Recipe: $5.96 | Per Serving: $1.49 | Yield: 4 Servings
This bright and refreshing arugula salad with Lemon Basil Parmesan Dressing is the perfect simple green salad. The arugula is fresh and peppery, and the dressing is bright and full of basil flavor!
This recipe was originally published in December of 2013 – as one of the first recipes on this blog! The photos, text, and instructions have been updated, but the ingredients and taste are the same. Enjoy!
One of my best friends and I met working at a fine dining restaurant during college, and we bonded over their creamy parmesan bolognese and their amazing (but simple) arugula salad.
This is THE BEST Simple Arugula Salad – I promise!
This salad made me fall in love with arugula, which remains, to this day, my favorite vegetable. There are other delicious arugula salads that I love. But when I want something simple, bright, and flavorful (that pairs with everything) – this is the way to go!
After figuring out how to recreate this salad at home, it become an almost constant player at our dinner parties, and I’m pleased to say my friend and I still make it a few times a year!
How to Make the Perfect Lemon-Basil Parmesan Salad Dressing
- Fresh basil
- Fresh lemon juice
- Good quality olive oil
- A block of Parmesan cheese – and that’s it.
Blitz the ingredients in a blender then add it to the base of a large bowl. Add the arugula. Toss until well coated, top with shaved Parmesan (and more dressing if needed).
It. Is. Epic.
This. This is the stuff right here. You can also use this on a Caprese salad or as an after-cooking pizza topping (which I highly recommend!). It’s also amazing as a dressing for summery pasta salads!
Can I Make This Recipe Dairy Free?
Yes! I will say this dressing really benefits from the nutty-creamy combo you get from Parmesan cheese, but I have omitted the Parmesan before and it was still great.
To make this dairy-free, I recommend adding 1 more Tablespoon of olive oil, and if possible, 1 Tablespoon of hemp seeds. They blend easily and provide a slight creamy/nutty component that works well here. We have made that Whole30 / Paleo version several times when we need a break from dairy.
Is Arugula the Same as Rocket?
Yes! Typically it is called arugula in the U.S. and rocket in the U.K. In the 90’s and early 2000’s, there were still menus using the term rocket, roquette, or rucola, but those terms have been mostly replaced with arugula. More information on the etymology of arugula vs. rocket can be found here!
Is Arugula a Type of Lettuce?
No, Arugula is not in the lettuce family. Arugula is a member of the mustard family and is usually termed a leafy green by culinary and nutrition professionals.
Arugula is, however, a bitter green, which makes it a therapeutic food for managing heartburn, indigestion, acid reflux, and even bloating!
Paleo: Nope – but you could definitely omit the Parmesan and it will still be delicious.
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This lemony dressing is the star of this simple arugula salad. It’s the perfect pairing for rich and savory dishes, or any time!
- 2 ounces fresh basil
- juice of half a large lemon, about 2 Tablespoons
- 1/2 cup shredded fresh Parmesan cheese (about 1.5 ounces)
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 5 ounces arugula (4 servings)
- Add basil, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, and a pinch of salt and pepper to a food processor. Pulse until the basil is mostly minced.
- Pour in the olive oil, blending just until the dressing is smooth.
- Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
- Combine the dressing with fresh arugula and divide among 4 serving bowls. Top with more shaved Parmesan and cracked black pepper, if desired. Eat!
Blanched Basil: optionally, you can blanch your basil. This keeps the dressing looking bright green in case you make extra and want to store it. Blanched basil is also easier to blend in a standard blender. Otherwise, not necessary!
Cheese Substitutions: you can also use Pecorino Romano or Grana Padano. If possible, I do recommend buying a block and shaving it yourself, or getting it from a cheese counter.
Dairy-Free Version: add 1 additional Tablespoon of olive oil, and 1 Tablespoon of hemp seeds to make this dairy free. You could also try a little nutritional yeast, but I haven’t tried that myself.
- Category: Salad, Dressing, Condiment
- Method: Food Processor