Spinach Arugula Salad

by Chef Adel
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Spinach Arugula Salad

There’s something innately comforting about coming home to whip up a salad that’s both nutritious and bursting with flavor. Perhaps it’s the way the peppery notes of arugula dance with the gentle, earthy undertones of spinach, or maybe it’s the versatility of these greens, blending beautifully with a myriad of dressings and toppings.

Today, I’m excited to share with you a recipe that has become a staple in my kitchen. It’s my go-to when I need a quick lunch fix that doesn’t compromise on health or taste – my beloved Spinach Arugula Salad.

How to make Spinach Arugula Salad

Spinach arugula salad is a delightful dish typically made with fresh spinach leaves and arugula (also known as rocket) mixed together to create a flavorful and nutritious base. It’s often accompanied by various toppings and dressings to enhance its taste and texture.

Ingredients:

  • Spinach: 3 cups of fresh baby spinach leaves thoroughly washed and drained.
  • Arugula: 2 cups of fresh arugula, washed and dried.
  • Cherry Tomatoes: 1 cup, halved. Their juicy sweetness complements the greens.
  • Red Onion: 1/4 of a medium-size onion, thinly sliced for a sharp bite.
  • Cucumber: Half a medium cucumber, sliced for some extra crunch.
  • Feta Cheese: 1/2 cup, crumbled. This adds a creamy texture and a tangy flavor.
  • Almonds: 1/4 cup of sliced almonds, toasted, for a nutty crunch.

Dressing:

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: 3 tablespoons
  • Balsamic Vinegar: 1 tablespoon
  • Honey: 1 teaspoon for a touch of sweetness.
  • Dijon Mustard: 1 teaspoon to emulsify and add depth.
  • Salt and Pepper: To taste.

Instructions:

  • Prep Your Greens: Combine the washed and drained spinach and arugula in a large salad bowl. Toss lightly to combine.
  • Add the Veggies and Cheese: Scatter the sliced cucumbers, halved cherry tomatoes, and thinly sliced red onions over the greens. Then, sprinkle the crumbled feta cheese across the top.
  • Toast the Almonds: While preparing the salad, toast the sliced almonds in a dry pan over medium heat until they’re golden and fragrant. This should take about 3-5 minutes. Watch them closely to prevent burning. Let them cool slightly before adding them to the salad.
  • Whisk the Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper until the mixture is well emulsified. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  • Dress the Salad: Drizzle the dressing over the salad just before serving. Toss everything gently to ensure the ingredients are evenly coated with the dressing.
  • Serve: Serve the salad immediately after dressing to ensure the greens stay crisp and vibrant.

Tips for the Perfect Spinach Arugula Salad:

  • Freshness is Key: The quality of the salad relies heavily on the freshness of the ingredients. Ensure your greens and vegetables are fresh and crisp.
  • Dressing on the Side: If you’re planning to wait to serve the salad, consider serving the dressing on the side. This keeps the greens from wilting and maintains the salad’s texture.
  • Mix It Up: Feel free to add additional ingredients based on your preference or seasonal availability. Avocado, strawberries, or walnuts make excellent additions.
  • Cheese Variations: Not a fan of feta? Try goat cheese or shaved Parmesan for a different flavor profile.
  • Balance Your Flavors: The beauty of this salad lies in the balance of flavors and textures. Ensure there’s a harmonious blend of sweet, salty, crunchy, and creamy elements.

What to serve with

Serving the Spinach Arugula Salad as a standalone meal is wonderfully satisfying, but pairing it with complementary dishes can elevate your dining experience to new heights. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party, planning a casual lunch, or simply looking to round out a weeknight meal, the versatility of this salad makes it easy to match with various foods. Here are some delightful pairing suggestions that span a range of cuisines and preparations:

1. Grilled Proteins:

  • Grilled Chicken Breast: Marinate chicken in your favorite herbs and grill it to perfection. The lean protein and subtle flavors pair nicely with the peppery arugula and spinach.
  • Grilled Salmon: The omega-3-rich salmon, especially when seasoned with dill and lemon, complements the freshness of the salad while adding a smoky depth.
  • Grilled Tofu: For a plant-based option, marinated and grilled tofu can offer a hearty, satisfying element that aligns well with the salad’s flavors.

2. Pasta Dishes:

  • Pesto Pasta: A light, herbaceous pesto pasta serves as a great companion to the salad, with its flavors of basil, garlic, and pine nuts echoing the freshness of the greens.
  • Garlic and Olive Oil Spaghetti (Aglio e Olio): This simple yet flavor-packed pasta can be a subtle backdrop, letting the salad shine while complementing its taste profile.

3. Bread and Savory Pastries:

  • Artisan Bread: A crusty loaf of artisan bread, such as sourdough or ciabatta, can be served on the side, perfect for dipping into the salad dressing.
  • Quiche: A slice of savory quiche, with its creamy egg filling and flaky pastry, pairs delightfully with the crispness of the salad.

4. Soups:

  • Gazpacho: A chilled, refreshing gazpacho on a warm day alongside the crisp salad can be a perfect match.
  • Butternut Squash Soup: In cooler weather, the creamy sweetness of butternut squash soup contrasts beautifully with the salad’s tangy and peppery notes.

5. Pizza:

  • Margherita Pizza: The classic simplicity of a Margherita, with its fresh tomato, mozzarella, and basil, harmonizes with the salad’s freshness without overpowering it.

6. Rice Dishes:

  • Lemon Herb Rice: A light lemony rice dish can complement the salad without competing with its flavors.
  • Quinoa Salad: For a superfood boost, a side of quinoa salad with vegetables can double down on the health benefits while adding a textural contrast.

7. Desserts:

  • Fruit Salad: A light, fresh fruit salad, perhaps with a hint of mint or a drizzle of honey, can serve as a sweet end to a meal featuring the salad.
  • Lemon Sorbet: For dessert, a refreshing lemon sorbet can cleanse the palate and provide a zesty finale to the meal.

Beverage Pairings:

  • Wine: A crisp, dry white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or a light Rosé pairs wonderfully with the salad.
  • Sparkling Water: For a non-alcoholic option, sparkling water with a squeeze of lemon or lime is refreshing and can cleanse the palate between bites.

Ingredients Substitutes

Arugula Spinach Salad

Creating a versatile and flavorful Spinach Arugula Salad is all about balancing textures and tastes, and fortunately, it’s easy to adapt based on availability, dietary preferences, or taste. Here are detailed ingredient substitutes that can help you customize this salad to your liking:

Greens

  • Substitutes for Spinach: If you’re looking for a different texture or flavor, baby kale, Swiss chard, or a spring mix can replace spinach. These alternatives still offer a similar nutritional profile and work well with arugula.
  • Substitutes for Arugula: Watercress, endive, or baby mustard greens can substitute for arugula if you want a slightly different level of bite or can’t find it. Each offers a unique peppery or slightly bitter taste that complements the mildness of spinach or its substitutes.

Vegetables

  • Cherry Tomatoes: Grape tomatoes or diced Roma tomatoes can be used instead of cherry tomatoes. If tomatoes are not in season, consider adding diced bell peppers for sweetness and crunch.
  • Red Onion: Shallots or spring onions (green onions) can be a good substitute, offering a similar sharp bite but with slight variations in flavor intensity.
  • Cucumber: If cucumbers are not your favorite or you’re looking for a change, try thinly sliced radishes or jicama for crunch.

Cheese

  • Feta Cheese: For those who prefer a different taste or texture, goat cheese, shaved Parmesan, or even blue cheese can be excellent substitutions. Each cheese offers a distinctive flavor that can elevate the salad in different ways.

Nuts

  • Almonds: Toasted walnuts, pecans, or pine nuts can replace almonds if you’re looking to experiment with different textures and nutty flavors. Each brings a unique crunch and taste to the salad.

Dressing Ingredients

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: For a different base of your dressing, avocado oil or walnut oil can provide a subtle flavor change. These oils pair well with the balsamic vinegar.
  • Balsamic Vinegar: If balsamic isn’t to your liking or you’re out, try using red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or even a squeeze of lemon juice for the acid component of your dressing.
  • Honey: Maple syrup or agave nectar are great vegan alternatives to honey, adding a similar sweetness to balance the acidity of the vinegar.
  • Dijon Mustard: If Dijon mustard isn’t your preference, a small amount of honey mustard can offer both sweetness and tanginess, while whole grain mustard adds texture and a milder taste.

Final Thoughts

This Spinach Arugula Salad is not just a dish; it’s a celebration of simple, fresh ingredients coming together to create something deliciously beautiful. Whether you’re looking to impress guests or just treating yourself to a healthy and satisfying meal, this salad is sure to delight you.

Spinach Arugula Salad

Spinach Arugula Salad

Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 35 calories 0.5 gram fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )

Ingredients

  • Spinach: 3 cups of fresh baby spinach leaves thoroughly washed and drained.
  • Arugula: 2 cups of fresh arugula, washed and dried.
  • Cherry Tomatoes: 1 cup, halved. Their juicy sweetness complements the greens.
  • Red Onion: 1/4 of a medium-size onion, thinly sliced for a sharp bite.
  • Cucumber: Half a medium cucumber, sliced for some extra crunch.
  • Feta Cheese: 1/2 cup, crumbled. This adds a creamy texture and a tangy flavor.
  • Almonds: 1/4 cup of sliced almonds, toasted, for a nutty crunch.

Dressing:

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: 3 tablespoons
  • Balsamic Vinegar: 1 tablespoon
  • Honey: 1 teaspoon for a touch of sweetness.
  • Dijon Mustard: 1 teaspoon to emulsify and add depth.
  • Salt and Pepper: To taste.

Instructions

  • Prep Your Greens: Combine the washed and drained spinach and arugula in a large salad bowl. Toss lightly to combine.
  • Add the Veggies and Cheese: Scatter the sliced cucumbers, halved cherry tomatoes, and thinly sliced red onions over the greens. Then, sprinkle the crumbled feta cheese across the top.
  • Toast the Almonds: While preparing the salad, toast the sliced almonds in a dry pan over medium heat until they're golden and fragrant. This should take about 3-5 minutes. Watch them closely to prevent burning. Let them cool slightly before adding them to the salad.
  • Whisk the Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper until the mixture is well emulsified. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  • Dress the Salad: Drizzle the dressing over the salad just before serving. Toss everything gently to ensure the ingredients are evenly coated with the dressing.
  • Serve: Serve the salad immediately after dressing to ensure the greens stay crisp and vibrant.

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