What is Arugula?
Arugula, also known as, rocket, roquette, rugula or rucola is one of the greens we usually find in a bag of mixed baby lettuces in the organic produce section of your health food market. It looks a little like watercress, but it’s a member of the cruciferous family and is related to broccoli and cauliflower. From its cruciferous family roots, arugula gets its glucosinolates which have antioxidant power, as well as enzymes needed for detoxifying the body naturally. According to health coach Margie King, for greenmedinfo.com this little green has been linked to gastric ulcer relief and animal studies have suggested that arugula seeds may even help in the prevention of inflammatory skin diseases such as psoriasis. Its even been said that arugula seeds have been used since the first century A.D. as an aphrodisiac although there is no “scientific” evidence supporting this interesting claim.
Arugula is high in vitamins A and K, and also folic acid. It is a good source of zinc, potassium, calcium and iron. It is my favorite green and I enjoy it alone or with other mixed salad greens and ingredients, especially avocado. Some folks like to substitute it for basil in pesto sauces and also use it instead of spinach in certain recipes.
I love serving it as a simple salad with baby beets, crumbled organic lavender or honey goat cheese on top with a sprinkle of organic pine nuts or pistachios. You can add organic baby tomatoes and the salad fixings you love. And it’s a great salad plain, just dressed with a drizzle of organic cold pressed/first pressed extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice or white balsamic vinegar and some fresh shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on top, as dressing. I also season it with a sprinkle of Himalayan pink crystal salt, fresh ground pepper and Herbes de Provence.
Another of my favorite ways to use arugula is in my gluten-free Arugula Pizza Salad:
Arugula Pizza Salad
Note: Use organic ingredients when available and have fun with your own pizza salad toppings. These are my favorites and the way I put my pizza salad together:
- 1 gluten-free large ready made or homemade pizza crust
- organic marinara tomato sauce
- grated mozzarella cheese
- sun dried tomatoes
- black olives (pitted and cut in half)
- anchovies (optional)
- grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- dried oregano
1. If you are using a store bought gluten-free pizza crust, heat it at 350 degrees on a cookie sheet until lightly browned (about 10 minutes). Let cool.
2. Brush pizza crust with marinara sauce out to the edges.
3. Sprinkle grated mozzarella cheese to taste on top and then a light sprinkle of oregano to taste.
4. Place pitted black olive halves on top of cheese.
5. Place a few slices of sun dried tomatoes and anchovies strategically, so each slice gets these ingredients. (You can be creative and use the toppings you prefer instead of mine and of course make vegetarian substitutions.)
6. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbling
7. Slide on to serving platter and put a generous amount of arugula on top to create your pizza salad then drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and more Parmigiano.
8. Slice, serve and enjoy!