Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Recipe for Kalyn's Favorite Baby Arugula Salad with Lemon, Balsamic Vinegar, Parmesan, and Pine Nuts

For arugula lovers, this simple salad would be a perfect new flavor for the Thanksgiving table.

It was about three years ago that I noticed salads with baby arugula, lemon, and Parmesan showing up on the menu at several of my favorite restaurants.  I'm a huge fan of arugula, so I happily sampled the various arugula salads everywhere I saw one.  Then a few weeks ago I decided to try to actually write down a recipe for my take on the perfect combination of ingredients for an arugula salad like this.  It took a little experimenting to find the exact mix that made my tastebuds happy, but the one I'm sharing here (with just a touch of white balsamic vinegar added to the lemony dressing) is the arugula salad I would happily eat over and over.  Not everyone will want arugula for Thanksgiving, but I'm adding this to my list of Low Glycemic Thanksgiving Recipes because I know arugula lovers like myself will love the sharp flavor of arugula and lemon along with our turkey, stuffing, and cranberry salsa!  Truthfully, I could happily eat this salad any time of year and I doubt if I'd ever get tired of it.

As much as I love it, this is not a particularly budget-friendly dish.  I try not to be an ingredients snob, but this is one recipe where using the best quality ingredients really does make a tremendous difference.  Organic baby arugula may be a bit more expensive, but it has the best flavor, and I'd also use the highest quality extra virgin olive oil and Parmesan cheese I could find.  I seasoned the dressing with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, not just regular salt and pepper.  If you need to save money on one ingredient here, I think toasted slivered almonds would be a tasty replacement for the pine nuts for a less expensive variation.

Mix together the white balsamic vinegar and lemon juice.  Whisk in 3 T of extra virgin olive oil, then taste to see if you want more oil.  Season the dressing to taste with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.

Toast the pine nuts (or slivered almonds) in a dry pan, just until you start to see some color.

Please use freshly grated Parmesan cheese, the highest quality of Parmesan you can afford.

Toss the arugula with just enough dressing to coat the greens; then toss in the grated Parmesan and mix.

Add most of the pine nuts and toss again.  (I save a few pine nuts to sprinkle over each salad.)

Kalyn's Favorite Baby Arugula Salad with Lemon, Balsamic Vinegar, Parmesan, and Pine Nuts
(Makes 4-6 side salads; recipe created by Kalyn, inspired by many beloved arugula and lemon salads she sampled in various restaurants!)

Dressing Ingredients:
2 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice (I use my fresh-frozen lemon juice)
1 tsp. white balsamic vinegar
3 - 4 T extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

5 oz. organic baby arugula
1/4 cup coarsely grated best-quality Parmesan cheese (such as Parmigiano Reggiano)
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (or slivered almonds)

Mix together the lemon juice and balsamic vinegar; then whisk in 3 T of extra-virgin olive oil, one tablespoon at a time.  Taste the dressing to see if you want to add a little more oil and if so, whisk it in.  Season the dressing with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Wash baby arugula if needed and spin dry or dry with paper towels.  (It usually comes pre-washed in a 5 oz. container.)  Grate the parmesan cheese, using medium or large side of the grater.  Put pine nuts (or almonds) into a dry pan and toast over high heat until they are just starting to color and become fragrant, watching very carefully so they don't burn.

Put arugula in a large bowl and toss with just enough dressing to coat all the leaves.  (You may not need all the dressing.)  Add the coarsely grated Parmesan and toss a few times to combine, then add about 3/4 of the toasted pine nuts (or almonds) and toss again.  Put salad into individual serving dishes and top each one with a few more toasted nuts.

South Beach Suggestions: 
Arugula is one of the nutrient dense leafy greens we all should eat plenty of, but this salad is relatively high in fat with olive oil, Parmesan cheese and Pine nuts.  Luckily only the Parmesan cheese has saturated fat, so I'd eat this for any phase of the South Beach Diet, but maybe limit it to a side-salad portion for phase one.

Ten More Thanksgiving-Worthy Green Salads You May Enjoy:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Arugula Salad with Feta and Fresh Tomato-Balsamic Vinaigrette from Kalyn's Kitchen
Strawberry Spinach Salad with Almonds and Dill from Kalyn's Kitchen
Thanksgiving Spinach Salad with Dried Cranberries, Almonds, and Goat Cheese from Kalyn's Kitchen
Green Salad with Creamy Green Goddess Dressing from Kalyn's Kitchen
Spinach-Pomegranate Salad with Apples and Walnuts from Pinch My Salt
Arugula Salad with Beets and Goat Cheese from Simply Recipes
Spinach Salad with Glazed Beets and Blue Cheese from The Perfect Pantry
Strawberry and Goat Cheese Green Salad with Maple Vinaigrette from Cookin' Canuck
Quinoa Salad with Pears, Baby Spinach, and Chick Peas in a Maple Vinaigrette from Gluten Free Goddess
Spinach Walnut and Feta Salad from Dianasaur Dishes 
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.) counter customizable free hit
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More to Chew On:


  1. My. Oh. My. This is another KK recipe on my Must Try list!


  2. Thanks Donna! I could eat it every day I think.

  3. I love arugula salads, and it would be a welcome addition to Thanksgiving.

  4. Stayathomefoodie, me too! I could eat it for every holiday.

  5. I am a HUGE fan of arugula, so I know this would just about hit the spot next to all of those heavier dishes on t-Day!

  6. Joanne, that's just what I thought about it too!

  7. Love, love, love arugula. It's my favorite leaf any time of the year. Where are you picking yours up from? Sometimes I find it a little bland and I like the sharp bite. Great recipe and easy too.

  8. I know I will love this salad. So light and refreshing!

  9. I love that this salad is so simple to put together! Perfect kind of recipe for me!

  10. Heidi I always buy Earthbound Farms baby arugula if I can find it. It's a bit of a luxury item, lol, but I love it!

    Maria, remember the one I had at Caputos? Their version is very good.

    Lauren, simple is good!

  11. I LOVE arugula! Love the thought to throw in some pine nuts too, must try it at home asap.

  12. The pine nuts are definitely a plus for me!

  13. This salad looks awesome. I love arugula but the cost keeps it from being a weekly thing. If I could find pine nuts for cheap, I would use them all the time!

  14. Thanks Lizzy. I agree that both arugula and pine nuts are kind of hard on the budget! Why do the best things have to be so expensive?

  15. This was delicious! Tried it last night & it was easy & fast to make. It was a hit with my roommates. :) Thanks again for your great recipes Kalyn!

  16. Sarah, so glad you enjoyed it!

  17. About the cost of this salad: I'm writing this in the spring, and I want to tell everyone that arugula is VERY easy to grow. I planted mine in the garden in mid-April -- could have been earlier, because it likes cool weather -- and now toward the end of May it is just at the "baby arugula" stage. At other times, I've planted it in a self-watering tub, so if you don't have garden space, that's no excuse!

  18. Baby arugula may be easy to grow in some places, but in Utah it really only grows in the very early spring and late fall. Otherwise it gets too hot here.

  19. I love love love this! I made it for the 2nd time yesterday. I put the leftovers away expecting it to be all wilted and gross by today but when I opened it in the morning to check, it still looked great. So great in fact that I ate it for breakfast. :-) It was yummy! Can't wait to make this again.

  20. Glad you enjoyed it so much! I could eat this almost every day.

  21. would it make a difference if i used regular balsamic vinegar instead of white balsamic? i have regular at home and wondering if i can just use what i already have. thanks!

  22. The only real difference is that regular balsamic will darken the dressing a little, so the salad won't look quite so bright. Otherwise, no problem!


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