This simple tomato arugula salad recipe features just a few simple ingredients but is bright, beautiful, and delicious. It is a perfect late summer salad side or main dish.
What is Arugula?
Arugula, also known as Eruca vesicaria, is a cruciferous vegetable, a cousin of broccoli, kale, and cabbage. The leaves have a peppery, spicy flavor that grows more bitter with age.
A version of this veggie called "wild arugula" tends to be more pungent. Another variety you might see in the supermarket is "baby arugula." That's just a plant that farmers harvest early.
Why You’ll Love This Tomato Arugula Salad
- Easy: This salad has just a few components and each ingredient adds depth to the flavor
- Flexible: Arugula pairs well for lunch recipes like sandwiches or pizza or it can be a lovely side for a more formal dinner that features meat, fish, or poultry
- Depth of Flavor: Arugula on its own has a wonderful peppery flavor that complements many different ingredients. This salad highlights that flavor with tomatoes and parmesan cheese
Tips to Make a Healthy Arugula Salad
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Arugula. Despite its appearance, arugula is not a lettuce. It’s actually part of the mustard greens family. You can do so much with arugula besides make a salad, but that’s my favorite way to serve it. It’s tender, fresh, and peppery. Additionally, arugula is rich in calcium and potassium (read more about arugula here). If the peppery flavor of arugula is too strong for you, you can substitute half of the arugula with baby spinach
- Fresh Veggies or Fruit (Optional!). Pick one or two simple additions if you like, or keep this salad simple and skip them. Grated carrots and/or cherry tomatoes add a delicious burst of sweet, juicy flavor and color; or go the fruit route with peaches or pears
- Shaved Parmesan Cheese. A critical component of this easy salad. Skip the pre-shredded stuff, and buy a high-quality Parmesan you can shave yourself
- Toppings. Pine nuts are in this recipe, but sunflower seeds or toasted sliced almonds, or pecans would also work well
- Dressing. The tomato arugula salad dressing here is a simple combination of fresh lemon zest or lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and salt. It’s light, bright, and so tasty.
Arugula Health Benefits
Arugula is full of antioxidants -- compounds that can protect against or reverse damage to your cells -- and glucosinolates -- natural substances that give arugula its bitter taste and strong scent that may protect you against certain cancers, including breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancers. This peppery green may also fight inflammation and has vitamin K, which is good for your bones and may help prevent osteoporosis.
Here is one of my favorite recipes that features arugula. Click here for more salad recipes.
Steps to making this simple Tomato Arugula Salad recipe
- Roast the tomatoes: If you have time, slice the cherry tomatoes, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast them in the oven
- Make the Dressing. Feel free to double the recipe so you have extra
- Place Greens in a Large Serving Bowl: Place the greens and remaining ingredients in a large serving bowl
- Toss: Toss greens and dressing just before serving
Arugula Roasted Tomato and Parmesan Salad
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 5 oz arugula
- 1 ½ cup cherry tomatoes roasted
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese grated
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts lightly toasted (optional)
- In a medium bowl, prepare the salad dressing. Combine olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and mix. Add lemon zest.
- In a large bowl, combine arugula and roasted cherry tomatoes (each sliced in half).
- Drizzle the dressing over the salad.
- Top with grated Parmesan cheese and, if using, lightly toasted pine nuts.