Arugula is one of the first crops we harvest in the spring. It’s quick germination makes it suitable for plantings throughout the growing season. It’s one of the last greens cut in the fall. In milder climates, it will overwinter.
This garden versatility is matched in the kitchen. In the spring, tender young arugula greens with their hint of spiciness, make a perfect pair with another early crop: radishes. In the fall, it’s great in stir fries, can take the place of spinach in lasagna and casseroles, or can be braised briefly with other late greens and served with its pot liquor.
Also known as rucola, roquette and rocket, arugula has been a staple on dinner tables along the Mediterranean and north into Europe for centuries.
Arugula’s nutritional benefits makes it worth serving often. It’s a good source of vitamin A, C and K as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and manganese. It’s rich in the phytochemicals that are believed to prevent estrogen-linked and other cancers. An ounce even contains a gram of protein, a small but important contribution to a vegan diet. The ancient Romans believed arugula to be an aphrodisiac.
Known also as rocket, roquette, rugula and rucola, arugula is easy to grow.View all
Planet Natural offers heirloom arugula seeds that are non-treated, non-GMO and NOT purchased from Monsanto-owned Seminis. Planting instructions are included with each packet and shipping is FREE! Need growing advice? Visit our vegetable guides for tips and information on specific types.
Arugula is a standout for its distinctive sharpness and delicate form. It makes a great substitute for other greens, adding flavor and a bit of bite to recipes calling for spinach. It’s a great replacement for basil in pesto (see recipe below). It even makes a good topping for pizza.
It best used as a salad green when young. Use larger, mature leaves sparingly in mixed salads to add a hint of pepperiness. Stems on older leaves may be stringy. Pinch or cut them off (they’re good in stir-fry).
Before use, wash arugula as you would any green. A salad spinner makes removing moisture easy.
Arugula’s pronounced flavor is a great addition to stir fries. Counter it with tofu or seared beef. It takes well to dishes heavy in garlic, root vegetables, and curry spices. Cook it quickly, just to wilt. Arugula should be the last thing added to your wok or stir-fry pan before serving. Other ingredients to include with arugula: nuts, especially walnuts; sharp cheeses (Romano, Parmesan), dried fruits, baked yams.
Arugula has a love hate relationship with tomatoes. It’s not so good with tomato-based sauces, but does welcome small amounts of chopped tomato in a quick sauté. Arugula atop a round of mozzarella and a thick, raw slice of heirloom or beefsteak tomato, does Caprese salad one better, providing a wonderful sharp, contrast to the tomato’s acid and the cheese’s creaminess. Call it rocket Caprese.
Spring Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette
- 3 radishes, sliced very thin
- 6 – 8 ounces arugula
- shaved parmesan
- 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup or more to taste grape seed oil
Combine first five ingredients then drizzle in oil, whisking constantly.
All In Arugula Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette
- 6-8 ounces arugula
- 1/2 red onion, chopped or slivered
- 1/2 cup fresh green beans, steamed until tender
- 1/2 cup diced heirloom fingerling potatoes, steamed until tender
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup crumbled bacon
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, quartered or chopped
Toss first six ingredients together in a salad bowl. Top with egg and dress with vinaigrette dressing (recipe below).
- small minced shallot
- 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, more or less, to taste
- 1/4 cup minced walnuts
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup walnut oil
- 1/4 cup grapeseed, sunflower, or extra virgin olive oil oil
Polenta with Arugula and Goat Cheese
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 finely chopped scallion
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 cup dried cornmeal polenta or grits
- 1/2 cup chevre (goat cheese)
- 1/2 cup chopped arugula
- fresh-ground black pepper to taste
- Grated Pecorino Romano
Melt butter in a large saucepan and saute the scallions until soft. Add the broth (water works, too) and bring to a boil. Slowly stir in the polenta, whisking constantly, and continue cooking at a simmer, until mixture thickens and polenta is tender, approximately five to eight minutes. Stir in goat cheese and allow to turn creamy. Stir in arugula and allow to cook for one or two minutes. Add black pepper before serving. Serve with grated Romano cheese.
- 5 cups chopped and cleaned arugula
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup pine nuts or walnut pieces
- 1 cup or more extra virgin olive oil
- lemon juice
Place all ingredients but nuts and oil in a blender or food processor. With the machine running, slowly add the oil until desired consistency is reached, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl, with the machine turned off, as you go. Use as much oil as needed to blend ingredients. Remove from mixing bowl, add lemon juice and top the pesto with remaining oil just to cover and nuts.
Variation: Add chile flakes, Tabasco, or other hot sauce to add kick.
Vegetarian Tofu-Arugula Lasagna
- 8 ounces tofu
- 2 cups ricotta
- pinch nutmeg (optional)
- 6 ounces arugula, cleaned, patted dry with paper towels, and chopped
- 1 lb. oven-ready lasagne noodles, or 1 lb lasagna noodles (whole-wheat are good) boiled until tender but not completely cooked
- 6 cups vegetarian marinara sauce or 2 32-ounce cans of crushed organic tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup Parmesan for topping
Combine tofu and ricotta in a bowl or food processor and blend until smooth. If using crushed or whole tomatoes, buzz in blender with Italian herb seasoning until they reach marinara consistency (chunky). Oil a 13 x 9 inch baking pan and spread a thin layer of sauce across the bottom of the pan. Layer lasagne noodles, slightly overlapping, across the bottom. Top with half the ricotta-tofu mixture and a layer of the chopped arugula and sprinkle with mozzarella. Add another layer of noodles and cover with a third of the remaining sauce. Repeat another layer of ricotta-tofu, arugula, and mozzarella, then top with noodles. Spread remaining sauce over the top of noodles and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake until sauce is bubbly and cheese golden, about 45 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes out of the oven before serving.
Sloppy Joe Green
- 1 & 1/2 lbs ground chuck or sirloin
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive or other vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon round red chile powder
- 1/2 cup catsup
- 2 tablespoons sweet & hot mustard
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup beer (water can substitute)
- 6-8 ounces chopped arugula
- salt and black pepper to taste
- Saute onion in oil until soft but not brown. Remove from pan and set aside on a plate. Brown meat in same pan at higher temperature, breaking up any lumps and sprinkling with chile powder as it cooks (about four minutes). Add onion back to pan along with the catsup, mustard, molasses, Worcestershire, and liquid. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes or so until sauce thickens slightly. Stir in arugula and continue cooking until wilted. Serve on whole wheat hamburger buns.
Variation: Joe Green Chili with Beans: Saute a chopped green pepper with the onion. Then add a 15-ounce can of pinto or kidney beans to the meat when adding sauce ingredients. This stove-top mix is so hearty it doesn’t even need the bun. Leave the meat out entirely, using just beans, for a vegetarian option.