What is Arugula

Jun 19, 2023 By Nancy Miller

Are you a fan of leafy greens? If so, arugula may have already made its way onto your plate! But did you know that this popular salad green is part of the Brassicaceae family, which includes plants like broccoli and cauliflower?

This veggie has recently gained popularity due to its distinct flavor and health benefits. So let's dive into some facts about arugula - from where it originated to how to incorporate it into your diet!

An Overview of Arugula - Exploring the History

Arugula, or rocket or roquette, is an edible plant with distinct taste and health benefits. Belonging to the Brassicaceae family of plants, it is related to vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower. It has been used for centuries in Mediterranean countries for its medicinal properties. In addition to being consumed raw in salads, arugula can be eaten cooked or used as a garnish for various dishes.

The origin of arugula dates back to ancient times when it was thought to have originated in either Sicily or Egypt around 400 BC. It then spread throughout Europe and the Near East during the Roman Empire, becoming widely popular due to its bold flavor and health benefits. It is grown in many countries worldwide, including Italy, France, Spain, Australia, and the United States.

Arugula has a unique nutty and slightly bitter flavor, with peppery undertones. It is often added to salads for its health benefits and flavor profile. Arugula also pairs nicely with vegetables and fruits like tomatoes, pears, and apples. It can be enjoyed raw or cooked and adds greatly to soups, pasta dishes, pestos, sandwiches, pizzas - the list goes on!

How to Use Arugula

Arugula is a versatile vegetable that can be used in many dishes. It is best enjoyed fresh, as it loses flavor when cooked or exposed to air for too long. Use it in salads, with fish, as a garnish on meats and vegetables, in pestos and dips, on pizzas - the possibilities are endless!

15 Arugula Recipes

1. Arugula Salad with Apples, Pecans, and Parmesan:

This refreshing salad is a great way to enjoy the health benefits of arugula and make an easy, flavorful meal.

2. Arugula Pesto:

Make your pesto with arugula as the main ingredient for a delicious, nutrient-rich dish that can be used on pizzas, in dips, or as a spread.

3. Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad:

Roasting beets is an easy way to add sweetness and depth of flavor to any salad, and pairing them with peppery arugula makes for an unbeatable combination!

4. Grilled Salmon with Arugula Salad:

Grill some salmon fillets and serve them over a bed of freshly tossed arugula for a light and healthy meal.

5. Arugula Risotto:

This creamy Italian classic is made even more flavorful with fresh arugula.

6. Prosciutto and Arugula Pizza:

Create a heavenly pizza with prosciutto, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, and freshly chopped arugula!

7. Roasted Vegetable Orzo with Arugula Pesto:

Make a hearty vegetable-based dish by roasting vegetables like zucchini, red peppers, and mushrooms, then tossing them in an arugula pesto sauce to finish it!

8. Grilled Shrimp with Arugula Salad:

Grill up some shrimp and serve them over a bed of freshly tossed arugula for an easy and delicious meal.

9. Roasted Arugula:

Roast up some fresh arugula to bring out its nutty flavors and use it as a side dish or topping on pizza, sandwiches, or wraps!

10. Sautéed Garlic Arugula:

Sauté chopped garlic in olive oil, then add freshly shaved arugula for a flavorful side dish that pairs well with just about any main course.

11. Arugula Soup:

This creamy yet light soup is perfect for cold winter nights.

12. Arugula, Avocado, and Feta Sandwich:

Switch up your lunch routine with this delicious sandwich made with arugula, avocado, feta cheese, and balsamic vinegar!

13. Egg Salad with Arugula:

Make a nutritious egg salad by adding freshly chopped arugula for flavor and texture!

14. Grilled Halibut over Arugula:

Grill some fresh halibut fillets, then serve them over a bed of freshly tossed arugula for a light and healthy meal.

15. Penne with Arugula Pesto Sauce:

This pasta dish is easy to make yet so flavorful! Just toss cooked penne with arugula pesto sauce and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Where to Buy Arugula

Arugula can be found at most grocery stores or farmers' markets. Look for bright green, fresh-looking leaves without any signs of wilting or yellowing. Arugula can also be grown in your garden! It’s a great way to get fresh greens all year round and the easiest way to enjoy its flavor and health benefits.

Whether you’re looking for an easy salad base, a flavorful side dish, or a delicious pizza topping – arugula is the perfect ingredient! Explore the flavors of this unique veggie and add it to your next meal!

Interesting Facts about Arugula - Fun facts about this unique vegetable

  • Arugula is sometimes called “rocket” or “roquette” because it was believed to have been eaten by early rocket scientists — though this has no scientific backing!
  • The ancient Romans considered arugula an aphrodisiac due to its peppery taste.
  • It is a great dietary fiber, vitamin, and mineral source.
  • Arugula contains two compounds that may help reduce cancer risk - lutein, and zeaxanthin!
  • Arugula can be grown year-round in many parts of the world, making it a versatile and sustainable culinary option for any season!

The Best Way to Store Arugula - How to keep your arugula fresh for longer

  • Store arugula in a cool, dry place like the refrigerator and keep the leaves dry to prevent wilting.
  • Wrap the leaves loosely in a damp paper towel or cloth before putting them in an airtight container.
  • If you’re not planning on using your arugula immediately, freeze it for up to three months!
  • Add lemon juice or vinegar to your arugula to help preserve its freshness and flavor.
  • Pickle your arugula with vinegar, sugar, salt, and spices for an easy and delicious snack!

With these tips for storing and using arugula, you can enjoy this flavorful vegetable all year round! Whether you’re looking to add some nutty and peppery notes to your dish or want to get your daily dose of greens - arugula is a great choice. Explore the flavors of this unique veggie and make it a part of your next meal!


Q: Where did arugula come from?

A: Native to the Mediterranean region, arugula has long been used in Italian cuisine. Its use spread throughout Europe during the Middle Ages and eventually made its way to North America after the arrival of Italian immigrants in the 19th century. Today, it's a popular salad green found in grocery stores worldwide!

Q: What are some ways to eat arugula?

A: Arugula is incredibly versatile and can be used in various dishes. Its peppery flavor pairs well with creamy cheeses like mozzarella, roasted vegetables, grilled meats, or even added to smoothies for a nutritional boost. It can also be sautéed with garlic and herbs for an easy side dish or tossed into kinds of pasta for extra flavor. Get creative with your recipes, and you’ll never run out of ideas!

Q: How do I incorporate arugula into my diet?

A: Arugula is a great way to add flavor and nutrition to your meals. Add it to salads, sandwiches, or wraps for lunch or dinner. You can also use it as an ingredient in pesto sauces or even a pizza topping! Incorporating arugula into your diet is easy with its mild flavor and high nutrient content. Try adding some today and see how you like the results!


Arugula is an easy-to-find salad green with a distinct flavor and numerous health benefits. Its origin can be traced back to the Mediterranean, where it has been used in Italian cuisine for centuries. Today, arugula is commonly found in grocery stores worldwide and can be incorporated into various dishes, from salads to pizza! With its mild flavor and high nutrient content, arugula is a great way to make your meals more flavorful and nutritious. Give this unique veggie a try today

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