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What Is Arugula? Usage, Benefits, Comparison, and More!

Last Updated on September 30, 2023

What is Arugula, have you heard of them? Are you tired of the same old lettuce in your salads?

Arugula has grown and been used as an ancient herbal remedy and aphrodisiac. The leafy green is currently prominent in Italian cuisine and is farmed and consumed worldwide.

what is arugula good for

The leaves are bright green in tone, with deep grooves on each side. Some leaves feature full, spherical ends, while others are pointer.

Arugula is often eaten raw and fresh as a salad green but can also be cooked in several ways.

It’s a leafy green with a peppery flavor that might kick your dishes significantly. We will guide you to arugula, a Mediterranean-origin vegetable with various health advantages.

Are you ready to enhance your greens?

What is Arugula?

what are rocket leaves

Arugula, a popular salad green, is a member of the brassica family, which also contains cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, and cabbage and mustard green family.

It is Mediterranean in origin, also known as rucola, rocket, or roquette.

This leaf veggie has long been a part of Greek and Italian cooking. While it is open all year, spring and fall are when it is greatest.

Arugula, which has dark green leaves and high nutritional content, can also be found in many other varieties.

You can also find Arugula in a variety of flavors.  The Italian or cultivated Arugula, like wild Arugula, has longer leaves and a milder taste. Baby arugula is gathered when the leaves are shorter and tender for a delicate flavor.

Some leaf notches are pointy, while others are circular. It is usually served raw in salads but may also be cooked.

It is available in bunches or loose, similar to spinach. Regardless of the kind, Arugula provides flavor and vitality to salads and other dishes such as sandwiches and burgers.

What is Baby Arugula?

what to do with arugula

Baby arugula is simply arugula leaves harvested while still tiny and soft; they have a milder taste and don’t carry nearly the kick of full-sized leaves; if you struggle with its robust flavor, you may prefer baby arugula.

What Does Arugula Taste Like?

Arugula is bright green and spicy and peppery with sting and nutty flavors. This vivid green adds freshness to any dish. 

It can also be used for making sauces, pesto, and pizza toppings. Its brassica family, which includes mustard relatives, makes it a great lettuce alternative.

These greens are great for bright green lettuce with Mediterranean roots! Don’t underestimate this dark green leafy vegetable’s great flavor and health benefits.

Arugula Nutrition Content and Health Benefits

Arugula is tasty and nutritious. This low-carb, low-calorie leafy green is great for weight control and a healthy diet.

It is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, which are essential for the skin, immune system, and bones. It provides folate for cell development and growth.

Minerals are needed for bones, electrolyte balance, and red blood cells. Arugula’s low-calorie count and high fiber content can help reduce weight by promoting feelings of fullness without adding calories.

Arugula has antioxidants like vitamin C and beta-carotene, linked to lower risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease and certain cancers. 

It is rich in vitamins and minerals that boost metabolism and can help with weight loss. Including it in meals is a great option for weight loss or maintenance.

(Source: Health.com)

Ways to Use Arugula 

To use arugula, rinse and dry the leaves thoroughly to remove dirt and sand. You can add it to your food for a peppery kick or use it in sauces and pesto for added flavor.

Use this versatile leaf vegetable creatively by substituting it for lettuce in sandwiches or wraps or by adding it to pasta or stir-fries. These leaf vegetables offer endless possibilities!

Preparing for Your Arugula Recipes

what can you do with arugula

Arugula should be rinsed under cold water to remove dirt and sand. Use a salad spinner or a clean towel to dry the leaves. After drying, you may leave it whole or slice it, depending on your need.

This versatile leaf vegetable can be used in many cuisines. It adds a spicy flavor to mixed greens like spinach and lettuce. 

Its peppery flavor pairs well with a range of tastes, such as the sweetness of figs and the sharpness of goat cheese. It adds a spicy bite to pizzas, making it a delicious topping for your creations.

  • For Salads

Arugula is a tasty salad leaf. Its peppery, spicy, and nuttiness appeal to salad lovers. It gives salads a unique taste and nutrients. Vitamins A, C, K, folate, and calcium boost immunity and bone health.

Acidic vinegar or tart citrus dressing balances the peppery flavor. Arugula leaves provide taste and many nutrients to your salad the next time you make it.

  • For Sauces & Pesto

Arugula, garlic, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and pine nuts make a vibrant pesto that goes well with pasta or sandwiches. It can also be sautéed with garlic and butter for a fast and flavorful flavor when added to soups, fish, or chicken meals.

  • For Pizza Toppings

Adding arugula to pizza is fantastic. Peppery and spicy tastes refresh cheese, sauce, and bread well. It provides pizza with a unique flavor and nutrients. Add some bright green arugula to your pizza night for a new twist!

How to Store Arugula

To properly store your arugula, you must wrap it with paper towels and store it in a plastic bag in the crisper of your fridge.

The greens stay fresh for two days. Do not wash until ready to use. Unopened bags last up to five days. Use them within a few days after opening. Cooked arugula can be refrigerated for up to three days.

  • Refrigeration

One of the keys to preserving this lush green is refrigeration. Give the leaves a good washing in cold water after purchasing or harvesting, and remove any damaged leaves.

Before putting the leaves in a plastic bag or airtight container using paper towels, gently wipe them dry.

For optimal freshness, seal and keep in the refrigerator’s vegetable drawer. Refrigerate it for five days to appreciate its flavor and crisp texture.

  • Freezing

Freezing arugula works well to lengthen its shelf life. Washing and drying arugula leaves before freezing is crucial. Blanch dried leaves briefly in hot water before freezing.

Arugula’s color and flavor are preserved through blanching. After blanching, quickly cool the leaves in an ice bath and pat them dry. 

Put the arugula in airtight freezer bags or containers, press off excess air, and close. Freeze the bags with dates for six months.

  • Drying

Another preservation technique is drying. Dry it to enjoy its rich green even out of season. First, gently wash and dry the leaves with a clean towel.

After drying, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet or dehydrator tray. Leaves should be baked or dehydrated at the lowest setting until crispy and brittle.

Sprinkle dried arugula over roasted vegetables, soups, stews, and pasta to add taste. After drying, it retains its peppery taste, making it flexible and available year-round.

Arugula Vs. Lettuce and Spinach

Vitamin A is abundant in lettuce and arugula, although lettuce contains three times more. Arugula has 2.5 times more Folate.

It contains more minerals than lettuce. Four times the calcium and three times the magnesium.

However, arugula and spinach are commonly compared. The best choice for a mellow and diverse flavor is spinach.

Salads, smoothies, cooked pasta, soups, and casseroles match nicely with them. Arugula’s peppery taste adds dimension to recipes.

How and When to Harvest Arugula?

Arugula may be grazed, sliced, or pulled. A few leaves are clipped while the rest grow during grazing.

Since the leaves are a few inches long, you may start immediately. You may slice 1/3 of the plant using shears afterward.

The plants regrow like grazing. Removal of the whole plant is the last option.

This should be done near the end of the season, when the plant lengthens and blossoms. Reduce wilting by picking in the shade or no sun.

Final Thoughts

Finally, arugula is a leafy green with a peppery, somewhat spicy bite and nutty overtones. It’s often used in salads, sauces, pesto, and even as a topping.

Because of its excellent nutritional content, this Mediterranean-originated vegetable enhances your recipes’ taste and delivers several health advantages.

If you’re seeking a lettuce substitute or want to add extra greens to your diet, arugula is certainly worth trying!

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FAQs

1. WHAT IS ARUGULA?

Commonly known as rocket or rucola, is a peppery and somewhat bitter leafy green vegetable. It is a member of the Brassicaceae family and is frequently used in Mediterranean cuisine.

2. HOW CAN I USE ARUGULA IN MY COOKING?

Salads, sandwiches, pasta dishes, and roasted veggies may all benefit from arugula. Its distinct taste provides freshness and richness to a variety of cuisines. 

3. IS ARUGULA NUTRITIOUS?

Yes, it is packed with nutrients. It is low in calories but high in antioxidants, vitamins A and K, folate, calcium, magnesium, and calcium. Including it in your diet may bring several health advantages.

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