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Tips for using arugula in cooking

Since starting to grow more produce in my three tower gardens I’ve found some tips for using arugula in cooking. I’m also learning more about vegetable greens and the huge benefits for health. People are talking about some greens as being “super food” and it’s no wonder.TGarugula

I was surprised to learn that arugula is a member of the cabbage family. It has a really bold, earthy flavor and in many areas of Europe, it’s harvested in the wild during the spring months. The wild varieties are claimed to have more intense flavor and more phytonutrients than the type we find in the supermarkets but even the store-bought varieties are very high in nutrients. The common name for arugula is rocket and it looks very much like dandelion greens. The shelf life is short so find the bunches that look greener, have little or no yellow leaves and when you get it home, store carefully in your crisper drawer and use quickly (within a few days).

If you are growing arugula, be aware that it is best when the leaves are small as the flavor intensifies as the leaves get larger. The plant also bolts more quickly than some of the other greens so keep planting frequently if you want a continuous supply.

Arugula can punch up flavors in a salad — probably the most common use — but it can also be eaten cooked. It contains vitamins A and K and also has strong anticancer properties.

Purchased arugula should be washed thoroughly preferably in a large bowl and rinsed a few times. Remove any yellow leaves and always cut away the stems.

Here are a few ideas for using cooked arugula.

Steam— If you want to combine it with other veggies or greens, it might be better to steam by itself as it cooks much more quickly than most other greens. After removing the stems, add to a pot with a small amount of water (enough to cover) and bring to boil. Remove from heat and take it out as soon as it has wilted.

arugula with sauteed shrimp

Arugula with sauteed shrimp.

Sauté— Heat your favorite cooking oil and spread arugula in pan. Add your favorite seasonings and stir frequently. Remove from pan when just beginning to wilt. One of my favorite ways to use any greens is to start with sautéed garlic and onions. When the garlic and onions are cooked to your liking, add the arugula and continue stirring just until wilted adding any additional seasonings as you sauté.

Spaghetti— If you enjoy your greens undercooked, you can just add the cleaned arugula to the warm spaghetti before serving. Toss it with your favorite cheese and oil — the arugula will “cook” in the hot pasta. If your family likes softer texture you can steam or sauté a bit before adding to the pasta.

Soups— Arugula is a power green to add to any of your favorite soups or stews. Since it cooks quickly, add to soups just before serving with the addition of any fresh herbs and cook very briefly.

arugula soup with chicken and limes

Arugula soup with chicken and limes.

If you are interested in saving money on produce and creating a sustainable garden, and giving your family the cleanest, best tasting produce, consider growing tower garden veggies. Because there is no soil and no digging, no weeding and no bending, growing is now easier that it ever was in a traditional dirt garden. Check the links below and email your questions.

 

submitted by Gwen O’Neill

Gwen O’Neill has been a gardener for over 40 years and has always been a passionate cook. Her own health challenges led her to experiencing a variety of healing modalities. After finding that her health improved with eating more whole food and improving her nutrition, she committed to sharing this experience with others. 

GwensHealthyLife.com

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info@gwenoneill.com

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