Sometimes I think of this blog as an ever-expanding cookbook and try to fill in the holes. What’s missing? The other day, as I was throwing together my standard green salad to accompany some leftovers, I realized that my blog is missing a side salad recipe. Every cook needs a little green salad recipe in her repertoire, in the same way as every lady needs a flattering little black dress in her wardrobe. They’re both fundamental building blocks.
This simple green salad is my default. I love the combination of peppery local arugula tossed with lemon vinaigrette, savory grated Parmesan and toasted nuts. I often serve it as is or dress it up with some seasonal ingredients. I thought I’d share a few of those variations to serve as inspiration.
Starting from the top, we have some refreshing sliced cucumber and radish with chopped almonds. Then comes bright cherry tomatoes, avocado and sunflower seeds. Last, I tossed the arugula with fennel and pine nuts for an understated, gourmet little green salad. That idea was inspired by the pages of Martha Stewart Living’s June issue and it might be my favorite of the three. I’d equate it to wearing a little black dress with diamond studs and gold bangles. Classy!
I should confess that when I make this salad for myself, it’s not always so little. Sometimes, especially in the summertime when I’m craving lighter fare, I’ll make a big salad so I’m satisfied with one slice of leftover pizza instead of three.
Either way, I’d say the flavors in this green salad pair well with most main courses, especially if they have an Italian or Mediterranean flair. Pasta, pesto, pizza and bruschetta come to mind. Even though I’m not much of a meat eater, I think it would also go well with fish, chicken or steak. Please let me know what you think of it. I’d be super pleased if this LGS became your new favorite side salad, too.
The Little Green Salad
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 6 side salads
- Category: Salad
A fresh arugula side salad with Parmesan and toasted nuts, tossed in a simple lemon vinaigrette. It’s wonderful as is but feel free to change it up with my suggested variations or put your own seasonal spin on it.
Salad (no amounts given, you can eyeball this)
- Small nuts or seeds, toasted (pine nuts, sunflower seeds and sliced almonds are great)
- Freshly grated Parmesan
Lemon vinaigrette (yields enough for 6 to 8 small side salads, leftovers will keep in the fridge for several weeks)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (more to taste)
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- pinch sea salt
- pinch freshly ground black pepper
- Sliced cherry tomatoes, avocado and sunflower seeds
- Thinly sliced cucumbers, radishes and almonds
- Thinly sliced fennel and pine nuts
- Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl (or a jar with a watertight lid), whisk together (or shake) the ingredients until emulsified.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the arugula with a handful of toasted nuts and grated Parmesan (don’t skimp). Add a drizzle of dressing and toss until the salad is lightly coated throughout. If desired, toss in the suggested add-ins. Serve immediately.