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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. 2 stars
    Dressing was intriguing but not a favorite around here. Too many ingredients that are not our regulars.

  2. 4 stars
    I didn’t think that I like fennel, boy was I wrong. The salad was fresh and delicious.

  3. This salad was excellent! I would have never thought to combine these ingredients together. I couldn’t find fresh tarragon in the store so had to use dried – but hope to try it again with fresh. Such a fresh pick me up salad. My first time trying fresh fennel as well. I appreciated the directions on how to cut it up. Thanks for the excellent recipe!

  4. 4 stars
    I don’t like fennel, so i was surprised by how much i enjoyed this. It’s an interesting melange of flavors.

  5. I am not an arugula fan so I used mixed greens. Absolutely loved the tarragon dressing and the barley was a good choice for this salad. I would not have thought to add barley to a salad, Will definitely make again.

  6. 5 stars
    Had to make a few swaps like orange juice mixed with apple cider vinegar rather than lemon juice in the dressing. Still tasted great.

  7. 5 stars
    I am very behind on the salad challenge as I was overwhelmed by work and vven though the challenge is officially over, I still wanted to review the salad. I didn’t have barley, so based on other participants’ suggestion, I substituted farro. My opinion: Omg! Lemony goodness! I do like arugala and love, love, love anything with lemon. The dressing is divine! Two thumbs up! I would eat this again and again.

    1. Thank you so much for coming back to leave the review. It’s def appreciated!

  8. 5 stars
    My favorite so far. I love the fresh ingredients and the dressing is one I will continue to made. I really enjoyed it. I’ve made it again since this day.

  9. 3 stars
    Hmmm. This salad was okay; a nice alternative. I do love arugula & snap peas. And I loved the dressing (any dressing lemon/dijon based). Will I make it again? Depends on my mood.

  10. 5 stars
    I didn’t think I’d like this salad. I’m not a fan of fennel but it works so well in this recipe! I will plan on making it again!

  11. 5 stars
    I’ll start by saying I love arugula, so I was looking forward to trying this salad. I could not find fennel by me, so I subbed in apple and red onion. Can’t say I was overly disappointed in no fennel, not a fan, but I do try to follow recipes the first time I make them, so maybe I’ll try this summer. Another miss at the store was fresh tarragon, so I used dry in the dressing and made it a day early also adding a splash of tarragon vinegar that I already had. I was new to barley in a salad and I was very pleasantly surprised by the unique texture it adds. I forgot walnuts so I used pistachios, which I also liked visually for the monotone greens . All around this is a wonderful, bright, and hearty salad. Aside from cooking the barley it is pretty quick to make too. I will keep this salad in my rotation for sure!

    1. Great job making it work even with the challenges from missing ingredients!

  12. 3 stars
    I’ve decided I don’t like arugula. But I loved this dressing recipe, so will use it again but on mixed greens.

  13. I wasn’t sure how this was going to turn out but it was surprisingly good. I’ve found that I really like making my own dressings and have different salads throughout the week. It took a couple of tries to get the dressing to taste right for me but I did not have to make too many adjustments.

  14. 5 stars
    The dressing in this salad is a keeper and will be used often. I couldn’t find tarragon but basil was a good substitute. Again my husband didn’t like the salad but I thought it was really good.

  15. 5 stars
    To be quite honest, I was not too excited about this salad. I changed out the barley for brown rice and just into making it. I could not find fresh tarragon so I cut off some of the fennel greenery and minced it for the dressing. When it all came together I was amazed at how good it tasted!!

  16. 5 stars
    This is a keeper recipient for me. Can’t wait until I can harvest fresh arugula from the garden. However it snowed again last night in #YEG so maybe May?