Do you ever want to eat something simple, but you don’t want to spend too much time creating it? Well, let me introduce you to my favorite midday meal. Arugula Salad with Lemon-Garlic Dressing can be on the table (or desk) in ten minutes. This salad is full of calcium, vitamins, protein, healthy fats, and fiber. Surprisingly enough, it fills you up and sustains you through the afternoon doldrums, too.
I love arugula because it adds so much flavor to a dish. If you’ve never had it, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. This delicate, little leaf has a light peppery taste. It tastes amazing in salads, but I also fold it in to creamy sauces for pasta, or top flatbreads with it.
Pulling together the rest of the salad only requires a few, thin slices of red onion, avocados, soft-boiled eggs, and a lemon-garlic vinaigrette. All ready in ten minutes.
How is it ready so fast?
I’m a firm believer in working efficiently. Standing around waiting for one thing to be done, instead of doing something during the wait time, irks me to no end. Call it trauma from working in a commercial kitchen, but it makes cooking go smoothly for me. If you must wait around for something to cook, like the boiled eggs in this recipe, try to get another component of the dish ready while you wait.
The first thing we need is a sauce pan filled with water for boiling our eggs. The first time I made this salad, I made it with poached eggs. In theory it was a great idea, but the liquid from the poached eggs wilted the arugula and it took longer than ten minutes from start to finish.
This revised version of the recipe requires us to bring the water to boiling, place our eggs into the boiling water, and boil for six minutes. If you don’t care for soft-boiled eggs, increase the cooking time to eight minutes.
While those are cooking, make the vinaigrette:
Grate a clove of garlic and transfer it to a small jar with a tight-fitting lid (a mason jar works great for this). Add salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar (to offset the tart flavors of the salad) to the jar.
Now add the lemon juice.
Followed by a high-quality extra virgin olive oil.
Then screw the lid onto the jar tightly and shake, shake, shake.
A few notes about vinaigrettes:
Vinaigrettes are dressings that are made from oils and acidic liquids (vinegars, citrus juices, etc.). They are also emulsions which, in the simplest of terms, means that one liquid is encapsulated in the other. Once you know the basic formula for a vinaigrette, you’re like a mad scientist- there’s no end to the varieties of vinaigrettes you can create. Maybe I’ll do a post on them later, but for now, some important points to remember when making a vinaigrette are:
- Always use a high-quality oil. It doesn’t matter what kind of oil you want to use, so long as it’s high-quality. Trash oils will make your vinaigrette taste liiiiiike…yes, my friend, hot garbage. Splurge on a good oil just for dressings. You’re worth it. I’ll fight anyone who disagrees that you are.
- Don’t limit yourself to vinegars alone. Just as we’re using lemon juice in this recipe, other citrus juices will work beautifully. Think about using other vinegars like rice wine, red wine, or white wine, as well. Remember: high-quality. It’s key when you’re eating it these ingredients as is.
- Don’t be afraid to shake like a mad person. You need a vigorous shake to emulsify the oil and “water” (acidic liquid). One wants no part of the other (kind of like me and the gym). That shaking forces them to bond and it’s all for the best, liiiiike me and the gym.
The rest of the salad prep:
While the images may make the dressing step seem like a long process, it, legit, takes two minutes if you’ve prepped beforehand. Which, you have, because you’re my friend and I always tell you to get your ingredients prepped beforehand. If you haven’t prepped, well you’re obviously Hector’s friend and you’re going to end up like him- hungry and mad that you didn’t listen to me. Prep, prep, prep.
Slice your red onions very thinly. You can even use your mandoline (if you have one). Set the onion slices to the side because your eggs should be done cooking by now.
Dealing with the hard-to-deal-with:
Peeling eggs, at one time or another, has made us all want to bash our skulls against sheetrock. Okay, maybe I’m being a bit dramatic. It can be frustrating to peel an egg, especially a soft-boiled egg. My method is to just go for it, but first, I need them to stop cooking so that I don’t end up with a hard-boiled egg. I hate hard-boiled eggs.
I fill a mixing bowl with ice water. As soon as the boiling time for the eggs has elapsed, I transfer them to the ice water. By the time I’ve cleaned, dried, and put away my pot, the eggs have stopped cooking and are ready to peel. Knock it against the countertop to break the shell.
There’s a membrane between the egg’s shell and the egg white. I’ve found that once you’ve torn that membrane, the shell comes away from the egg easily. You will avoid those gaping flesh wounds in your egg’s white. The truth is, if the egg doesn’t look all that pretty, it’s not that serious. Like, that’s a real first-world problem. It still tastes the same.
Dress the salad:
I always wait until the very last minute to dress my arugula salad with the lemon-garlic dressing. As soon as that acid hits the arugula, it’ll begin wilting the delicate leaves. Just prior to dressing the salad, slice the avocado and set it to the side so you can scoop the flesh directly onto the assembled arugula salad.
Grab a large mixing bowl, and put your arugula in it. Give the vinaigrette another vigorous shake to re-emulsify it, then pour half of it over the greens. Save the rest in case you want to add more later, or for keep it for another day.
Toss using the tools God gave you (your hand), or a pair of salad tongs.
Slice the soft-boiled eggs in half. To finish assembling the salad: top with the eggs, red onion slices, and avocado. Add more dressing, and salt and pepper, if you wish.
Enjoy this dish immediately because, as I said earlier, those greens begin wilting when dressed with the vinaigrette.
If you decide to take this to work for lunch, wait until you’re ready to eat to peel and cut your boiled eggs, the avocado, and dress the salad. The lemon-garlic vinaigrette refrigerates well for up to a week, so you can totally make that in advance.
Pin and share this recipe with your friends who need a quick go-to lunch.
Arugula Salad with Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette
Dress the arugula salad at the last minute with this flavorful dressing.
- 4 large eggs
- 10 ounces arugula (about 6 cups, washed and dried)
- 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 avocados
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (plus more to taste)
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- pinch granulated sugar (optional)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (1 large lemon)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Fill a medium sauce pan with water. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat.
Place the eggs into the boiling water, and boil for six minutes for soft-boiled, or eight minutes hard-boiled.
Prepare the Vinaigrette
In a small jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the grated garlic, salt, pepper, sugar, lemon juice, and the oil.
Screw the lid onto the jar tightly, and shake vigorously to create an emulsion.
Peel the Eggs
When the eggs have finished boiling, fill a mixing bowl with ice water, and transfer the eggs to the ice water.
Knock the egg's shell against the hard countertop to break the shell. Peel away the eggshell and discard.
Set the eggs aside until you're ready to assemble the salad.
Assemble the Salad
Just before you assemble the salad, slice the avocado. Set it to the side so you can scoop the flesh directly onto the arugula salad later.
Put the arugula into a large mixing bowl.
Give the vinaigrette another vigorous shake just in case it needs to be emulsified again.
Pour half of of the dressing over the greens. Save the remainder for pouring on later, if you wish, or for another day.
Toss to coat the arugula with the vinaigrette.
Slice the eggs in half and top the salad with them, then add the red onion slices, and, finally the avocado.
Add more dressing, or salt and pepper, if you wish.
This salad is best enjoyed right away.
To prepare this salad in advance (for work or school lunches):
- Pre-cook the eggs to your preference. Do not peel them, though. When you're ready to assemble your salad, peel and cut the eggs.
- Prepare your dressing as instructed, leaving it in the mason jar for easy transport. Shake again, just prior to dressing your salad.
- Cut the avocado in half and slice like you normally would (cut around the seed). Instead of scooping out the seed and the flesh, reassemble the avocado (put the two halves together again). Wrap the avocado in plastic wrap and place in an air-tight container, or plastic food storage bag. This will prevent the avocado flesh from oxidizing (turning brown).
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