Put down the iceberg lettuce, and pick up some greens that are packed with nutrients. We’ve covered spinach in great detail, and now it’s time to talk about arugula. You may have already purchased it at the grocery store or eaten it in a salad at a restaurant. Learn more about this nutritious leafy green and how to use it in hot and cold dishes at home.
All About Arugula
If you’ve eaten any sort of spring mix from the supermarket, you’ve likely had arugula before. These leafy greens are part of the Brassica family, like mustard greens, cabbage, and radishes. Arugula has the same characteristic bite as these other vegetables, making it more flavorful than romaine or leaf lettuce. The taste of arugula is frequently described as peppery, and it adds a new flavor dimension when combined with other greens.
Arugula is well-suited to serving in salads with cheeses like feta and gorgonzola, fruits like strawberries and peaches, and vinaigrette dressings. Try arugula when topping sandwiches, in place of leaf lettuce. But it also complements hot foods. Pile it on top of a pizza that’s just out of the oven, along with torn shreds of burrata cheese. Stir it into freshly cooked pasta or soup just prior to serving. Use it in place of basil in homemade pesto. Arugula is even delicious tucked into layers of lasagna. We’ll offer some recipes coming up next, but hopefully these ideas have piqued your interest.
It’s not just the flavor of arugula that makes it worth eating. This leafy green contains loads of nutrients, including Vitamins A, C, and K, along with lutein, which is important for eye health. It’s low in calories too, but it does not provide as much fiber as other greens.
Choose arugula that looks fresh and green, not yellow or wilted. The greens will keep a few days in the refrigerator, but don’t wash them until you are ready to use them. You can grow arugula in the garden or a container, and harvest it as needed.
Arugula Recipes: Balsamic Grilled Steak Salad
We chose this recipe from Delish featuring arugula because it’s practically a meal in itself. It’s also really simple to put together and ideal for spring and summer. Briefly marinate skirt steak (or flank steak would work too) with balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and garlic. Then either fire up your grill or get out a grill pan to cook the steak.
Meanwhile, dice some fresh peaches and toss them with cheese (the recipe calls for blue or feta) and arugula. Slice the steak and add it to the salad. Finally, drizzle with homemade vinaigrette made from fresh lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Arugula Recipes: Mexican Street Corn Salad
This recipe from The View From Great Island is also perfect for spring and summer, and it will give you a chance to use your grill or grill pan to roast the corn on the cob. Mix some Mexican crema with fresh lime juice until it reaches a liquid consistency. Slice the roasted corn kernels off each cob, and spread it over a bed of arugula. Add cotija cheese to the corn, and top with chopped fresh cilantro. Drizzle the crema and lime juice mixture over the top of the salad and serve immediately.
Arugula Recipes: Arugula, Caramelized Onion, and Goat Cheese Pizza
We mentioned earlier how you can pile arugula leaves on top of a freshly-baked pizza before serving. You can also try this recipe from Food Network, which calls for wilting the arugula with caramelized onions on the stovetop. While this recipe uses a tortilla for the pizza crust, we suggest flatbread, naan, or pizza dough rolled thin. Spread the arugula and onions directly on the crust, and then top with goat cheese before baking. You might also make pesto with arugula to use as sauce for this pizza.
Arugula Recipes: Gemelli With Asparagus, Ricotta, Arugula, and Lemon Zest
Finally, we had to include a recipe that incorporates arugula into pasta. This one from Serious Eats includes sauteed fresh asparagus and gemelli pasta cooked al dente. Be sure to save some of the pasta water. Combine the asparagus and pasta, and stir in arugula, ricotta, lemon zest, and Pecorino Romano cheese. Then use the reserved pasta water to help the cheese form a sauce and adhere to the gemelli. The arugula will wilt slightly and soften in flavor. Season with salt and pepper, and top with more Pecorino Romano cheese.