This quick and easy arugula salad has grilled chicken, chopped walnuts, and a simple lemon vinaigrette with fresh pear slices. This is a great side salad recipe or main dish on busy weeknights, but elegant enough for entertaining.
Here’s a thing about me: I love arugula.
Not like “ohhhh, I really like arugula and I enjoy when it occasionally is an ingredient in things.”
Like…. I. LOVE. ARUGULA. In an in-my-fridge-at-all-times, put-it-on-everything, eat-it-plain-by-the-handful kinda way.
So this salad? This salad is my JAM.
Here’s what we’re working with:
- A bunch of fresh, peppery, crispy arugula (DUH)
- Grilled chicken (totally optional – this arugula salad is also great with seitan, tofu, quinoa, or crispy chick peas!)
- Sliced pears
- Chopped walnuts for a nice crunchy crunch
- A ten second lemon vinaigrette
This salad has become my go-to lunch over the last few months. And also my go-to dinner. And also my go-to snack. It’s just simple and light and flavorful and perfect for fall. It’s also 100% most definitely making an appearance on my Thanksgiving menu this year, because #cantstopwontstop.
You should proooooooobably make it immediately.
An easy arugula salad recipe for busy weeknights, but elegant enough for entertaining.
FOR THE DRESSING:
- 1 tsp. dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
FOR THE SALAD:
- 1 grilled chicken breast, sliced (see recipe notes)
- ¼ cup roughly chopped walnuts
- 2 cups fresh arugula
- 1 pear, sliced
MAKE THE DRESSING:
- Combine all dressing ingredients in a small jar or container. Cover with an airtight lid and shake well to combine (you could also whisk it together in a small bowl). Use dressing immediately or store in the fridge for up to a week.
MAKE THE SALAD:
- In a large bowl, toss together all salad ingredients. If you prefer, you can arrange the ingredients on a platter (as pictured in the overhead photos above), but when I’m not photographing this dish I prefer to just throw it all in a bowl.
- Drizzle your lemon dressing over the salad and toss to combine. You may not need all the dressing – start with a light drizzle, give it a toss, and then add more dressing as necessary.
This recipe is suuuuuper simple and very forgiving – feel free to make adjustments to suit your tastes! Here are some of my favorite swaps and tweaks:
- Substitute sliced apples or grapes for the pears.
- Add other salad greens or grilled asparagus to the salad for a fun twist.
- This dressing is definitely lemon-y – if lemon isn’t your favorite flavor, use just a splash of lemon at first and taste/make adjustments as you go! You can also use part lemon juice and part apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar if you like.
- I pick up freshly grilled chicken breasts from my grocery store to keep in the fridge for this salad during the week, but you could grill your own chicken (I just use a bit of salt, pepper, and olive oil!) as needed or use shredded slow cooker or rotisserie chicken.
- For a vegetarian version, replace the chicken with seitan, crispy chick peas, or crispy tofu (or omit the protein entirely!)