This easy salad recipe starts with a combination of spinach and peppery arugula dressed with a simple balsamic vinaigrette. Topped with juicy blueberries, crunchy candied pecans, and creamy blue cheese crumbles, this side salad is truly decadent!
Serves 4-6 as a side salad, or add chicken to make it a main course for 2. This arugula and spinach salad would also make a beautiful addition to any holiday table (see tips below)!
This simple spinach arugula salad came into being after the holidays when my body and soul were filled to the brim with lasagna, prime rib, and holiday sweets. We needed a meal with light, fresh ingredients that wouldn’t weigh us down.
We had lots of ingredients in the fridge that needed to be used up, and this salad was born. It was good enough to make again the next week, and definitely blog-worthy!
About this Spinach Arugula Salad Recipe
Every good salad needs a variety of textures and flavors to feel complete, and this arugula spinach salad recipe has it all. Juicy pops of firm, tart blueberries, crunchy candied pecans, and the soft, salty tang of blue cheese crumbles all contrast beautifully with the combination of peppery arugula and fresh spinach.
Additions & Substitutions
Almost anything in this spinach arugula salad can be swapped or adapted according to your preference! Here are some ideas.
- Add some protein. Top with balsamic marinated chicken to turn this salad into a light lunch or simple dinner! You can also add chicken, grilled or cooked simply with olive oil in a skillet.
- Swap the basic dressing for creamy honey balsamic vinaigrette for a more complex flavor or if your greens are extra bitter. The honey can help balance out a bitter green. This vinaigrette also includes fresh garlic, dijon mustard, and herbs like oregano and thyme. Fancy!
- Not a fan of blue cheese? Goat cheese or crumbled feta is an easy and delicious swap!
- Go nuts! You can make your own cinnamon pecans using the recipe included in my sweet potato casserole post, use store-bought praline pecans or candied walnuts, or go with plain toasted pecans instead.
Beautiful, colorful, and versatile? Ooh la la!
Expert Tips & Tricks
Use baby greens for a milder flavor. Baby spinach leaves are smaller, more tender, and better for salads than mature spinach, but you can use either! Baby arugula is milder, while mature arugula can be spicier and more bitter.
Buy your blue cheese in a wedge and crumble it yourself. Pre-crumbled cheese can have disappointingly small pieces. Plus, freshly crumbled cheese is much more flavorful.
Find candied pecans or walnuts in plastic tubs at the grocery store near the produce, or in baggies marketed as salad toppers near the salad dressings.
Preparing your salad
Maximize your flavor. Crumble your cheese while it’s cold so it doesn’t turn to mush in your fingers, but let it come to room temperature before serving for the best flavor.
Skip the mason jar. To keep this salad as easy as possible (and with fewer dishes!) I made a basic balsamic vinaigrette directly on the greens. It’s how I make my homemade salad dressing 95% of the time.
Dress the greens, then add the toppings. Creamy cheeses like blue cheese and goat cheese tend to disintegrate if tossed with the dressing. Adding the nuts at the end also helps them keep their crunch.
Making this salad for the holidays (or a potluck)
Don’t dress it in advance. Make a bottle of honey balsamic dressing and serve it on the side if this is a potluck-style holiday meal. Pre-dressed greens will wilt quickly.
Give some options. Most of my family dislikes blue cheese. Serving a couple cheese options on the side (blue cheese, goat cheese, or feta cheese) will satisfy a crowd no matter what their preference is!
Consider a double batch. If many dishes will be offered at your gathering, you may be fine with the recipe as written. However, if yours is the only green salad and you have a lot of people, consider doubling the recipe!
Make it a main by adding balsamic-marinated chicken or grilled chicken breast strips.
Serve as a side dish for a bistro-style sandwich, like one of these:
- Pesto chicken panini with balsamic roasted tomatoes
- Bacon avocado ranch chicken salad wrap
- Smoked turkey, apple, and brie sandwich
Make it a combo. Soup and salad makes a perfect light lunch. French onion soup is a classic option!
More salad recipes you’ll love
Spinach Arugula Salad with Blueberries and PecansPrint Recipe
- 2 large handfuls Fresh baby spinach see note
- 2 large handfuls Fresh arugula see note
- 2 oz. Blue cheese about 1/2 cup crumbled
- 1/2 cup Blueberries
- 1/2 cup Candied pecans
- 1/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
- Crumble blue cheese while cold and let the crumbles come to room temperature for the best flavor.2 oz. Blue cheese
- Combine spinach and arugula in a large bowl. Add olive oil, kosher salt, and garlic powder and toss to combine. Add balsamic vinegar and toss again.2 large handfuls Fresh baby spinach, 2 large handfuls Fresh arugula, 1/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon Garlic powder, 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
- Divide greens into 4-6 side salad bowls or 2 main course salad bowls. Top evenly with blueberries, candied pecans, and blue cheese crumbles. Top with chicken, if desired. (see note)1/2 cup Blueberries, 1/2 cup Candied pecans, 2 oz. Blue cheese
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
- Add balsamic marinated chicken to turn this salad into a main course for a light lunch or simple dinner!
- Swap the basic dressing for creamy honey balsamic vinaigrette for a more complex flavor or if your greens are extra bitter.
- Goat cheese or feta cheese crumbles may be substituted if you don’t like blue cheese.
- Make your own cinnamon pecans (recipe included in this sweet potato casserole post) or use praline pecans, candied walnuts, or plain toasted pecans.