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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. 3 stars
    I liked this salad. Interesting food combinations brought what could easily have been a mundane salad into the realm of interesting and, for those that eat with their eyes, even tastily pretty. I especially loved the texture combination of barley and fennel. In retrospect, I would have left the dressing marinade longer to fill out its flavour. Fresh tarragon can be diffucult to find so I subbed in dry tarragon as well as spring mix with arugula. There was too much dressing for the salad, which was a tad heavy on the oil, and I used about two thirds. Paired it with roasted broccoli and bbq’ed chicken. Thumbs up!

    1. I was just telling my sister that I thought something like a blanched broccoli would go great with this salad.

  2. 4 stars
    Made this salad tonight and while I’m not a huge fan of fennel, I thought it was tasty.

  3. 5 stars
    I was hesitant to try this salad. However, I promised myself that I would try every recipe. I was pleasantly surprised. The flavors blended very well together. I wasn’t able to post yesterday, but hope that this helps others who may not have liked the salad. I heated up the barley so it could dry out a little bit more. It kind of looked like oatmeal when I cooked it the night before. Then I cut up my salad and blended it fully in with the barley. Finally, I topped it with the dressing (which I was really excited about, YUM.) The salad was really good. I am learning so much from this experience. Thank you!

  4. Well when I tasted the dressing my thoughts was , not sure about it, but when I put it on the salad it really was good and different. Would make it again. My husband even liked it and he’s not to keen on trying new things. Thanks for recipe

  5. 5 stars
    This was my favorite salad so far in the challenge and I thought I didn’t like arugula! The brightness of the lemon dressing, sweetness of the sugar snap peas, and the calm and cool barley element were a perfect match for the pepperiness of the arugula. I will be making this one again and again!

  6. 5 stars
    Light and refreshing with a little crunch from the walnuts. Complemented the salmon we ate with it. The dressing was delicious over the salmon as well.

  7. 5 stars
    This Lemon Arugula Salad was light and refreshing. Had it with broiled salmon. The walnuts added a little crunch and the leftover dressing we poured over the salmon. Delicious!

    1. 5 stars
      Forgot to say… being in NZ I couldn’t get all the ingredients so I subbed a few things. But still really enjoyed. I see someone else did quinoa as did I!

  8. 5 stars
    I loved this salad! I did sub quinoa for the barley but the crunchy walnuts and pop of arugula was so good with the dressing. This is a keeper!

  9. 5 stars
    Loved this one. The fresh tarragon in the dressing was so good with the fennel. Barley gave it a heartier feel.