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!

arugula salad. in a bowl with salad tongs.
4.41 from 237 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 mins
Total: 20 mins
Author: Jen Hansard
Course: Entree, Salad
Cuisine: dairy-free
Serves: 2


  • 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


  • 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: 573kcal, Carbohydrates: 51g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 39g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g, Monounsaturated Fat: 21g, Sodium: 68mg, Potassium: 963mg, Fiber: 13g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 1728IU, Vitamin C: 39mg, Calcium: 220mg, Iron: 6mg
Tried this recipe? Show me!Mention @SimpleGreenSmoothies or tag #SimpleGreenSmoothies!

About the Author

Jen Hansard

I went from exhausted mama to running across the Grand Canyon, riding & hiking to the top of the tallest waterfall in North America with my kids. How? I fell in love with the smoothies and plant-based meals you can find on my blog.

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  1. 5 stars
    Loved this salad! Made barley in veggie stock for some added flavor and it was perfect. A little goes a long way with this dressing.

  2. 4 stars
    Didn’t get this rated in time but wanted to say it was loaded with lots of interesting flavors! I am renovating a bathroom and really enjoyed the quick and tasty end of my day after lots of physical activity!

    1. What an awesome way to end your long day of physical activity!

  3. 5 stars
    Fabulous blend of lemon and arugula! I’m not necessarily an arugula fan but the blend of the barley and peas with lemon really brought a new perspective taste and texture that was amazing!

  4. 5 stars
    I think this one was my favorite! I substituted brown rice and quinoa for the barley and couldn’t get enough.

  5. 4 stars
    This salad was surprisingly tasty! I was hesitant to try it due to several of the flavors were not things I am a fan of(barley in a salad, a really lemony flavored dressing, fennel) but being combined together they were brilliant! I’ve never had fennel and not liking the taste of anise or black licorice I was worried it would throw off the whole salad for me but it didn’t. The fennel gave it some added crunch and the sugar snap peas were so delicious. The lemon tarragon dressing was great and it was the perfect topping! Enjoyed having the crunchiness in this salad with walnuts and snap peas.

  6. 4 stars
    I love this recipe! I never had arugula before…and I’m not a fan of fennel, but these veggies, paired with the tarragon/lemon dressing, were SO delicious! I couldn’t find any snowpeas, so used broccoli instead. I expected to NOT like this salad, but I’m so had I didn’t blow it off. The dressing was delicious, I’ll be making this again.

  7. 4 stars
    This salad was different but tasty. I followed as written except no tarragon this time of year in Northern California so used fresh oregano that is just sprouting in my garden. My husband and friend both ate it up enthusiastically. Another winner.

  8. Surprisingly delicious! Will definitely make again!! I LOVE THE FENNEL!! I’m loving these salads with ingredients I haven’t tried before, but I’m finding I’m loving them!

  9. 4 stars
    Its delicious! I love sugar snap peas bec theyre so good for snacking and they paired so well with the arugula and fennel!! I toasted my walnuts and they were a good crunch. I might add a citrusy fruit like oranges/ grapefruit next time just to switch up the flavour and add a pop of colour to the salad but overall it was yum!

  10. 4 stars
    My boyfriend said this was the first arugula salad he’s made and the flavors blended together well. I’ll be tasting it tomorrow for lunch!

  11. 5 stars
    I loved this salad; not just because I love arugula, but I’ve never put barley in a salad so all of the textures added to the great taste! The peas added a crisp sweetness to balance peppery arugula and I liked the fennel. I thought it would be too much anise flavor, but it wasn’t and the dressing blended it all.

  12. 5 stars
    This was a surprising good salad. I did do a half arugula and half spinach because I am not a huge fan of arugula. The dressing was amazing. I passed on the green onions but made the salad has described. I was on the fence about the fennel because I’m not a fan of licorice, but I didn’t mind it in the salad. I have had pre-made salads with barley but had never made one myself. It provided another dimension to the salad

  13. 4 stars
    I have been using tarragon for various things and cooking with it. I would have never imagined using it with or for a salad dressing. It added an additional level of bright awakening flavor to the lemon dressing among all the other textures and flavors!