An easy side salad that changes things up a bit with shaved Pecorino Romano, toasted pine nuts, and lemon juice.

Close up on colorful side salad in serving bowl.

Why You’ll Love This Side Salad

Despite it being simple and only incorporating 5 ingredients, this salad offers up a TON of flavor. This is definitely a recipe that showcases how quality ingredients can make all the difference.

Additionally, because we’ve kept things simple here, this salad pairs with just about anything. It’s a great go-to for any meal—whether it be a nice cast iron pizza or a heaping plate of pappardelle pasta.

What to Serve With an Easy Side Salad

Quick Tips

  1. Massage your greens! Because we’re just using lemon juice as a dressing, we like to push it right into those greens as much as possible for all-over flavor. You’ve probably heard of “massaged kale” before, and even though it sounds ridiculous and pretentious, the method serves a purpose. Massaging your greens tenderizes them. Most simply greens don’t need to be tenderized in the way that kale does, but with this salad, really rubbing the lemon juice into the greens promises bright and tangy flavors in every bite.
  2. Shave the cheese. Thinly shaved shards of bold Pecorino Romano or Parmesan make for a delicious mouthful and that’s really all I have to say about that.
  3. Toast your nuts. Sure, you could toss some untoasted nuts over this salad, but toasting the nuts creates a warm rich flavor that can’t miss. So, although this step isn’t necessary, I encourage it.


  • Mixed greens. I like to use a nice artisanal lettuce or arugula
  • Tomatoes. We definitely prefer small tomatoes, like grape or cherry tomatoes.
  • Shaved Pecorino Romano. Or shaved Parmesan.
  • Toasted pine nuts.  Feel free to swap toasted pine nuts for toasted walnuts, almonds, or pecans.
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice. Though sometimes we use Tessamae’s Organic Lemon Garlic Dressing in this one; it’s amazing.

Other additions worth considering:

How to Make This Side Salad With Lemon Juice

  1. Start by toasting the pine nuts. Heat a dry pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, reduce the heat to medium-low.
  2. Add the pine nuts to the pan in a single layer and let them heat up until they are golden in color and aromatic. Shake the pan every once in a while to prevent them from burning. This whole process should take about 5 minutes.
  3. When the nuts are golden in color, remove them from the heat and set them aside.
  4. After washing your greens thoroughly, pat them dry and pop them into a large serving bowl.
  5. Squeeze the fresh lemon juice over the greens and, with your bare hands, gently massage the lemon juice into the leaves to evenly coat them.
  6. Top the greens with tomatoes, toasted pine nuts, and shaved parmesan.
Colorful salad in a serving bowl.

Have You Made This Recipe?

If you enjoyed this recipe, please consider leaving a STAR rating & commenting below with feedback!

You can also show off your creations on Instagram by tagging @killing__thyme

More Delicious Salad Recipes

Colorful salad in a serving bowl.

Easy Side Salad with Lemon Juice

An easy side salad that changes things up a bit with shaved Pecorino Romano, toasted pine nuts, and lemon juice.
No ratings yet
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


  • 5 oz greens (arugula, artisan lettuce, spring mix, etc.), washed and pat dry
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 cups halved grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts You could also use walnuts, almonds, pecans, or hazelnuts.
  • 1/2 cup shaved fresh Pecorino Romano or Parmesan


  • Place the washed greens into a large serving bowl. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the greens and, with bare clean hands, gently rub the lemon juice into the leaves to evenly coat them all.
  • Top the greens with the halved tomatoes, toasted nuts, and shaved cheese. Give the salad a quick toss, and serve.


To toast the pine nuts (or any nuts, for that matter), heat a dry pan over high heat. Once the pan is hot, bring the heat down to medium, and add the nuts to the pan. Toast them until they’re golden in color and aromatic, shaking the pan occasionally to prevent burning, for about 5 minutes.
Tried this Recipe? Tag me Today!Mention @Killing__Thyme or tag #killingthyme!