This Simple Arugula Salad is full of clean, tasty ingredients and dressed perfectly with an emulsified balsamic vinaigrette. An ideal side dish for any meal!

A peppery Rocket Salad is healthy, delicious, and super easy to toss together!

Rocket salad in a white serving bowl.

Why You Must Make

  • It’s a delicious combination of ingredients plus a creamy vinaigrette!
  • The tasty salad dressing can be used on almost any green salad.
  • As with most salad recipes, you can tweak the ingredients depending on your palate. My husband would prefer no cucumbers!

My youngest sister, Maddy, has a knack for cooking without a recipe. As more of a baker, I always rely on written instructions and rarely mess with the proportions of leavening to flour and fat. My tweaks tend to be changes in flavorings or kind of chocolate. While we were back in Iowa visiting our family home, she whipped up some fabulous broiled salmon and this delightful salad. I have a feeling you’ll love this arugula recipe as much as I did.

Salad bowl with arugula salad and a red handle fork in front of serving bowl.

Expert Tips

  • Look for triple-washed arugula in the grocery store. If you have to wash it yourself, make sure any grit or sand is rinsed off and let the greens dry before using.
  • You can prep most of the ingredients ahead of time, but do not toss until right before serving. It’s best to add the avocado along with the dressing so the cubes do not oxidize, or turn brown.
  • Once the dressing is tossed with the arugula, the greens will wilt.
  • Use a whisk to make the arugula salad dressing. When adding the oil, drizzle it in slowly while whisking so that the mixture emulsifies, becoming homogeneous.
  • Start with 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt in the dressing. Taste and add another 1/4 teaspoon if you think it needs more.
  • To pulverize the fresh garlic, add it to your cutting board along with the kosher salt. Start mashing it with the side of a chef’s knife, using the salt to help break it down.
  • The addition of mayonnaise may seem odd, but it helps temper the bitter arugula and help with emulsifying the dressing.

Serving Suggestions:

Since this salad does not have any dominant flavors or spices, it will be a perfect addition to almost any meal. Try it with some of my favorite entrees:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Arugula?

Arugula, pronounced uh-ROO-guh-lah, is a slightly bitter salad green with a peppery mustard flavor. It’s also known as Italian cress, rocket, roquette, rugula, and rucola. Very popular in Italy, it’s gained popularity with Americans, too.

Why is Arugula Called Rocket?

From “In North America, Rocket is usually called Arugula. Many people think that is the Italian name, but it isn’t. The Italian word is for arugula “rucola” or sometimes “rochetta.”
“Arugula” is an English corruption of the word in some Italian dialect, perhaps from Lombardy where they call it “arigola.” “Eruca” is the Latin word for a variety of cabbage and the word rocket in English, German, and Italian. Yes, it’s confusing!!!

Is Arugula Healthy?

Yes, just like spinach arugula is a healthy green with Vitamin A, K, C, and Folate, Iron, and other minerals, low in calories and fats, and high in antioxidants. 

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Maddy's Arugula Salad in a white ceramic serving bowl.
Photo from February 2013

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Simple arugula salad in a small white bowl with a fork

Simple Arugula Salad

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Yield 4 servings

Fresh produce tossed in a light vinaigrette makes or a fabulous, healthy side dish!


  • 5-ounce container of fresh Arugula
  • 12 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 English cucumber, sliced, then quartered or 4 mini English cucumbers, sliced
  • Avocado, cut into cubes


  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste.


  1. Fill a salad bowl with arugula. Top with chopped veggies.
  2. To prepare the dressing, put salt on a cutting board. Put the garlic clove on top of salt and mince and mash the garlic and salt together.
  3. Whisk garlic/salt mixture with vinegar, then whisk in olive oil. Whisk in mayonnaise.
  4. Toss salad with dressing just before serving. Refrigerate any extra dressing.


Use syrupy, well-aged balsamic vinegar for the tastiest salad dressing. I use an 18-year traditional balsamic vinegar.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 303Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 295mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 2g


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