This simple spinach arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette is a delicious and refreshing side dish that’s quick and easy to prepare. The combination of peppery arugula, tender baby spinach, and nutty toppings creates a unique mix of textures and flavors that pairs well with pasta, soups, or sandwiches.
Why You’ll Love This Lemon Spinach Arugula Salad
This simple lemon arugula salad is one of my favorite ways to add some greens to a light lunch or dinner. It’s fresh, citrusy, and vibrant- making it a perfect summer salad or a bright side dish for winter. Here are a few reasons we love this simple salad and you will too:
- Versatile and Easy to Customize: With a few simple substitutions or additions, such as adding chickpeas or swapping out the almonds for sunflower seeds, this salad can be tailored to your dietary needs and preferences.
- Quick and Simple to Prepare: This salad can be ready in just a few minutes, making it a perfect option for busy weeknights or pasta dinners.
- Bright and Refreshing Flavor: The tangy and zesty lemon dressing, combined with the earthy greens and nutty toppings, creates a delicious and refreshing flavor.
This spinach arugula salad with lemon dressing is made with simple, easy-to-find fresh ingredients. These ingredients come together to create a delicious and vibrant salad. To make this recipe, you’ll need the following:
For the Salad
- Fresh Arugula
- Fresh Baby Spinach
- Slivered Almonds
- Shaved or Grated Dairy-free Parmesan, like Violife Just Like Parmesan
- Avocado, sliced thin or diced
For the Simple Lemon Dressing
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Fresh Ground Black Pepper + Sea Salt
- Agave Nectar or Maple Syrup
- Dijon or Yellow Mustard– optional to help emulsify the dressing
Substitutions & Add Ins
What I love about this side salad is that you can add in other ingredients you love or swap out ones you don’t have. Think of this recipe as a versatile base recipe that you can change based on your needs. Below are some ideas of ways you can mix up the flavors:
- Greens: Feel free to mix up the greens used in this salad. Try using romaine lettuce, butter lettuce, kale, chard, or mixed greens in place of spinach or arugula.
- Sweet Onions or Shallots: add some thinly sliced red onions, sweet onions, or shallots for an additional kick of flavor.
- Lemon Juice: feel free to swap in naval or blood orange juice, lime juice, white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar instead of the lemon juice in the dressing.
- Toppings: Swap out the toasted almonds for pecans, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, or walnuts, or skip the parmesan cheese altogether. (The vegan parmesan can also be swapped for some dairy-free feta cheese.) You could also top the salad with these homemade garlic croutons.
- Fruits: Add some fresh or dried fruit to the salad for a sweet contrast to the tangy dressing. Consider adding apple slices or pears in the fall, mandarins or pomegranate seeds in the winter, strawberries or blueberries in the spring, or peaches or nectarines in the summer.
- Protein: For a heartier salad, add grilled tofu or chickpeas.
- Avocado: If you don’t have avocado, you can skip it or substitute it with some sliced cherry tomatoes or roasted beets.
- Salad bowl or another large bowl
- Sealable jar or container for the dressing
- Citrus juicer or zester (optional)
Step By Step Instructions
STEP 1: In a small sealable jar, combine the lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, black pepper, salt, agave nectar (or maple syrup), and mustard (optional). Shake or stir until well combined and emulsified. Set aside.
STEP 2: In a large salad bowl (or a large mixing bowl), combine the fresh arugula, fresh spinach, toasted almonds, and vegan parmesan. Toss to combine.
📌 TIP: if your almonds aren’t already toasted, you can heat a small skillet over medium heat and dry toast them for 3-5 minutes until golden.
STEP 3: Drizzle the lemon dressing over the salad to taste and toss until evenly coated.
STEP 4: Top with avocado slices or diced avocado, salt, and fresh cracked black pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
What to Eat with This Salad
This green salad pairs well with a variety of main courses! Here are some ideas:
- Pasta Bakes: This salad would pair well with any pasta dish, from lasagna, to creamy vegan pasta bakes to sun-dried tomato pasta.
- Rice Casseroles: the freshness of this salad makes a great accompaniment to hearty dishes like Vegan Chicken & Rice Casserole.
- Creamy Tomato Basil Soup: This salad would be the perfect side for a warm bowl of creamy soup.
- Vegan Chicken Salad Sandwiches: If you’re looking for a sandwich to pair with this salad, try making a vegan chicken salad sandwich with seitan, chickpeas or tofu.
Other Dressing Ideas
While this easy arugula salad features a recipe for a simple lemon dressing, there are many other dressings that would work well. Here are a few ideas to try:
- Balsamic Vinaigrette: This classic dressing pairs well with the sweetness of the spinach and the bitterness of the arugula. To make, mix 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon agave, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in 1/4 cup olive oil until emulsified.
- Lemon Tahini Dressing: for a rich, creamy, yet zesty dressing try this oil-free lemon tahini salad dressing.
- ‘Honey’ Mustard Dressing: This sweet and tangy dressing is always a crowd-pleaser. To make, mix 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon agave or vegan honey, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2-3 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 minced garlic clove, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a small bowl.
- Poppyseed Dressing: Opt for your favorite store bought poppyseed dressing instead of lemon dressing.
- Ranch Dressing: For a more indulgent option, try topping this salad with a classic ranch dressing. You can make your own using this vegan recipe or use your favorite store-bought version.
This salad is best enjoyed immediately after it’s prepared, especially once tossed with the dressing.
If you’d like to prepare this salad ahead of time, toss the greens, nuts, and vegan cheese in an airtight container and store in the fridge for 2 days.
Keep the avocado separate and add it with the dressing just before serving to prevent it from browning and the greens from wilting.
The dressing can be stored separately in an airtight jar in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. If the dressing separates, simply give it a quick shake or whisk before using.
More Delicious Side Dishes:
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