This arugula salad recipe with fennel and Manchego cheese is ridiculously easy to make! It has a light lemon vinaigrette, and these flavors go so well together for a creative and bright salad.
I think you'll also like my Super Simple Parmesan Arugula Salad.
Why you'll love it
This is a refreshing salad that has just a handful of fresh ingredients. You can make it in no time at all, and this arugula salad pairs with practically any main dish. I find myself serving this for company often since it's really impressive but secretly incredibly simple to throw together.
I'm a big fan of salads that are different than what I usually eat. This shaved fennel salad is actually inspired by one of my old favorite places to grab a quick bite in Vegas at the Aria. It has long closed, so I'm thrilled I could recreate this zesty salad at home and eat it anytime!
Ingredients for it
- Fennel - you can eat all parts of fennel, but we're using the bulb and the fronds (leaves) here.
- Baby arugula - it tastes a bit peppery and works great with cheese
- Manchego cheese - it's a Spanish hard cheese with a nutty, salty, creamy, and slightly sweet flavor
- Lemon juice, olive oil, salt & pepper - this is all we need for the vinaigrette to let the other ingredients shine!
What does fennel taste like?
- Fennel bulbs have a delicate anise flavor, which is kind of reminiscent of licorice. It's also a little bit sweet, definitely not overpowering, and is fantastic in fresh dishes to brighten them up. Honestly, even people who don't like licorice enjoy fennel. Give it a try!
- The lacy leafy part that looks like dill is also edible and has more of that signature anise flavor. It's a great garnish. Like other herbs, it's good for adding texture and color when topping a dish.
How to make this arugula salad
This is an overview, and full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Thinly slice the bulb of the fennel. I use this mandoline to do it. Don't discard the stalks yet.
- Add the arugula to a salad bowl along with the fennel. Shave the Manchego cheese. I just used a potato peeler.
- Top with the vinaigrette ingredients and toss. Garnish with the chopped fronds, and enjoy right away!
Substitutions and variations
- Since it's such a simple recipe, we suggest you try it out first as written and then make changes later on.
- That said, it's very easy to adjust the dressing to your liking. If you're a fan of lemon, simply add some more. Want garlic? Try adding in some minced garlic. It's pretty flexible!
- If you need it sweeter, add a touch of honey or a pinch of sugar to balance out the acidity of the lemon.
Leftovers and storage
- Keep leftovers in the fridge in a covered container. Arugula does hold up fairly well compared to other salad greens, but as with any salad, it'll wilt quite quickly.
- If it's been sitting out for more than 2 hours, I'd discard it.
- Have extra ingredients? Keep them separate and assemble a new salad later on.
What to serve with it
- It makes a fantastic lighter yet flavorful pairing for any number of main courses. I enjoy it with anything from Baked Ziti to my Easy Chicken Piccata to this Beef Noodle Casserole!
- For a vegetarian option, it's great with Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells or this Simple Cream of Broccoli Soup.
- Go ahead and eat it as a light lunch with a slice of crusty bread.
Did you enjoy this recipe? Tell me all about it in the comments below! I'd love to hear from you.
Arugula Salad with Fennel and Cheese
- 1 bulb fennel sliced thinly
- 5 ounces baby arugula
- 1 cup Manchego cheese shaved (or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (or to taste)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (or to taste)
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Thinly slice the bulb of the fennel. Chop some of the fronds (leafy part) for garnishing.
- Add the fennel and baby arugula to a bowl along with the shaved Manchego cheese. Drizzle the lemon juice and olive oil on top with some salt & pepper.
- Toss, top with the fronds, and serve immediately.
- Serves 2-4.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.