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Arugula, The Super Food

Karen Alexander, Licensed Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

March 25, 2020

Arugula, also known as a salad or garden rocket, is native to the Mediterranean region as well as southern Europe, Turkey, and northern India. Arugula has been cultivated since Roman times and is a part of the Brassicaceae family, which includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, turnips, and kohlrabi. Arugula leaves are commonly consumed raw in salads, but in India, arugula is grown for its seed oil.

Arugula has many health benefits including:

  • high levels of folic acid
  • source of dietary fiber
  • carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin)
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin C
  • several phytochemicals with anti-oxidant properties
  • cancer-fighting nutrients known as indoles
  • isothiocyanates (sulforaphane) with anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative activities, as well as antibacterial and antifungal activities

5 Different Arugula Salads
Combine arugula with any of the combinations listed below:

  1. Blue cheese and your favorite dressing
  2. Pears, pine nuts, and goat cheese
  3. Roasted beets and toasted walnuts with a vinaigrette dressing
  4. Raw fennel and parmesan cheese
  5. Roma tomatoes, marinated artichoke hearts, garbanzo beans, red onions, and a dressing of olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette

*Note: Combine arugula leaves with a dressing or olive oil and use it as a topping on pizzas, omelets, quiches, and other dishes.

3 Interesting Arugula Facts

  • Ancient Romans and Egyptians would consume arugula leaves and seeds as an aphrodisiac.
  • On the island of Ischia in the Mediterranean Gulf of Naples, arugula is used to make the alcoholic drink called rucolino.
  • In Asia and India, the arugula oil also known as taramira is used for cooking, pickling, medicinal, and cosmetic purposes.

The recipe of the week comes via Food Network.

Arugula Salad with Olive Oil, Lemon, and Parmesan Cheese


  • 2 bunches arugula, washed, dried, and torn
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • chunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano


In a serving bowl, drizzle the arugula with the oil, squeeze in the lemon juice, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss until well mixed and taste for seasoning. Use a vegetable peeler to shave thin pieces of Parmigiano over the top.

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