A simple, fresh arugula salad with olive oil and parmesan cheese is so easy to put together, and it makes a wonderful side dish to almost any meal.
I don't know about you, but I really love salads. And by "salads" I mean simple side salads, not necessarily main-dish salad, which can also be great (this Cobb salad is wonderful, for example).
Whenever I tire of rich, complex side dishes, this simple arugula salad is my go-to side dish. It is fresh, very tasty, and it's also very easy to assemble. In addition, it really does go nicely with almost any meal I can think of.
What does arugula taste like?
Arugula has a much stronger flavor than milder lettuces such as Iceberg or Romaine. Many people describe its taste as "peppery," and I think that's fairly accurate. It has a sharpness to it that other lettuces do not have, but it's a pleasant sharpness - nothing super bitter or overwhelming.
The ingredients you'll need
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this tasty arugula salad. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Fresh arugula leaves: I use a 5-oz bag of pre-washed arugula.
Red onion: I only use a little to add a bit of sharpness and color to the salad. Make sure it's thinly sliced - no one wants to bite into large pieces of raw onion! It's probably best to avoid sharp white or yellow onions in this salad. Red onions are milder.
Pitted olives: I like to use black kalamata olives, but any type will work.
Olive oil: Extra-virgin has the best flavor, which is especially important in this simple dish.
White wine vinegar: You can also use fresh lemon juice if you prefer. Lemon juice is milder than vinegar, so you could use a full tablespoon.
Kosher salt and black pepper: Just a little, as the olives and parmesan are very salty. As always, if using fine salt rather than kosher salt, use less of it.
Shaved parmesan cheese: You can shave it yourself with a vegetable peeler, or be lazy like me and buy it pre-packaged at Whole Foods.
How to make an arugula salad
It's so easy! It hardly even classifies as a "recipe." Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
Arrange the arugula, red onions and olives in a serving bowl or on a serving plate.
Mix the oil and the vinegar and drizzle the mixture all over the vegetables.
Sprinkle the salad with kosher salt and black pepper.
Now, top it with shaved parmesan cheese. That's it! Truly easy.
How to serve arugula salad
This is such a pretty salad, I like to bring it to the table nicely arranged on a platter, and only then I mix it and divide it between the diners.
Can I make it ahead of time?
You can assemble the salad a few hours in advance, loosely cover with paper towels and refrigerate. Don't add the dressing until the last minute, though, or the greens will become soggy.
More tasty salad recipes
One of my absolute favorite salads is this very simple tomato salad. It's so incredibly fresh-tasting. And this creamy cucumber salad is a classic. It truly goes with anything. I also like to make main-dish salads, such as:
- Chicken cobb salad - this is probably my favorite main-dish salad. How can you not enjoy the very flavorful additions of bacon, avocado, and blue cheese?
- Steak salad - this is a wonderfully substantial salad, perfect for beef cuts that are perhaps not that great as a steak.
- Taco salad - the Mexican-inspired flavors in this filling salad are wonderful. I no longer mourn giving up tacos!
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Arugula Salad with Olive Oil and Parmesan
- 1 (5 oz) bag arugula leaves
- ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
- ¼ cup pitted kalamata olives
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ tablespoon white wine vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ⅓ cup shaved parmesan cheese (1 oz)
- Arrange the arugula, red onions and olives in a serving bowl.
- Briefly mix the oil and vinegar and drizzle over the vegetables.
- Sprinkle the salad with kosher salt and black pepper.
- Top the salad with shaved parmesan cheese.
- Serve the pretty salad, and only then toss it at the table and divide it into individual plates.