What Is Arugula? One Of The Best Spring Greens In Season Now

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ArugulaIt’s spring!

Amazing food appears magically from seeds, transplants, and trees. The earth is bringing forth its goodness in amazing ways right now, and my garden cart is overflowing with herbs and baby lettuces, including one of my favorites — arugula.

Peppery, rich arugula, also known as rocket or rucola, has big flavor. It’s a good source of vitamin C and potassium, and even I can grow it. I delight in being able to hop outside to my garden cart to clip a few leaves for a simple salad. It keeps well in the frig, wrapped in a damp paper towel inside an open ziptop bag. I’ve even washed it and stored it ready-to-go in my small salad spinner where it has stayed fresh for over a week, making it pretty dang simple to whip up a nice little side salad.

Here are five of my favorite ways to enjoy this great ingredient — in season now.

  1. Sub it for lettuce on your sandwich or burger. Make a BAT instead of a BLT — you’ll enjoy the difference. Top your burger with it instead of your standard lettuce, and you’ll love how the peppery flavor and crunch cut through the fat.
  2. Scramble it in your eggs. It’s no secret I cherish a good scrambled, poached, or soft-boiled egg. Throwing a few arugula leaves in while you scramble adds both flavor and nutrition. Or make an arugula bed for that perfectly poached egg. Yum.
  3. Make an arugula pesto. Combine arugula, toasted nuts, parmesan cheese, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil in a blender for a non-basil twist to a great pasta sauce. It’s also perfection atop a rustic tomato flatbread. Here’s a pesto recipe to get you started.
  4. Top your pizza with it. Arugula complements a rich tomato sauce fabulously. Throw it on after the pizza is cooked, either naked or dressed with a little vinaigrette. Drizzle with some olive oil, add some parmesan shavings and enjoy. Or try a savory, sweet arugula and pear pie.
  5. Dress it simply for an amazing salad. This is the best way to use those flavorful greens, in my opinion. Toss arugula with some olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt, and pepper. No need to add anything else, although a bit of freshly grated parmesan doesn’t hurt.

I must alert you that arugula has been thought to be an aphrodisiac. The poet, Virgil, wrote “et veneris revocans eruca morantuem,” which translates to “the rocket excites the sexual desire of drowsy people.” Consider yourself warned.

How do you like to prepare and eat arugula? Please share!

Image Credit: woodleywonderworks via flickr/CC

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