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Arugula

Wild Arugula, Upper Left Corner

Some Herbs behave and have benign reputations.  Others like Arugula, are said to be  pushy, narcissistic  snobs.  Pushy, yes, if you don’t like bold peppery flavor, don’t try Arugula on your sandwich or in your salad. There’s a reason Arugula is also known as Rocket or Roquette!  And Arugula likes itself enough to fling its seeds all over the garden so maybe it is narcissistic.  Like much in life, though, the snob label isn’t fair. Arugula is pricey at approximately $6 a pound in the grocery store and it is true that it’s peppery leaves are appreciated by the white wine crowd, but any gardener can  plant arugula easily in a sunny spot and enjoy it in all the recipes we are going to provide. 

Transplants can be bought now and planted in your Dallas area gardens.Wait a few weeks to plant by seed.  I asked some of my favorite Dallas County Master Gardeners about Arugula and here is what they said. Ann

 Arugula

It’s pronounced ah-ROO-guh-lah!

SALADS

mmmm I like it so much I have trouble getting it to the kitchen uneaten.  With pears, I’d say Bosc pears and pear flavored white balsamic vinegar for dressing. Deirdre

We enjoyed an Arugula-Pear-Blue Cheese Salad as part of Christmas dinner.  Place arugula in a large serving bowl.  Top with Bartlett pears, cut in six wedges, crumbles of a good blue cheese, and toasted pecans or walnuts. Drizzle with a vinaigrette made with olive oil, Champagne vinegar, a shallot, and Dijon mustard. Elizabeth  

Here is an Arugula Salad that I have been making for many years.  Makes a fresh and flavorful addition to almost any meal. 

Arugula, Tomato and Avocado Salad 

8 cups loosely packed arugula, torn into bite-size pieces

16 ounces plum tomatoes, chopped

4 stalks canned hearts of palm, sliced

2 avocados, peeled, pitted and chopped

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 (12-ounce) wedge Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted 

Combine the arugula, tomatoes, hearts of palm and avocados in a large bowl.  Whisk the olive oil and lemon juice in a small bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add to the salad and toss to coat.  Shave strips of the Parmesan cheese over the salad using a vegetable peeler.  Sprinkle with the pine nuts.  

Yield: 4 servings, or more  Linda 

Wild Arugula Left, Regular Arugula Right

SANDWICHES

Arugula is something everyone should grow. There are two kinds: the regular that goes in the cool times and the rustic or wild arugula that loves the heat.  Both are aggressive in self seeding so people need to be aware, but well worth it.  Using it in sandwiches alone is worth growing–no need to have the most expensive mustard anymore–arugula has a complex mustardy nutty taste that elevates a sandwich. The cool season, regular arugula has such lovely flowers–completely edible and bees love them too.  I was just outside and my arugula is starting to bloom and it was covered in honey bees. Susan 

Prosciutto Wrapped Greens: Whisk 3 Tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard in a bowl and season with salt and pepper, add 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and toss with arugula to coat the greens lightly. Squeeze the greens together. Cover with thin slices of prosciutto and roll into a log.  Cut the log into 2 inch pieces on the diagonal. Delish! Martha 

PESTO

Arugula pesto is a tangy twist. Make it just as you would a regular basil pesto.  You can substitute toasted walnuts or pecans for the pine nuts. Annette 

ANYTHING

I mostly eat it raw in salads, but when I have an abundance I do it much like Kale or Swiss Chard and put it literally in most anything: a stir fry, stuffed peppers, in any sauce, in soups. We LOVE arugula, especially the heirloom kind that reseeds itself. Steve 

My sentiments on arugula echo those you already have—I love it, too (but my husband doesn’t, so I have to sneak a bit into milder salad greens.)  From a gardening standpoint, it’s one of the easiest greens to grow—I think its germination rate must be 110%, so it’s great for gardeners without much experience growing plants from seed.  The younger tender leaves have the best flavor for fresh use.  As the plant begins to bloom, the larger leaves can be tough.  However, the edible flowers are delightful in salads, dips, and spread or sprinkled on creamy soups.  And toss a handful of leaves into Tuscan bean soup—divine!  Ditto the pear salad idea.  We’re having a family celebration tonight with a composed salad starter of roasted pears with blue cheese, walnuts, and craisins on a bed of arugula with a light lemon scented vinaigrette.  Marian 

I have used Arugula and cooked with it instead of spinach!  It worked fine and had a good taste.  We just have to be creative! Andria 

NUTRITION

I don’t usually grow arugula because it’s high in vitamin K and I cannot eat it.  I have grown it for my daughter; she loves it juiced and raw in salads. Paula 

Arugula is a popular aromatic green with a mild nutty flavor and slight peppery bite. It is delicious in salads and may also be used in soups, pasta and vegetarian dishes.
Wild Arugula, also known as Rocket, is more peppery and adds a nice spicy flavor to salads. Wild arugula leaves are more serrated and peppery than regular arugula.
Arugula has more vitamin C, calcium and beta carotene than most other salad greens. foodreference.com

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2 responses »

  1. I love arugula too and eat it and kale all the time! That salad sounds incredibly delicious too!

    Reply
  2. I love arugula in salads but haven’t tried it cooked or blended. Thank you for the many recipes. I look forward to trying them this week! I have plenty of arugula in my garden!
    Jane

    Reply

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