I am not generally a salad person.
I cannot happily sit down with a bag of lettuce or spinach and some dressing like my husband can. He will just dress the plain leaves and gobble it all up for his lunch.
To me, nothing sounds worse than a bowlful of plain greens with a little bit of dressing.
It’s one thing if you are pairing that simple combination with a protein like chicken or steak.
But if we’re talking about plain greens served on their own, I’m going to have to politely decline.
I’m sorry, but I need a lot of STUFF in my salads. If there’s only one texture throughout the whole thing, I get bored about three bites into it.
That’s why this recipe has become one of my favorites this summer. There’s tons of yummy things going on, and it’s far from one-note.
If you aren’t familiar with pea shoots, they come from the pea plant (surprise, surprise). They are a delicate ingredient that’s comprised of a few inches of the young leaves and tendrils.
Pea shoots are not the exact same thing as pea sprouts. The shoots are actually a bit more mature, and they provide a fun balance with the arugula and the other ingredients in this dish.
Not sure how to track down pea shoots? Check out my tips at the end of this article.
The sweetness of the fresh figs and the crunchy, salty pistachios provide a fun surprise with each mouthful (though we’re also tempted to top it off with some savory granola, too!). When you combine all of this with the simplest homemade salad dressing, you have a fresh and flavorful dish that is truly memorable.
The homemade dressing is one that I also love to use on other types of greens, if I happen to have any left over after I make this dish.
It’s such a basic recipe, made with ingredients that you likely already have in your fridge and pantry. All that it requires is lemon juice, a touch of honey, Dijon mustard, olive oil, and a pinch of sea salt.
The result is a wonderfully balanced dressing that’s tangy, acidic, and slightly sweet. It makes for a fantastic pairing with the peppery arugula, and I’ll throw it on whatever greens I have left over in the fridge the next day – as long as I’m pairing it with half a sandwich or soup, of course.
Again, I stand by the fact that dressed greens on their own are totally blah! You can do better, and make a fresh vegetable side that’s nutritious, easy to prepare, and super delicious.
This recipe pairs nicely with chicken or steak, if you want to add some protein on top of it to make a heartier meal. I’ll even put in on top of burgers or pizza, should the mood to shake things up strike me.
Versatile and insanely easy to make, there’s no excuse for you not to be running to the store or the farmers market right now to gather the ingredients for it.Print
Simpler is always better, and this peppery, sweet, and crunchy arugula salad with figs, pistachios, and pea shoots proves that.
For the Salad:
- 4 cups lightly packed arugula
- 4 oz pea shoots
- 6 oz fresh figs, sliced (about 1 cup)
- 1/3 cup chopped roasted, unsalted pistachios
For the Dressing:
- Juice of one lemon (about 2 Tbsp)
- 3 Tbsp honey
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- Pinch of sea salt
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl.
- In a separate smaller bowl, whisk lemon juice, honey, mustard, and salt together. Slowly drizzle in olive oil and constantly, until well-combined. Season to taste, if desired.
- Drizzle dressing onto the salad and toss to coat. Serve immediately.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Salads
- Method: No-cook
- Cuisine: Side Dishes
Keywords: arugula, Dijon mustard, pistachios, figs, pea shoots
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Slice Figs, Chop Pistachios, Juice Lemon, and Measure Remaining Ingredients
Slice the fresh figs. You should have 1 cup total.
Chop enough roasted, unsalted pistachios until you have 1/3 cup total.
Juice a lemon. You should have about 2 tablespoons of juice.
Measure out all of the remaining ingredients as they are listed on the ingredients list.
Step 2 – Combine Ingredients
Add the arugula, pea shoots, figs, and pistachios to a large bowl.
Toss to combine.
Step 3 – Make Dressing
Add the lemon juice, honey, mustard, and salt for the dressing to a small bowl. Whisk to combine.
Slowly drizzle oil into the mixture while whisking, and continue to whisk until well-combined.
If you like, you can season the dressing to taste, by adding any of the listed ingredients in small increments until you get the perfect blend. I think it’s already perfectly balanced as described, but to each his own!
For another dressing idea that would be perfect with the ingredients in this salad, try a creamy honey balsamic vinaigrette!
Step 4 – Finish and Serve
Drizzle the dressing over the salad as desired. If you like less dressing on your salad, start by using about half to start. Toss to coat, and add more as desired.
Serve immediately. While the greens and fruit will become soggy over time, you can at least store any leftover dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Give it a stir or shake before using, to make sure the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Where The Heck Do I Find Pea Shoots?
Pea shoots can be an ingredient that is hard to track down. If you can’t seem to locate them at your regular grocery store or farmers market, you have a couple of options.
Starting from scratch is one option that you might like to try. You can buy seeds and grow them yourself so you can have them handy year round, if you happen to have a green thumb.
However, if you are anything like me and you tend to kill every plant you touch, there are other options.
Hit up your closest Asian market. Pea shoots are almost always around in the produce section, and they generally come in big sealed bags. Your local farmers market or green grocer might be a good bet as well, when they are in season.
If you can’t locate them, no worries! You can use all arugula in this recipe, or consider other options like frisee for an alternative.
Looking for even more salad ideas to indulge in for lunch this week? Here are some of my personal favorites on Foodal:
- Cherry Chicken Salad with Almonds
- Simple Kale Salad with Garlic, Lemon, and Pecorino
- Refreshing Summer Salad with Chocolate Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Grilled Chicken Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette
Have you had pea shoots in a salad before? Tell us about it in the comments below, and be sure to rate this recipe after you try it.
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on April 16, 2013. Last updated: February 12, 2023 at 9:50 am. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Meghan Yager
Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.