Arugula Salad with Lemon, Olive Oil, and Parmigiano Reggiano

Tested & Perfected Recipes

This lemony arugula salad with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano pairs well with grilled steak or thin crust pizza.

This classic Italian arugula salad is so simple that it really requires no measurements: a bowl of peppery arugula, a bright squeeze of lemon, a few swirls of extra-virgin olive oil, nutty Parmigiano Reggiano shavings, salt, and pepper. I’ve provided loose quantities if you need them, but once you make this salad a few times, you’ll find it’s easy to make it by feel. Serve the salad as a first course or with grilled steak, grilled chicken, or a thin crust pizza.

What You’ll Need To Make Arugula Salad

arugula salad ingredientsAlso known as rocket or rucola, arugula is a leafy green with a peppery, sharp bite. It is often mixed with other greens in spring salad mixes, but it is wonderful on its own. You can find the green in most supermarkets sold in bunches or in pre-washed, ready-to-eat bags or containers. Most arugula sold in grocery stores is baby arugula, which is more delicate and mild than mature arugula.  Arugula is typically used in salads, but it also makes delicious pesto.

For the cheese, be sure to use imported Parmigiano-Reggiano from Italy. Our domestic Parmesan is an imitation and pales in comparison. You can tell an authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano by looking at the rind – it is embossed with the name over and over.

Step-by-Step Instructions

In a large salad bowl, combine the lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper.

lemon and olive oil in bowl

Place the arugula in the bowl and toss with the dressing.

tossed arugula salad

Run a vegetable peeler along one of the flat sides of the Parmigiano Reggiano to create about 1/2 cup cheese shavings (you can also use the slicing blade of a box grater or a cheese planer).

shaving parmigiano reggiano on cutting board

Toss the cheese shavings with the salad and serve immediately.

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Arugula Salad with Shaved Parmesan, Lemon & Olive Oil

This lemony arugula salad with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano pairs well with grilled steak or thin crust pizza.

Servings: 4 as a starter
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 15 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces (or 5 generous handfuls) arugula
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, from one lemon
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, best quality such as Lucini
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Big hunk Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Instructions

  1. In a large salad bowl, combine the lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place the arugula in the bowl and toss with the dressing.
  2. Run a vegetable peeler along one of the flat sides of the Parmigiano Reggiano to create about ½ cup cheese shavings (you can also use the slicing blade of a box grater or a cheese planer). Toss the cheese shavings with the salad and serve immediately.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Comments

  • I’ve made a version of this wonderful salad for years. I usually use Manchego instead of Parmesan cheese and add toasted crushed hazelnuts.

    • — Donna on May 19, 2022
    • Reply
  • This salad and dressing were beautifully simple and tasty….it achieves a nice restaurant quality flavor an finesse with just a few simple ingredients…this was fantastic..the arugula is a must have with this salad even if its not your favorite..

    • — jc nash on October 15, 2021
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  • Made this along with the crusted parmesan chicken. So simple and so tasty. Thanks.

    • — Renee on April 25, 2021
    • Reply
  • So simple and so genius at the same time! I love this recipe! I actually found it in your cookbook, which I absolutely recommend to everyone, in combination with the three-cheese white pizzas. My youngest daughter now specifically asks for the “pizza with the salad on top”. She has become a complete convert and no longer is impressed with a simple cheese pizza. Thanks for this excellent, easy recipe!

    • — Tamara on January 31, 2021
    • Reply
  • Loved this salad – delicious and it was a great accompaniment to your French onion soup.

    Added sliced apples to the salad….perfect sweet and savory combination. Thanks again for the great recipes. You never steer us wrong.

    • — Patticakesdarien on November 22, 2020
    • Reply
  • Excellent salad. I have made this twice and the second time was for company. Everyone has commented on how good this is. The dressing is outstanding and I will use it for other greens as well. Thank you for this recipe.

    • — Al on October 10, 2020
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  • Sometimes the simple things are best.
    I made this after work one night and was pleased by how fast and easy it was to make. Good quality cheese and lots of it is key. We added a shake of garlic powder and onion powder, but the recipe is excellent as written and endlessly variable, as others have mentioned. Thank you, Jenn!

  • All this needs is a crispy chicken cutlet. What a fantastically simple salad! I love it.

  • I had this simple salad at an Italian restaurant in Seattle several years ago but they added crispy baked prosciutto and a hard boiled egg which makes it a complete meal for my family.

  • What a lovely, fresh salad! Super simple and delicious. Thank you to the reviewer who suggested adding pomegranate seeds. I’m going to try that next time. It sounds pretty!

  • I made this salad last night for a party of six. Everyone loved it, including me! I added pomegranate seeds – really pretty and the combination was really good!! Important to use a high quality olive oil.

  • This is my new favorite salad! I love the fresh lemon, arugula, and shaved Parmesan… So simple but so good!

  • We served this super simple but elegant salad with homemade pizza. As suggested by another reviewer, we added some chopped avocado and a few halved cherry tomatoes. Easy to prepare and a nice way to serve arugula.

  • Soooo simple to make, tastes great, and looks great on the table. It’ll make you look like a pro!

  • Simple, easy, perfect. Add some avocado and a few chopped tomatoes for some variety. We eat it at least once a week.

  • This is a go-to recipe for me. Simple, easy, and gets lots of compliments. I usually add yellow cherry tomatoes sliced in half to it.

  • Another recipe with simple ingredients. I must try this one too. I think I will try it with Alia’s idea with balsamic vinegar also, sounds wonderful.

  • We love this recipe… I usually replace the lemon juice with balsamic vinegar. It gives another dimension to the mix of arugula and parmesan.

  • This salad is perfect when you have a crowd to feed

  • Another excellent one and so simple. Keep posting your ideas everywhere, found you on Pinterest originally. Love this salad!

  • A family favorite. I make this regularly.

  • Thank you great article : Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    olive-oil-extra-virgin.blogspot.com

    • It is a great SIMPLE recipe. So refreshing, quick and delicious!!!

  • Dear Chef Jen,

    I adore your web-site and those wonderful easy to make totally inspired recipes! I TOO HAVE PICKY DAUGHTER and she loves your recipes. Thank you!!!

    D.G.

    • — Deborah Greene
    • Reply

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