Yesterday I shared a fab recipe using arugula and talked about visiting the farmer’s market. Since we are on the subject of arugula and since arugula is a popular produce item found at many spring farmer’s markets and the grocery store, I thought I would give you to run down on arugula.
Today, I am sharing an article I wrote for meal planning/recipe site Food on the Table, all about arugula. Be sure to read all the way down because at the bottom of the article I share several recipes using arugula from around the web! Enjoy!
Spring has certainly sprung for most of the country and with the warmer temperatures, flower blossoms, and spring showers also comes fresh spring produce. Arugula is fresh and in season in the cooler, yet slightly warmer months of early Spring and Fall.
Arugula’s vernacular name is garden rocket, and is also known as roquette, rugula, and Italian cress. It is a leafy green that is a member of the cabbage family. Arugula is native to the Mediterranean region and is often found in Italian cuisine.
Arugula is nutrient rich and extremely low in calories, making it an important super food. Arugula is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K, folate, calcium, beta-carotene, lutein, magnesium and manganese. Studies have shown that a diet rich in these vitamins can promote healthy eyes, stronger bones and a stronger immune system.
Arugula is typically sold loose in bins or in bunches with the roots still attached. When purchasing arugula at the grocery store or farmer’s market, look for arugula with bright, fresh green leaves; avoiding leaves with holes, tears, or yellowed edges. Larger leaves will have a stronger flavor than smaller ones.
To store, arugula should be wrapped tightly in plastic and be kept in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator. If properly stored, arugula will keep for 3-4 days. Once ready to eat, rinse the arugula leaves thoroughly in cool water, as the leaves tend to be gritty, and dry on a paper towel.
Arugula is a versatile ingredient in the kitchen. It is considered a salad green, leaf vegetable, and annual herb. Arugula has a spicy, peppery, mustard flavor that can sometimes be bitter if not in season. Arugula is a flavorful addition to salads, adds freshness to soups, a finishing touch to pizza, or can be substituted for basil to create a spicier pesto. If arugula is not available, watercress can be substituted for a similar peppery flavor. Spinach can also be used to lend similar texture and nutrients but will lack the distinct robust flavor of arugula.
Arugula makes a wonderful addition many dishes. Below are a few awesome arugula recipes from the web, but what is your favorite way to use arugula?
Penne with Chicken Sausage and Arugula (Kitchen Concoctions)
Fontina Grilled Cheese with Arugula & Truffle Oil (The Novice Chef)
Arugula Pesto and White Cheddar Mac and Cheese (How Sweet It Is)
Watermelon Arugula and Feta Salad (Skinny Taste)
Arugula Chickpea Salad with Feta and Balsamic-Tahini Vinaigrette (Kalyn’s Kitchen)
Arugula Parmesan Prosciutto Pizza (Simply Life)
Arugula and Orzo Salad (A Fit and Spicy Life)
*photo credit: Suat Eman, via freedigitalphotos.net