- Veggie Index
- Greens, Chard
- Greens, Collard
- Greens, Kale
- Greens, Mustard
- Onions, Bulbing
- Onion, Bunching
- Peppers, sweet
- Peppers, hot
- Squash, summer
- Squash, winter
- Brussels Sprouts
Eruca sativa (syn. E. vesicaria subsp. sativa (Miller) Thell., Brassica eruca L.), also known as rocket or arugula, is an edible annual plant. It is a species of Eruca native to the Mediterranean region, from Morocco and Portugal east to Lebanon and Turkey. In it’s annual life it can grow to 20–100 centimetres
(8–39 in) in height. The leaves are deeply lobed and resemble dandelion leaves, or elongated oak leaves. The flowers are 2–4 cm (0.8–1.6 in) in diameter, arranged in a corymb with the typical Brassicaceae (Mustards) flower structure; the petals are creamy white with purple veins and quite lovely. The term arugula (variations of Italian dialects) is used by the Italian diaspora in North America and from there picked up as a loan word in American English, particularly in culinary usage. It is another member of the Brassica family, also known as the cruciferous vegetables.
Arugula is frequently cultivated, although domestication cannot be considered complete, except perhaps in your CSA! It has been grown in the Mediterranean area since Roman times, and was considered an aphrodisiac. Before the 1990s it was usually collected in the wild and was not cultivated on a large scale or researched scientifically. It is now cultivated in various places, especially in Veneto, Italy, but is available throughout the world. It is also locally naturalised away from its native range in temperate regions around the world, including northern Europe and North America. In India, the mature seeds are known as Gargeer. On the island of Ischia in the Gulf of Naples, a digestive alcohol called rucolino is made from the plant, a drink often enjoyed in small quantities following a meal. The liquor is a local specialty enjoyed in the same way as a limoncello or grappa and has a sweet peppery taste that washes down easily. In Egypt the plant is commonly eaten with stewed fava beans for breakfast, as well as alone and on pizza. In Italy, ‘rocket’ is often used in pizzas, added just before the baking period ends or immediately afterwards, so that it will not wilt in the heat.
Nutritional Information, Recipe and Cooking Tips
We love growing this wonderful plant. In addition to the leaves, all parts of the plant including the flowers (often used in salads as an edible garnish), young seed pods and mature seeds are all edible. The flowers are truly a botanical delight and the greens add to a boring salad with flare. Arugula is a nutritional powerhouse, containing significant folate (folic acid) and calcium. (The latter is unusual in a salad green. For example, arugula has more than eight times as much of this bone-building mineral as iceberg lettuce). It is also rich in vitamin C and potassium, which makes it an excellent choice in salad recipes. Arugula is another super-food-green!
|Nutrient||Amount||% US RDA|
|Energy||8.368 kJ (2 kcal)||N/A|
|Dietary fiber||5.4 g||15-20%|
|Thiamine (Vit. B1)||0.004 mg||(4%)|
|Riboflavin (Vit. B2)||0.009 mg||(6%)|
|Niacin (Vit. B3)||0.030 mg||(1%)|
|Vitamin B6||.007 mg||(6%)|
|Folate (Vit. B9)||12 mcg DFE||(22%)|
|Vitamin C||1.5 mg||(12%)|
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database
Like many flowering shoots of vegetables plants, arugula flowers’ ephemeral nature means you’ll never see them in the grocery store. However, the blooms are lovely in a vase, or on your salad. The leaf is used by us as a vegetable, which looks like a longer leaved and open lettuce. Some compare the flavor to a mild horseradish and others just call it another mustard green. It has a rich, peppery taste. Most find the flavor a nice, but challenging addition to a raw greens salad recipes as arugula has a strong flavor. It is generally used in salads, but is also cooked as a vegetable or used raw with pasta or meats. As with all the mustard greens, the sharp flavor is dramatically reduced by cooking them.
Asian Vinaigrette Salad w/ Sesame Tuna or Chicken or Tofu
- 1 cup of torn Arugula
- 2 large shredded Carrots
- 1 large Cucumber diced
- 1 cup of torn Lettuce
- 1 julienned Red Pepper
- 4 or so sliced Radish
- 1 cup baby Spinach leaves
- 4 or so chopped Green (Spring) Onions
- 1/2 cup toasted slivered Almonds for the garnish
- Chopped cilantro
- Juice of one lime
- 2 T sesame oil
- 1/2 c canola oil
- 1/2 c rice wine vinegar
- 2 t brown sugar
- 1 T spicy mustard
- 1 T soy sauce
- 2 pinches of garlic powder
- 1 pinch of freshly grated ginger
- salt/pepper to taste
- Mix all ingredients EXCEPT oil, once everything is mixed add one T oil, reserving the other for the Protein (below), and stir vigorously to emulsify, add seasoning to taste, I like to add red pepper flakes for a bit of spice!
- 4 (4-6 oz) chicken breast filets OR
- tuna steaks OR
- firm tofu slabs/chunks
- Sesame Seeds (toasted or black)
- Brush protein with remaining T sesame oil, salt and pepper and roll in sesame seeds. Tofu, you may want to just sprinkle seeds on salad later, up to you.
- Spray a pan with non cook spray and cook on medium heat until desired done-ness.
- Layer the salad vegetables, add the protein and garnish, stir dressing again, pour a couple tablespoons on top and serve.