This simple Arugula, Cucumber, and Pomegranate Salad with Parmesan cheese and a quick apple cider vinegar dressing is perfect for a special occasion but easy enough for any weeknight.
About a month ago, we went to a Rosh Hashanah dinner and I was in charge of the salad. Wanting to incorporate some of the traditional ingredients of the holiday, I wanted to make a salad with apples, pomegranates, and honey. Everyone fell in love with this simple salad.
At the time, I had to go to more than four stores to finally find a pomegranate, but now that they are in season I have been making versions of this salad weekly. It's fresh, slightly sweet, and just a bit tart. It pairs well with almost any meal. It also makes a delicious main dish, just add some grilled chicken, shrimp, or chickpeas.
I love adding thinly sliced fennel or apples, subbing in goat cheese for the Parmesan, and trying different nuts like pecans or pistachios. It's truly a salad you will want to make again and again.
What You'll Need
- Arugula: This tasty green has a bit of a peppery flavor. For a milder pepper flavor, choose baby arugula. Feel free to swap in another green. Butter lettuce, baby spinach, massaged kale, or spring mix would all be delicious.
- Pomegranate: This is the star of this salad with its sweet and tart flavor. Buy pomegranate arils in the refrigerated produce section or use this easy method for cutting pomegranates.
- Cucumber: To add some crunch, sliced cucumbers are a great option. Persian cucumbers or English cucumbers are preferred since they are less bitter.
- Almonds: Every salad needs some crunch. Make this with almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds.
- Parmesan: This adds a salty, nutty element to the salad. Goat cheese, feta cheese, blue cheese, and gorgonzola are all tasty as well.
- Dressing: This salad uses a simple lemon dressing so that the ingredients can really shine. All you need is lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, honey, and olive oil.
Recipe Ideas and Tips
Think of this as a blueprint for an arugula salad. There are lots of ways to customize the salad based on what you have in the fridge or your preferences.
- Add more veggies: Consider adding some thinly shaved carrots, fennel, red onion, or green onions.
- Enhance the pomegranate flavor: To add even more pomegranate flavor use pomegrante juice or vinegar in the dressing.
- Switch the cheese: This salad works with so many different types of cheese from feta to goat cheese to gorgonzola.
- Add herbs: Arugula and herbs is a tasty pairing. Add some fresh basil, dill, cilantro, oregano, or parsley to kick up the flavor.
- Try a different dressing: Try this salad with a simple balsamic vinaigrette, green goddess dressing, or creamy gorgonzola dressing.
- Make it a meal: Add some roasted chickpeas, grilled chicken, baked salmon, or canned tuna to make this a meal.
What to Serve with Arugula Salad
This salad is special enough to serve with a holiday meal but also works for quick lunch or dinner side dish. Here are some ideas:
- Slow Cooker Rotisserie Chicken: Salad, rotisserie chicken, and roasted potatoes is one of my favorite meals. Then use the leftover chicken over the leftover salad for lunch the next day.
- Crispy Baked Fish: Crispy fish paired with fresh salad is always a good idea.
- Garlic Grilled Shrimp: For a light summer meal, pair the arugula salad with some of these tasty grilled shrimp.
- Honey Pork Tenderloin: Double up on the honey flavor with this baked pork dish. Sprinkle some pomegrante seeds over the pork as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most common questions about making this arugula and cucumber salad.
Arugula has a mild peppery flavor and is a common salad green. If you tend to find arugula bitter, then look for baby arugula which has a milder flavor.
Most arugula comes in prewashed bags or containers. However, if you are buying fresh arugula, make sure to wash the arugula and dry it on towels or in a salad spinner.
Arugula pairs well with many fruits including pears, apples, fresh berries, melon, and mango. Dried fruit can also be used.
Arugula, Cucumber, and Pomegranate Salad
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- 1 lemon (juice only)
- 2.5 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 6 cups arugula
- 1 cup cucumber, sliced
- 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese
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* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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