Arugula, also known as salad or garden rocket, is a leafy green of Mediterranean origin. Often described as having a spicy or peppery flavor, this cruciferous vegetable is one of the few members of the brassicaceae family that is easily digested in its raw state.
A quick-growing cool season crop, arugula is one of the first vegetables to sprout each spring. And there are many reasons to enjoy this early bloomer!
- Like many leafy greens, arugula is a high-fiber, nutrient-dense food.
- It is an excellent source of B vitamins (especially folate), and antioxidant vitamins A and C, and also contains trace minerals including magnesium, iron, calcium, and copper.
- Arugula is also an excellent source of vitamin K, which helps the body absorb calcium, protects against Alzheimer’s disease, and helps maintain cardiovascular and bone health.
- Like other cruciferous vegetables, arugula is high in cancer-preventing (and cancer-fighting!) phytochemicals. Research suggests that cruciferous vegetables are especially useful for warding off prostate, breast, cervical, colon and ovarian cancers.
- Arugula is high in chlorophyll, a substance that may help protect against liver and DNA damage related to aflatoxin exposure (e.g. from moldy grains and legumes).
Eat More Arugula!
In addition to its amazing nutritional profile, arugula is also delicious! With its fresh, spicy flavor, arugula is an excellent addition to salads, as a pizza topping, on sandwiches, in pesto and other sauces, and cooked in main dishes. Check out the recipes below for arugula inspiration, and look for more great recipes to be posted throughout the growing season!
- Arugula Fennel Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing
- Try arugula in any recipe calling for mixed/baby greens, like this awesome Gingery Maple Glazed Tempeh on Baby Greens Salad or Simple Summer Tofu Salad with Sweet Balsamic Dressing.
- Check out our Super Salad Guide for more ways to use arugula and other greens!
Did you know: Ancient Romans and Egyptians considered arugula an aphrodisiac. We certainly love this green for its spicy flavor and amazing health benefits!
Got a great arugula recipe? Share it with us!
Image Credit: ghirson/Flickr