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Hearty salads bring a whole lot of nutrition and fill me up so I’m not searching for a snack an hour after lunch. Just like with green smoothies, a good salad needs a balance of carbs, protein and healthy fat. My Lemon Arugula salad is definitely loaded with hearty plants and could arguably be the best arugula salad you’ll make.

arugula salad in a white bowl with a black fork.

I’d rather drink my greens over chewing them, so if I make a salad it’s got to be great. Trust me when I say this salad is #worthit whether you pack it in your lunch or plate it alongside your dinner.

Table of Contents
  1. Best Arugula Salad Recipe
  2. What is Arugula?
  3. Tips for Tarragon Dressing
  4. Arugula Salad FAQs
  5. More Delicious Salad Recipes
  6. Lemon Arugula Salad Recipe

Best Arugula Salad Recipe

best arugula salad with walnuts, snap peas and fennel.

This salad was created with both presentation and flavor in mind. I wanted a beautiful dish as well as something to fill me up.

Make sure the barley is cooked before adding it to this arugula salad. If you know you won’t have time to cook it day-of, cook it beforehand!

My tarragon dressing can also be made ahead of time, just give the jar a good shake before pouring it over the finished salad.

If you want to add even more flavor to this dish then toast the walnuts before adding them.

bowls of ingredients for a filling lemon arugula salad.

What is Arugula?

Arugula is in the same leafy green family as kale, and is not a mild veggie. It is however loaded with health benefits since it’s high in calcium, potassium, folate and vitamins C, A and K.

I love using arugula in salads, on top of pizza and even in pesto. If it’s a bit too strong for you to use as the only base in this salad then don’t toss it altogether! Pair it with mixed greens or spinach and enjoy its peppery addition to your lunch.

Tips for Tarragon Dressing

simple tarragon dressing in a small mason jar ready to be shaken up.

If you want a super simple dressing then this one is for you! Simply toss all the ingredients into a jar with a good lid then shake to mix. You can refrigerate until ready to use.

I recommend using fresh tarragon since dried tarragon has a completely different taste and flavor. I know it’s easy to swap fresh for dried when using something like basil, however that’s just not the case with this unique herb.

If you want to keep this dressing vegan, swap in maple syrup for the honey.

green salad in white bowl topped with grains, walnuts and dressing.

Arugula Salad FAQs

What goes well with arugula?

I chose crispy fennel and walnuts along with a lemon tarragon dressing for my arugula salad. The dressing especially helps tone down the bite from the arugula.

How do you make arugula less bitter?

Pair it with flavors that help balance it out. I pair arugula with a zesty tarragon dressing and use fennel to help tone down the bitterness and boost the flavor.

Is arugula a lettuce?

Arugula is actually in the cruciferous family along with kale, broccoli and bok choy. It’s got a strong flavor so you could try half arugula, half spinach (or lettuce) until you get used to the flavor and kick.

More Delicious Salad Recipes

Ready for more incredible salads? Then try out another one of my creations below:

Would you please rate + review this recipe once you’ve made it? I love getting your feedback!

4.41 from 287 votes

Lemon Arugula Salad

This lemon arugula salad is a feature on any table. It's got unique (yet findable!) ingredients + an elevated flavor profile that makes me feel like I'm at a fancy restaurant. The perfect salad to mix up your lunch routine.
Prep: 20 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Author: Jen Hansard
Course: Entree, Salad
Cuisine: dairy-free
Serves: 2 servings


  • ½ cup barley uncooked
  • ½ fennel bulb thinly sliced
  • 4 cups arugula
  • ½ cup sugar snap peas
  • ¼ cup raw walnuts chopped
  • 2 tbsp green onion thinly sliced

Lemon Tarragon Dressing

  • 2 tbsp lemon juiced
  • 1 tsp honey
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp tarragon fresh
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • dash sea salt
  • dash ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp chives chopped
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  • Cook barley according to package. Allow to cool.
  • Prepare fennel by cutting off the green stalks. Halve the white bulb and carefully remove the core. Place the cut side down on a cutting board and using a very sharp knife, thinly cut or shave the fennel.
  • Place the fennel in a bowl with arugula, barley, pea pods, walnuts and green onions.
  • For Dressing: place all ingredients in a small jar and shake well. Refrigerate until ready.
  • Drizzle dressing over the salad, gently toss and serve immediately.


  • Swap barley with cooked quinoa.
  • To make the dressing vegan, swap in maple syrup for honey.
  • The dressing will keep for up to 1 week in the fridge.
  • Barley can be cooked ahead of time then refrigerated until ready to be used in salad. 


Calories: 574kcal, Carbohydrates: 52g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 39g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g, Monounsaturated Fat: 21g, Sodium: 68mg, Potassium: 968mg, Fiber: 13g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 1730IU, Vitamin C: 41mg, Calcium: 223mg, Iron: 6mg
Tried this recipe? Show me!Mention @SimpleGreenSmoothies or tag #SimpleGreenSmoothies!

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  1. I love this salad so much!!! Definitely will make this regularly as I am a huge fan of arugula! The dressing is light and refreshing. I am gluten and nut free, so I used quinoa and raw pumpkin seeds instead of barley and walnuts, and also added in diced red onion.

  2. 5 stars
    I adore arugula but have never used tarragon so using this herb was a new experience for me. After I figured out how to prep the tarragon, I was pleasantly surprised by its flavor. The dressing was bright and complemented the salad perfectly! Added dried cranberries to add a bit of color on the second portion which was delicious.

  3. 5 stars
    Oh this was a delightful salad! Especially since I love Quinoa (gluten-free alternative) and Arugula. I would never have thought to add fennel to the salad (I always have it cooked). I love the flavor it adds to the mix! Yum. Will make this salad more often.