A vibrant and delectable summer salad bursting with flavors and textures - this Arugula Strawberry Salad has a delightful medley of fresh ingredients and tangy dressing that's out of this world!
This summer salad recipe combines the peppery bite of arugula, the natural sweetness of strawberries, crispness of yellow bell pepper and cucumber, the zing of minced red onion, the creamy tang of feta cheese, and the nutty crunch of chopped pecans.
Yes, I believe all of those flavor/texture descriptions are necessary when describing this salad. No one wants a crunchy salad that is lacking flavor.
Plus, the color of this salad is GORGEOUS! I mean, if you want to add blueberries, you will have a rainbow of health staring back at ya! 🙂
- Arugula: Choose fresh, vibrant baby arugula leaves for the best flavor and texture. Rinse the arugula thoroughly and pat it dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture before assembling the salad. Moisture will ruin the salad.
- Strawberries: Select ripe, sweet strawberries that are firm and free from bruises or mold. Wash the strawberries under cold running water, and then pat them dry with a paper towel before dicing.
- Yellow Bell Pepper: Yellow is key here for the beautiful pop of color. Look for a firm and brightly colored yellow bell pepper. Remove the seeds and inner membranes before dicing to avoid any bitterness.
- Cucumber: I highly recommend seedless persian cucumbers or mini cucumbers with a vibrant green color. I like to leave the skin on and these types have skin that is much more palatable unlike other cucumbers.
- Red Onion: Red (or purple) onions are the only onion I use in a salad. They are slightly more mild then yellow or white onions and their color is 100% more attractive than others.
- Feta Cheese: Use high-quality feta cheese in BLOCK form. Blocks of feta are almost always more creamy than pre-crumbled feta. Imported from Greece is a bonus!
- *Pecans: This is optional but recommended. They add a nice crunch to the salad. If you can find, use candied pecans. They are awesome in salads.
The Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing
The dressing is what REALLY takes this salad over the top.
It is 100 times better than any dressing I have bought in the store and 100 times healthier too!
It's made with honey, lemon juice, olive oil, dijon, mayo, and poppy seeds. It's delicious.
Substitutes & Variations
- Greens: Try swapping the arugula for baby spinach, mixed greens or watercress.
- Berries: Mix in some raspberries, blueberries and or blackberries.
- Cheese: Goat cheese would be my recommended swap if you like it! So good!
- Nuts: Walnuts, almonds or pine nuts would be a good swap.
- Protein: Mix in some grilled chicken, steak, shrimp, tofu for added protein!
- Fruits: Cutting up peaches, nectarines, pears or apples into small cubes would be delicious!
- Fresh Herbs: Mint, basil or cilantro would be great additions this summer!
- Avocado: Sliced or diced avocado would add another creamy element.
When Is Best To Serve This Salad?
You can serve this refreshing arugula salad with strawberries on various occasions and at different meals. Here are some suggestions:
- Summer Gatherings: The combination of fresh, seasonal ingredients makes this salad perfect for summer gatherings, BBQs, or picnics.
- Brunch: It can be a delightful addition to a brunch spread, offering a light and colorful option alongside other dishes.
- Lunch: Enjoy it as a filling and healthy lunch option on its own or pair it with a cup of soup or a half-sandwich for a well-rounded meal.
- Dinner Side: Serve it as a side salad to complement grilled meats, roasted vegetables, or pasta dishes during dinner.
- Potluck: Bring this salad to a potluck or party to impress guests with its vibrant colors and delicious flavors.
- Entertaining Guests: This salad is a great choice when entertaining friends or family at home for a casual get-together or a formal dinner.
Recommended Recipes To Try!
Summer Strawberry Salad w/ Cucumber & Arugula
- 6 oz arugula, roughly chopped
- 20 strawberries, diced
- 1 large yellow bell pepper, sliced thinly (*yellow offers a pop of color and is sweeter)
- 4 mini cucumbers, diced
- 1 small red onion, minced (*or half a large)
- 7 oz feta cheese
- ¼ cup pecans, chopped (*candied pecans are a crowd favorite)
Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 3 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon mayo
- 1 tablespoon dijon
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- ½ teaspoon salt
- freshly cracked black pepper
- First we will whisk up our lemon poppy seed dressing. Add all dressing ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk well. Transfer to a container/bottle and place in the fridge until you're ready to serve.
- Add your arugula, strawberries, cucumbers, bell peppers, onions and pecans in a bowl and toss to mix.
- Finish with the crumbled feta cheese over top and serve!