Whole Story

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Give Arugula an A+

By Alana Sugar, June 13, 2010  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Alana Sugar
Remember the old days when salad-style leafy greens meant lettuce and spinach and not much else? Not only were varieties not well known, they were not exactly appreciated either. I recall one episode of “I Love Lucy” in which Lucy and Ethel carpooled to Florida with a woman who they wrongly thought was an ax murderess after hearing a report on the car radio. While on the road, Lucy, who was really hungry, accepted a sandwich of buttered watercress from the presumed murderess. Upon tasting it, she made a disgusting face and declared that she was eating “buttered grass!” Amazing how far we’ve come!  Facing the modern world of mizuna, mache and arugula brings new hope for good health and greater variety in taste and cuisine. Arugula, also known as rocket, is my focus this week. It’s a dark, beautiful leafy green, a member of the mustard family (Brassicaceae) and a relative of the humble watercress that Lucy nearly choked on! Before 1990, arugula was barely cultivated; you’d mostly find it growing in the wild. Now, with its increasing popularity, you can find it in many grocery stores across the country. It’s delicious on sandwiches, in salads and wraps and even good stirred into hot cooked pasta, rice or vegetable dishes. And because it has a sharp bite, it’s a good palate cleanse, making it a nice addition to that occasional rich meal. You can purchase it on its own or as part of a salad mix such as combination packages of mixed baby greens or mesclun mix. Nutritionally speaking, arugula gets an A+ for being low in calories, fat-free and delivering vitamins A, C and folate, as well as calcium, potassium and magnesium. It’s also packed with antioxidants that help protect your cells, heart and immune system. If you’ve never tried arugula, you’re in for a spicy treat! Here are some suggestions to get you started: However you decide to use arugula, if you’re not used to it, it can be quite pungent. Take it slow at first and combine it with other, less strong leafy greens such as butter lettuce and mache or tiny baby spinach. Soon, you’ll be adding it to many of your favorite dishes. Remember when buying arugula, the leaves should be darkish green, dry and firm, not wilted. There should be no spoiling leaves  and the aroma should be fresh and sharp. Do you enjoy arugula? Do you have a favorite way to eat it or recipe you love it in? Let me know!
Category: Healthy Eating




Georgia says ...
I find arugula great as a final addition to thin-crust pizzas. The fresh green is a perfect complement to a simple warm pizza.
06/13/2010 8:40:56 PM CDT
Mo says ...
I'm eating some Whole Foods cannellini beans with some arugula-basil-sundried-tomato pesto right now. Fabulous! :)
06/16/2010 5:04:17 PM CDT
Kas says ...
In addition, my farmer's market has introduced me to "flowering" arugula - which is literally, the arugula plant leaves, plus its flowering stems. Pinch the flavorful flowers off of the stems (stems can be quite bitter), and you've got a lovely topping to salad, and delightful bite of flavor in sandwiches and wraps!
06/16/2010 6:13:27 PM CDT
Betty Bujas says ...
I grow wild arugula every year in my garden. Actually it comes back every year and self seeds as well. I love it in a salad with tomatoes and avocado as well as on sandwiches and cooked. I even cook it with spinach and garlic sometime.
06/16/2010 6:29:05 PM CDT
SMom says ...
Eggwhite omelette with arugula and pecorino romano cheese - so yummy and healthy:)
06/16/2010 7:00:53 PM CDT
Catherine says ...
06/16/2010 8:39:05 PM CDT
paig292 says ...
@Catherine Yikes! Thanks for letting us know about our editing snafu.
06/17/2010 7:16:58 AM CDT
Carol Damm says ...
I lived in Italy (Tuscany) and arugula was my favorite green. One favorite: a salad of arugula, tomatoes and shaved Parmesan cheese, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Favorite pizza at a local trattoria: Pizza Fresca. The crust was bked with just the small amount of tomato sauce. When removed from the oven, chopped arugula, diced parmesan cheese, chopped tomatoes and chopped procutto ham were added & drizzled with olive oil. Both ways of eating arugula were delicious!!
06/17/2010 7:28:50 AM CDT
Arugula says ...
My favorite salad is baby arugala with shaved parmesean, slivered almond and dried organic cranberries. Dressing is a homemade lemon vinagrete. Lemon juice and zest, italian extra virgin olive oil and lemon grass (pureed). Awesome!
06/17/2010 8:26:28 AM CDT
Karen Schaub says ...
I recently made a new recipe (care of June issue of Bon Appetit) for Arugula Fennel salad with Pistachios and Apricots---dressing made with white balsamic and shallots and a small amount of the fennel fronds---it was.. you guessed it...AMAZING!!! Sweet and tart and slightly spicy...have made it twice since I first tried the recipe. Definitely recommend it!
06/17/2010 5:13:05 PM CDT
Cory says ...
Just returned from month in Italy & had Arugula almost every day. This is one of my favorite greens. It has a great taste & consistency. Goes well with tomatoes & cheese. Only need a bit of Balsamic dressing & olive oil for a perfect salad.
06/26/2010 8:57:18 PM CDT