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Arugula Salad with Parmesan, Lemon, and Olive Oil

This arugula salad with lemon, parmesan, and olive oil is one of my favorite simple meals. You only need 5 ingredients and 5 minutes to make a salad that can be served for lunch or dinner. This workhorse of a salad can impress a guest, elevate date night, or create a satisfying dinner on a busy weeknight! Serve it with steak, seafood, pizza, or an antipasto platter.

A pile of arugula and parmesan tossed with lemon and extra virgin olive oil.

Simple recipes with fresh ingredients can be the most satisfying. Sometimes, good food doesn’t need a ton of ingredients or special techniques. The baby arugula is bold and peppery while simultaneously being tender and delicate. It’s a perfect way to add leafy greens to your diet.

I put this simple arugula salad on a pedestal next to Caprese salad. And, by the way, they are delicious when paired! It’s not fussy or complicated and only takes a few minutes to prepare. 

The pairings for serving this simple salad seem endless. It makes a great, casual salad without heavy ingredients and can. Serve it on special occasions or make it for family dinner. Serve it to guests, prepare it on date night, or even make it for a special Valentine’s Day dinner. 

After you make this simple salad a time or two, you’ll have the easy recipe memorized.


Baby arugula, balsamic glaze, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, a lemon, and a wedge of parmesan cheese.
  • I typically buy a container of pre-washed baby arugula for making this salad. It makes it so easy to put together! Arugula is also easy to grow! If you have a space to garden, consider adding arugula to your growing plans. I’ve tried making this salad with the spinach and arugula mixes, and it is not as good. The spinach doesn’t hold up as well with the lemon and olive oil.
  • Parmesan cheese adds a cheesy, nutty, salty, robust, savory, umami burst. Use a wedge of parmesan and shave pieces of it with a vegetable peeler. The big pieces of parmesan cheese are essential to this salad. They add texture and are fresh, aromatic, and flavorful.
  • Fresh squeezed lemon juice is essential to this salad. I do not recommend using bottled lemon juice. When the ingredients are this few and simple, they must be high quality.
  • Extra virgin olive oil helps form the dressing, adds a pleasant flavor, and balances the bold flavors of lemon and arugula. Use a good quality extra-virgin olive oil. 
  • Salt & pepper enhance the flavors and make this mouthwatering salad even better.
  • Balsamic glaze is totally optional. A drizzle of it on top adds an extra oomph! If you have some on hand, use it. If not, it’s totally ok to skip. I always use my homemade Glaze with Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. You can also buy it in the grocery store with vinegar. 


How to Make this Simple Arugula Salad

Parmesan cheese shaved with a vegetable peeler.

Use a vegetable peeler to shave pieces off of a wedge of parmesan cheese. Then, set them aside.

Add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to a large bowl. Then add the arugula and toss to combine.

Add the shaved parmesan and toss to combine.

Drizzling balsamic glaze over an arugula and parmesan salad.

Drizzle with the balsamic glaze (if using) and serve.

A bite of rocket salad on a fork.


What to Serve with Arugula Salad

This simple arugula salad is quick, easy, and versatile. It works just as well for a quick weeknight dinner or lunch salad as it does for a fancy dinner! It is perfect when you want to impress your guests or a date. I love serving it for date night with steak or seafood. Some of my favorite ways to serve this salad are:

  • Serve this simple arugula salad with a pan-seared steak and balsamic glaze.
  • Serve it as a side dish for pesto tortellini.
  • A quick lunch topped with grilled chicken or leftover chicken. Or with a sandwich.
  • As part of an antipasto course with any Italian dinner.
  • A quick salad to go with pizza or wings.
  • An easy weeknight dinner side.
  • Make an antipasto spread with Caprese salad, marinated olives, and bruschetta or crostini.
  • Make it when you need to add an easy veggie to a heavy dish like chicken spaghetti.
A platter of simple arugula salad.

More Delicious Salads

A bowl of arugula salad with lemon, parmesan, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar glaze.

What’s your favorite way to serve arugula salad? Let me know in the comments below!


Arugula Salad with Parmesan, Lemon, and Olive Oil

An arugula and parmesan salad with lemon, olive oil, and balsamic.

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5 from 1 review

This delicious baby arugula salad with shaved parmesan, freshly squeezed lemon, olive oil, and balsamic glaze. Only 5 ingredients and 5 minutes!

  • Author: Mandi
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 2 salads 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Toss
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean


Units Scale
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 5-ounce package of baby arugula
  • 1/3 cup shaved parmesan



  1. Use a vegetable peeler to shave thin pieces off a wedge of parmesan cheese. Set the shaved parmesan aside.
  2. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and ground pepper to a large bowl. Swirl it around gently to combine.
  3. Add the baby arugula to the bowl and use tongs to gently toss the salad to combine. 
  4. Add the shaved parmesan and gently toss again.
  5. Drizzle with the balsamic glaze (if using) and serve immediately.


Other Yummy Toppings

  • Toasted Pine Nuts or Walnuts
  • Candied Pecans
  • Grilled Chicken Breast

Nutrition information was calculated without the balsamic glaze.


  • Serving Size: about 1 3/4 cups
  • Calories: 257
  • Sugar: 1.9 g
  • Sodium: 826.9 mg
  • Fat: 25.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 4.2 g
  • Fiber: 1.3 g
  • Protein: 7 g
  • Cholesterol: 9.6 mg

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @mandiofthemountains on Instagram – I can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this salad ahead of time?

I do not recommend making this salad ahead. The greens will get soggy. It takes 5 minutes to make, so it is an easy salad to prepare before serving.

Can I use other greens for this salad?

Arugula has a bold and distinct flavor. Using other greens will change the texture and taste of the salad. If you want to swap out the greens, use chopped and rubbed kale. Or, try a crunchy lettuce blend.

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