The Little Green Salad

I occasionally consider this blog to be an ever-expanding cookbook and attempt to fill in the blanks. What is lacking? The other day, as I was assembling my usual green salad to go with some leftovers, it occurred to me that my blog is missing a recipe for a side salad. Like every woman needs a cute little black dress in her closet, every cook should have a recipe for a simple green salad. They both serve as basic building pieces.

My usual is a plain green salad. I adore the flavor combination of the roasted nuts, lemon vinaigrette, and sharp local arugula. I frequently serve it plain or with some seasonal toppings to spice it up. To give you some ideas, I thought I’d offer a couple of those versions.

Starting at the top, there are some zingy cucumber and radish slices with finely chopped almonds. Then came sunflower nuts, avocado, and vivid cherry tomatoes. The arugula was then combined with fennel and pine nuts to create a refined, compact green salad. That concept, which I believe is my favorite of the three, was motivated by the pages of the June issue of Martha Stewart Living. It’s like wearing a little black dress with diamond stud earrings and gold bangles, in my opinion. Classy!

I should admit that it’s not usually that little when I make this salad for myself. I’ll occasionally cook a large salad, especially in the summer when I’m wanting lighter fare, so I can be content with just one slice of leftover pizza rather than three.

In any case, I would argue that the tastes in this green salad go well with the majority of main dishes, particularly those with an Italian or Mediterranean flair. Pesto, pizza, bruschetta, and pasta spring to mind. Although I don’t consume a lot of meat, I believe it would be delicious with fish, poultry, or beef. Please share your thoughts with me. If this LGS ended up being your new go-to side salad, I’d be overjoyed.

Also read: Chopped Kale Salad with Edamame, Carrot and Avocado


Salad (no amounts given, you can eyeball this)

  • Arugula
  • Small nuts or seeds, toasted (pine nuts, sunflower seeds and sliced almonds are great)
  • Freshly grated Parmesan

Lemon vinaigrette (yields enough for 6 to 8 small side salads, leftovers will keep in the fridge for several weeks)

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (more to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Suggested variations

  • Sliced cherry tomatoes, avocado and sunflower seeds
  • Thinly sliced cucumbers, radishes and almonds
  • Thinly sliced fennel and pine nuts


  1. Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl (or a jar with a watertight lid), whisk together (or shake) the ingredients until well blended.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the arugula with a handful of toasted nuts and grated Parmesan (don’t skimp). Add a drizzle of dressing and toss until the salad is lightly coated throughout. If desired, toss in the suggested add-ins. Serve immediately.