Of the hodgepodge of millennial acronyms and puns that I’ve picked up on social media over the years, Fri-Yay might be my favorite of all. HAPPY FRI-YAY everyone! Let’s keep it easy with a simple, delish pizza dinner and a quick, healthy side like this Anytime Arugula Salad.

Simple and Perfect Arugula Salad with Lemon Balsamic Dressing and Parmesan. Easy and so flavorful! This healthy side dish goes with any meal and comes together in minutes.

This colorful blend of peppery arugula, juicy cherry tomatoes, and colorful carrot ribbons (plus giant shavings of Parmesan because it’s a YAY kind of day) is flavorful enough to be worthy of the weekend, but easy enough so I never feel too tired to throw it together, even at the end of a long week when my heart is happy but my brain is saying hi, I’m done.

This salad recipe is flexible, fast, and makes me feel both wholesome and creative at the same time. It’s the sort of salad I wish I could order at every restaurant: veggie packed and crisp, with a vibrant lemon balsamic dressing that enhances the flavors of the other ingredients without making the salad wet or soggy.

I’ve made assorted versions of this salad dozens of times over the years. It’s a back-pocket kind of recipe that gives me a quick, tasty way to add some green to our plates, and I enjoy it every time I make it.

Fresh and simple arugula salad with vegetables and Parmesan shavings.

Most recently, I served this salad when I had girlfriends over for an impromptu back porch happy hour that (as all good gatherings with gal pals and wine are apt to do) extended into dinner time. I headed into the kitchen to see what I could throw together for our hungry crew.

I had a big bunch of arugula and a few miscellaneous veggies, so this anytime arugula salad was a given. Side dish: done and done.

For the main event, we opted for frozen pizza. No shame! This healthy salad freshens up any spread. It was fast, laid back, and perfect for the occasion.

Simple Anytime Arugula Salad with lemon balsamic dressing served with pizza.

About This Arugula Salad

In the amount of time it took the pizzas to cook, I was able to pull together this arugula salad. I added carrots and tomatoes because that was what was in my refrigerator. I also tossed in some sunflower seeds for texture and some chopped fresh herbs that were threatening to expire.

Honestly though, you can serve this salad with only the arugula, lemon balsamic dressing (which tastes completely dynamite with arugula), and Parmesan. The other ingredients are yummy, but it’s this simple trio that does the heavy lifting.

Is Arugula Salad Good for You?

  • Yes, when filled with healthy ingredients, arugula salad is very good for you!
  • Arugula is packed with vital nutrients, and it’s low in calories, carbs, fat, and sugar.
  • To make the salad even better for you, focus on adding extra healthy ingredients, like fresh vegetables.
  • Use more indulgent ingredients, like nuts and cheese, in moderation. These are important to add to make the salad satisfying; just don’t go overboard.

Anytime Arugula Salad with carrots, cherry tomatoes, and shaved Parmesan served with pizza.

What Goes Well with Arugula Salad?


HAPPY FRI-YAY everyone!

Simple and Perfect Arugula Salad with Lemon Balsamic Dressing and Parmesan. Easy and so flavorful! This healthy side dish goes with any meal and comes together in minutes.
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Anytime Arugula Salad

Prep Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
10 mins
Simple, perfect arugula salad with lemon balsamic dressing and Parmesan. Easy and flavorful! This healthy side goes with any meal and is ready in minutes.



  • ounces  arugula  — about 5 cups
  • 4 medium carrots — shaved into ribbons (about 8 to 10 ounces) or 1 cup grated carrots (if you’re in a hurry, you can use the pre-bagged grated carrots)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes — halved
  • 1/3 cup large Parmesan cheese shavings — see pictures—don't skip this, and the better the quality of the cheese, the better the salad! I like to shave mine right off of the block with a vegetable peeler
  • 3 tablespoons  chopped sunflower seeds or chopped nuts of choice—toasted and chopped walnuts — pecans, and pistachios are all delicious (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mild fresh herbs of choice — such as chives, parsley, or tarragon (optional)


  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice — about 1/2 medium lemon
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Place the arugula, carrots, and tomatoes in a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the dressing ingredients: lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and salt. (Alternatively, you can shake them all together in a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid). Drizzle enough over the arugula to moisten it, then toss to combine.
  3. Sprinkle Parmesan and any desired nuts or herbs over the top. Serve immediately with a drizzle of extra dressing as desired.
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Anytime Arugula Salad, Healthy Salad Recipe

Nutrition Information

Amount per serving (1 (of 6)) — Calories: 122, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 3mg, Carbohydrates: 9g, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 5g, Protein: 4g

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