- Food: Arugula Salad
- Writer: Lizzie Green
- Content-Type: Food Blog
Here’s how to make my go-to side salad. I hope it also becomes yours. Fresh arugula salad and the world’s easiest homemade balsamic salad dressing are featured in this easy salad.
This salad is quite simple to prepare. It’s so simple that I’ve been hesitant to share it with you. It’s hardly a recipe, but it’s one that I make on a regular basis. You think it’s past time for me to bring this strategy to your attention.
Salads for sides should be simple to make, and this one is so tasty that it doesn’t feel like an afterthought. It pairs well with a variety of dishes, including lasagna, sandwiches, scrambled eggs, and even holiday feasts.
This salad can be made with any leafy green, but arugula is my personal favorite. If you keep this recipe in your back pocket, you’ll eat more healthful greens. Let’s get started!
Options for Balsamic Vinegar
The use of thick balsamic vinegar, rather than typical watery balsamic, is crucial to the success of this salad.
Napa Valley Naturals Grand Reserve Balsamic Vinegar (affiliate link/make sure the bottle reads “25 stars”) is my ultimate fave. At Whole Foods or Natural Grocers, it’s usually under $10.
Alternatively, you can use a store-bought or homemade balsamic glaze. Continue reading to find out how to make your own.
How to Make Balsamic Glaze at Home?
In a small, thick-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, bring 1 cup (or more) runny balsamic vinegar to a boil.
Reduce the heat to maintain a slow simmer and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the vinegar has been reduced by half.
Allow cooling before transferring to an airtight container and storing in the pantry.
More Uses for Balsamic Glaze or Thick Balsamic Vinegar
Can you tell I’m a bit fascinated with this? Any of the following recipes might benefit from a drizzle of balsamic vinegar:
- Salad Caprese
- Salad with Tomatoes
- Ultimate Veggie Pizza or Strawberry, Basil, and Balsamic Pizza
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Pecans in Balsamic Vinegar
- Fresh berries, cherries, or stone fruit with vanilla ice cream or plain/vanilla yogurt
|3-minute prep time
3 minutes in total
Serving: 1 side salad (about 1 cup)
Use balsamic vinegar and olive oil to make this easy arugula salad! It only takes a few seconds to get ready. Your new favorite side salad arrives! With this fundamental formula, you can make as many side salads as you want.
- A couple of handfuls of arugula (about 1 ½ cups)
- Drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
- Lighter drizzle of thick balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze*
- Optional: Light sprinkle of finely grated aged cheese, such as Parmesan or even cheddar
- Small pinch of flaky sea salt, kosher salt, or fine salt
- Freshly ground black pepper or pinch of red pepper flakes
Instructions for Arugula Salad
- In a bowl or small plate, place a few handfuls of arugula. Drizzle with olive oil, then a thin drizzle of balsamic vinegar (the proportions are really up to you—balsamic vinegar is sweeter than most other vinegar, so you could appreciate equal parts vinegar and oil).
- If desired, top with grated cheese. Sprinkle with a small pinch of flaky sea salt or another salt, breaking it between your fingers as you sprinkle (use a little more salt if not using cheese, which is salty).
- Add a few twists of freshly ground black pepper or a pinch of red pepper flakes to finish the salad. If necessary, repeat for additional salads. The salad will wilt if not eaten right away.
- BALSAMIC RECOMMENDATIONS: The key to making this salad is to use good balsamic vinegar that is thick rather than watery like most other vinegar. Napa Valley Naturals Grand Reserve Balsamic Vinegar is my personal favorite (make sure the bottle says “25 stars” on it). Alternatively, you can use a store-bought or homemade balsamic glaze (see post for how to make the glaze).
- TO MAKE IT DAIRY-FREE/VEGAN: Just leave out the optional cheese. It’s still fantastic even without it.