exceptional flavor in this crunchy, creamy, peppery, nutrient-dense salad that is so much more than the sum of its parts. (Video included!)

 

 

 

 

This salad can be whipped up in a flash, yet when served, people tend to think it’s something special. Don’t you love it when that happens?

The vinaigrette consists of two simple ingredients, plus salt and pepper. But it works!

The light, lemony flavor complements a base of crisp, baby arugula. From there, you need only toss in a few key extras.

The end result is a side dish that pairs well with most any meal. The salad will quickly become the meal when topped with a serving of chicken, shrimp, hard boiled eggs, or another protein of choice. 

My family’s favorite additions to the peppery arugula are sweet cherry tomatoes, creamy avocado, crunchy pepitas, and hemp seeds. I love hemp seeds for the light crunch and overall texture they provide as they cling to the lightly dressed arugula.

Are you new to hemp seeds and have questions? Keep in mind that croutons or additional nuts or seeds will absolutely step in if you’d like to make the salad but are without this ingredient. 

However, to better explain what may be a new purchase, hemp seeds, also called hemp hearts, can be sprinkled on foods, pressed for oil, made into milk, and ground into protein powder. The small, beige-colored seeds are the edible part of the hemp plant, but they do not contain THC, the active drug found in the hemp leaf.

Hemp seeds are considered a good source of insoluble fiber, plant-based protein, potassium, vitamin A, and iron. They also have “a unique fatty-acid profile that includes common omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, plus less common stearidonic (SDA) and gamma linoleic (GLA) acids. Studies have indicated that these fatty acids fight inflammation and protect your heart and immune system.” (Source: WebMD)

My best endorsement, however, for these little seeds is that I have served this salad many times to friends and family alike, and not one person (picky eaters included!) has commented on anything but the appealing flavor and texture of the salad. 

So, beside salads, what are some other ways to enjoy hemp seeds once you have them on hand? Sprinkle them on yogurt, oatmeal, rice, or cooked vegetables-or blend them into a smoothie. Their flavor is nutty, yet very mild, so you’ll mostly enjoy an added hint of texture and crunch. In smoothies, they’ll blend right in and, if anything, you’ll notice the slightest hint of nutty flavor and added creaminess.

 

Video⇩⇩

 

 

And as you see above, this post includes video number two. (The blog’s first video can be seen in this post.) Countless events have been moved to an online format in recent months, and organizers of several regional expos have asked if I would share cooking videos for them to schedule throughout their events.

Cooking, recipes, and related content are universally popular-we all have to eat, after all! In our conversations, organizers have told me that even when food is not the primary subject of an event, attendees consistently ask for more food content in post-event feedback.

My goal is to choose recipes that are simple to make, can be scaled to any number of diners, and are the type of recipe you’d want to add to your regular meal rotation. If you see one of these videos floating around, know that a printable copy of the recipe is always available here, because scribbling ingredients while watching is no fun! I do also try to include additional options and helpful hints within the written post and recipe card.

Ultimately, my hope is that occasional videos offer a fun diversion and perhaps even make it feel like we’re spending time in my kitchen together. Along those lines, if you have requests or suggestions, I welcome them. 

And if you make the salad, I’d love to know what you think of that as well! 🥗

 
The simplest of vinaigrettes provides exceptional flavor in this crunchy, creamy, peppery, nutrient-dense salad that is so much more than the sum of its parts. The addition of your favorite protein will make it a complete meal.

Crunchy, creamy, salt-and-peppery ingredients come together in the simplest of salads that may become a new favorite.

Did you know?

  • A quick growing, cool season crop, arugula is an annual herb in the mustard family.
  • Arugula is native to the Mediterranean region, and both the blossoms and leaves have long been popular in Italian, Moroccan, Portuguese, and Turkish cuisines.
  • In ancient Rome and Egypt, the arugula leaves and seeds were considered an aphrodisiac.
  • Have you tried arugula and found it overly spicy or bitter? Widely available year round, baby arugula tends to be milder and should overcome that issue. 
  • Have you ever heard of a leafy green called rocket? That’s simply another name for arugula. 
Crunchy, creamy, salt-and-peppery ingredients come together in the simplest of salads that may become a new favorite.

Notice a difference in the photos? This is one that I took a few months ago. The others were taken when the video was shot. The light, plates, and camera lenses are different, but the ingredients are exactly the same!

The Easiest Arugula Salad
Yield: 2 generous servings (easy to scale up or down as needed)
This recipe is easy to customize, and I've included a list of my go-to add-ins along with a variety of options that will transform the simple salad into a satisfying meal.
Ingredients
  • 4 ounces baby arugula (4 generous handfuls or 4 lightly packed cups)
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons (28ml) olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt plus ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Recommended add-ins (choose your favorites): 8 or so cherry or grape tomatoes or a rounded ½ cup or so of chopped, vine-ripened tomato; ½ a large or 1 small avocado, diced; 2-4 tablespoons pepitas or slivered almonds; 2 tablespoons hemp seeds; 1-2 hard-boiled eggs, cut into wedges; and/or freshly grated or shaved Parmesan cheese to taste
Instructions

For the lemon vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Set aside. (Helpful hint: may be prepared ahead and will keep in the refrigerated for 2 weeks or more if you’d like to make a bigger batch.)

For the salad: Place the arugula in a large bowl. Top with tomatoes and avocado, and drizzle with enough vinaigrette to lightly coat. (Helpful hint: depending on how liberally you go with the add-ins, you may have enough vinaigrette for a second salad another night. A little bit coats and flavors well.)

Sprinkle with nuts, seeds, and/or Parmesan cheese, and toss to incorporate. Top with wedges of egg, if using, and enjoy.

Notes

Turn this vibrant salad into a complete meal by topping plated portions with cooked chicken, salmon, shrimp, or sliced steak. Tofu and white beans offer excellent plant-based alternatives.

Recently, I’ve had some small, crisp cucumbers on hand and have added some thin slices to the salad.

The Fountain Avenue Kitchen https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/

The simplest of vinaigrettes provides exceptional flavor in this crunchy, creamy, peppery, nutrient-dense salad that is so much more than the sum of its parts. The addition of your favorite protein will make it a complete meal.

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