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arugula salad with a lemony olive oil dressing
Last night was one of those nights where it was just getting later and later and there was no dinner in sight. By the time my husband got home, Jai was ready for the three B’s: bath, bottle and bed. I came downstairs to not a thing on my stove, oven and nothing appealing in the fridge – at least not at eye-level. Didn’t want to order in either. Truthfully, we just wanted to eat just to eat, just to be done with that part of the evening’s checklist of things to accomplish. Ever have one of those nights? Everyone does…right? Tell me it’s not just us!
Nights like that, I usually end throwing some whole wheat pasta together (last night we had a spinach – ricotta tortellini) with my favorite store bought pasta sauce (that I usually doctor up with some red pepper flakes and fresh herbs)…sprinkle some freshly grated parmesan reggiano on top and we are good to go. But whenever we’re eating like this or even just having a hearty bowl of soup or a sandwich, I always serve up a side of this salad too. You may think it’s more of spring/summer salad but to be honest but with most of us having access to good produce most of the year thesedays, it’s a salad that we eat year round in my house. It’s my “go-to” salad, especially making Italian meals feel more complete, more nutritious, and the best part…more delicious. Arugula is definitely my favorite green, good for you but with more of a peppery, lemony kick that spinach (the more nutritious of the two) just doesn’t have. Love it. Sometimes, I do equal portions of arugula and spinach in this salad – equally yummy.
Plus the dressing is so simple to make and incredibly tasty. It’s the perfect marriage: olive oil and lemon; the two pair so well together. You’ll find that this dressing is not only fantastic on arugula but can liven up most any salad you create. It may just become your go-to dressing (and salad combo) too! I swear so many friends/family have come over, had this salad and asked for the recipe. They are stunned when I tell them that it only requires like five ingredients. But wouldn’t you agree that generally speaking, the best foods are created with just a few, simple and fresh ingredients? And that’s exactly what you’ll find in this recipe. Try it out, let me know what you think.
- Arugula – 1/2 bag
- Grape tomatoes cut in halves – 1/2 cup
- Walnuts or pecans toasted – 1/4 cup
- *If you want, you can add any other fresh veggies you have like Persian/English cucumbers, shredded carrots, bell peppers, even grapes
- Olive Oil – 1/4 cup or a little less
- Lemon – 1/2 juiced
- Black Pepper – freshly ground
- Sea Salt – to taste
- Parmesan-Reggiano freshly grated – about 2 tablespoons or to your liking
- Prepare dressing by combining olive oil, lemon, black pepper and salt to taste in a small bowl and whisking it together until it comes together
- Add arugula, grape tomatoes, and other vegetables (if using) into a salad bowl
- Sprinkle fresh shavings of parmesan into salad bowl
- Add dressing – I like my salad dressed on the lighter side so add as much or little as you prefer
- Mix salad well until everything is combined