Arugula Health Benefits, Plus 8 Mouthwatering Arugula Recipes

If you find leafy greens to be bland and boring, you’ve clearly never tried arugula. This peppery member of the Brassica vegetable family has a truly distinctive and delightful flavor. Learn all about exciting arugula health benefits, as well as how to incorporate these gorgeous greens into salads, pastas, pizzas, and even cocktails!

What Is Arugula?

Arugula, also known as rucola, rocket, and Italian cress, originated in the Mediterranean region. It belongs to the Brassica, or cruciferous family of vegetables along with cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale. Greens sold as baby arugula are, as the name indicates, picked early in the growth cycle and have a more mild flavor than mature arugula leaves do.

You can find arugula for sale at farmers markets across the country, as well as at most grocery stores. It’s also quite easy to grow arugula in your home garden or in a window box.

It’s important to note that all arugula is not alike. The varieties sold in grocery stores are likely to have a less potent flavor. There’s also wild arugula (Diplotaxis muralis), which is a different species than cultivated arugula (Eruca sativa). Wild arugula has an even more peppery flavor and is less likely to become bitter as it matures.

Learn About Arugula Health Benefits

The increased popularity of this aromatic in recent years definitely seems to have something to do with arugula’s health benefits. Like all members of the Brassica family, arugula contains glucosinolates that can reduce your risk of developing several types of cancer. In fact, the American Institute for Cancer Research and the National Cancer Institute list arugula as an anti-cancer vegetable.

Arugula also provides a concentrated dose of another kind of phytonutrient known to fight cancer: isothiocyanates. The main isocyanate in arugula, erucin, has been shown to inhibit the proliferation of tumor cells.

By adding arugula to your diet, you’ll also increase your intake of chlorophyll, which helps to protect you against liver and DNA damage caused by aflatoxins, as well as vitamin K, calcium, indole-3-carbinol, and other valuable phytochemicals, antioxidants, and nutrients.

6 Essential Nutrients Found in Arugula

Nutrient-dense arugula is high in fiber and low in carbohydrates, sugar, fat, and overall calories.

Turn Up the Volume with These 8 Amazing Arugula Recipes

Whether you’ve never tried arugula before or you’re looking for new ways to experiment with this spicy and delicious salad green, you’re sure to find an arugula recipe or two on this list that pleases your palate.

8 Mouthwatering and Unexpected Arugula Recipes

1. Grilled Broccoli and Arugula Salad

This arugula salad makes a perfectly unexpected side dish to serve at a dinner party. The vibrant mix of flavors will have party guests coming back for seconds. And, added bonus, you can prep it in advance!

Get the recipe here.

2. Not-So-Basic Avocado Toast with Arugula and Balsamic Syrup

This beautifully balanced avocado toast recipe comes from Annie Chesson of The Garlic Diaries. The combination of fresh, peppery arugula and Chesson’s incredibly simple and incredibly tasty balsamic syrup would be incredible on its own, but she ups the ante with creamy, garlicky avocado, juicy tomatoes, and crisp toast.

Get the recipe here.

3. Simple, 3-Step Arugula Pesto

If you haven’t tried arugula pesto, you’re seriously missing out. This recipe is insanely easy to make and tastes so good, you may find yourself eating it by the spoonful. Consider yourself warned.

Get the recipe here.

4. Linguini with Arugula, Garlic, and Parmesan

You can turn up the volume on the flavor of just about any pasta dish by adding arugula. For example: use it to kick a simple weeknight recipe, like this linguini, up a notch. This is a recipe you’ll find yourself coming back to time and again.

Get the recipe here.

5. Baked Frittata with Roasted Red Peppers and Baby Arugula

This frittata fits perfectly into the brunch Venn diagram of healthy, impressive-looking, and easy to make. Oh, and it is, of course, totally delicious!

Get the recipe here.

6. Sundried Tomato and Arugula Pizza

Arugula adds a welcome burst of pepper to this ultra-crispy pizza recipe. It pairs perfectly with rosé, in case you were looking for a reason to buy a bottle.

Get the recipe here.

7. Arugula and Zucchini Vichyssoise

This “whisper-light” vichyssoise recipe swaps the traditional potatoes for zucchini. Not only does that cut carbs and calories, but it also amplifies the color of this intensely green soup. It tastes amazing served hot or cold.

Get the recipe here.

8. The Green Vesper with Arugula Simple Syrup

We couldn’t resist sharing this surprising and oh-so-good cocktail recipe. It’s got an eye-catching color—hence the name—and gives an innovative twist to standbys like gin, vodka, and lemon juice.

Get the recipe here.

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