Arugula is known as a salad green, but did you know it’s actually a cruciferous vegetable?
It is known for its spicy, peppery flavor that adds a twist to any dish.
What should you know about her? You will find out in the article!
Arugula, a cruciferous vegetable excellent for salads
Arugula, also known as Eruca vesicaria, is a cruciferous vegetable, related to broccoli, cabbage and cabbage. It comes from the Mediterranean, which explains why it has long been a staple of Italian and Greek cuisine. It was first used as a medicinal herb and aphrodisiac.
The leaves have a peppery, spicy taste. They are deep green with deep notches up and down both sides. You can eat arugula seeds whole or pressed in oil.
Arugula is often eaten raw as part of a salad, but it can also be enjoyed cooked in a variety of dishes.
Why eat arugula?
Arugula is full of antioxidants, compounds that can protect your cells from damage.
It also contains glucosinolates. These natural substances give arugula its bitter taste and strong aroma. They may protect you from some cancers, including breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancer.
Thanks to vitamin K, it fights against inflammation or osteoporosis. But if you are taking blood thinners, too much of this vitamin could cancel out their effects.
A 2015 study found that sulforaphane, a substance found in large amounts in arugula, can inhibit enzymes involved in cancer.
These vegetables are rich in fiber, which helps regulate glucose levels and may reduce insulin resistance.
As already mentioned, arugula is an excellent source of vitamin K, fiber and calcium. You can see other values in the following table:
|Nutritional values||Raw arugula 100 g|
|Vitamin B3||0.305 mg|
|Vitamin B5||0.437 mg|
|Vitamin C||15 mg|
|Vitamin K||108.6 mcg|
Types of arugula
Even arugula has a number of varieties. We will imagine the most commonly grown and consumed ones.
Fast-maturing, Astro is one of the most productive heat-tolerant varieties you can grow, despite looking like regular salad arugula.
The Astro variety can be harvested as baby rocket in as little as 21 days, but the large lobed leaves can take 30 to 40 days to harvest.
It has a milder flavor than other arugula varieties, but like all arugula it gets spicier as it warms. It has good heat resistance and thrives even at low temperatures.
Latin Eruca sativa. Garden rocket is an annual plant that is grown for its peppery leaves. The leaves are usually large and lobed.
The flavor can be mild to very spicy, but is generally milder than wild arugula varieties. The flowers of this variety are white and edible.
Wild arugula, Diplotaxis tenuifolia in Latin, is a perennial plant that has been bred to have the same peppery flavor as garden arugula, but is usually spicier.
This variety tolerates heat very well. It has smaller serrated or oak-shaped leaves and yellow flowers that are also edible.
This type is just arugula leaves that are harvested while they are still small and tender. They have a milder flavor and don’t have the power of full size arugula leaves.
If you have trouble with the strong taste of arugula, you may enjoy this variety more.
How are arugula and spinach different?
Thanks to its fresh, peppery taste, arugula is a popular addition to salad mixes. The leaves are tender with a crunchy stem, similar to raw spinach. Cooked arugula also resembles the soft texture of cooked spinach.
Although often used interchangeably, arugula and spinach are quite different in almost every way. Spinach belongs to the amaranth family, which also includes beetroot and quinoa. It generally has a very mild flavor with a slight sweetness depending on how it is cooked – a sharp contrast to the fiery bite of arugula.
When it comes to nutrition, arugula doesn’t match the rich nutritional profile of spinach, which contains nearly 12 times more vitamin A, six times more vitamin C and 13 times more vitamin K than arugula, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
Even so, it is beneficial for health and should appear in your diet.
If you decide to grow arugula, the planting site should be sunny with well-drained soil.
The seeds should be planted about 1 cm deep and 2.5 cm apart in rows that are about 30 cm apart.
Like many other vegetables, arugula needs regular watering for healthy growth and optimal flavor. It has a shallow root system. Keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy.
It is generally ready for harvest about 40 days after sowing. So if you time it right, you can have two seasons of arugula. One in the spring to the beginning of summer and the other at the end of summer at the turn of autumn.
As with any crop, storage is important for arugula. It can last up to five days in an unopened bag. After opening, use within a few days. Cooked, it can last up to three days in the refrigerator. Freezing arugula is not recommended.
Arugula can be mixed into salads containing tender lettuce for added flavor and texture. A sour dressing using vinegar or citrus nicely balances the flavor of the pepper. You can also use it to:
- pizza (read and get inspired by recipes for the best homemade pizzas )
- baked potatoes
- in pasta
- in salads
- in soups and sauces
- in sandwiches
- into smoothies
Pesto with arugula
This pesto is unique because of the arugula that gives it a peppery kick. Use it as a spread or on pasta. You will need for it:
- 350 g arugula
- 350 g of basil
- 170 g of pine nuts
- 8 cloves of garlic
- 190 ml extra virgin olive oil
- ½ juiced lime
- 1 teaspoon of wine vinegar
- a pinch of ground cumin
- a pinch of ground cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place arugula, basil, pine nuts and garlic in a food processor.
- Chop the ingredients to a coarse paste.
- Add olive oil, lime juice, vinegar, cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper.
- Blend until you have a smooth paste.
- Enjoy your meal!
Arugula seeds – used for planting arugula.
Arugula oil – pressed seeds, ideal for flavoring salads.
If you want to include more vitamin K, calcium or fiber in your diet, arugula should definitely not be missing! In addition, it will give your dishes a twist.