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Arugula is Not for Snobs {With 2 Recipes!}

Arugula is Not for Snobs {With 2 Recipes!}

The cool weather greens are just starting to come ready for harvest here, and this week both my garden and my CSA box have plenty of arugula with which to make salads and other delights. 


In 2006, arugula became a symbol for the entire foodie movement with the publication of David Kamp’s book, The United States of Arugula: How We Became a Gourmet Nation.

In his book, Kamp explores how we evolved to a society where balsamic vinegar, free-range chicken, extra virgin olive oil, and of course, arugula, have become mainstream terms.

However, in 2008, arugula lost its luster when it became embroiled in political controversy. Unwittingly, arugula became a symbol of the culture wars in the presidential election and the media latched onto Barack Obama’s bewailing the price of arugula, much like it did when George H.W. Bush badmouthed broccoli.

Now the sordid details can come out: Arugula leads a double life.

It is sometimes called rocket, roquette, rugula or rucola. It looks like a baby lettuce and is often compared to watercress, but its little known secret is that it is really just a common local weed, and a member of the cruciferous family related to broccoli and cauliflower.


Far from being a food for the elite, arugula can be found growing wild all over North America. Wild-grown arugula is more nutritious and mineral-dense than store-bought arugula.

If you can’t find a reliable wild source, arugula is very, very easy to grow, and you can find seeds in most good catalogs. It is seldom bothered by pests and grows very nicely in cool temperatures and moist soil alongside your mixed salad greens and baby lettuces. It also does well in cold frames.

Harvest arugula successively or as a “cut-and-come-again” crop until heat makes it bolt and taste bitter.


Arugula is a very nutritious, leafy green vegetable with an unusual spicy flavor. Arugula is high in vitamins A, C and K, and folic acid. It is also a good source of zinc, potassium, calcium and iron.

Arugula of any type goes well in mixed salads, substituting for basil in pesto sauces and stepping in for spinach when required.

From its cruciferous family roots, arugula gets its antioxidant power as well as enzymes needed for detoxifying the body naturally. Recently, it’s been linked to gastric ulcer relief. Like other greens, arugula is most nutritious when eaten raw, and can be juiced or well-blended for optimal nutrient digestion and assimilation.

Here’s are two delicious arugula recipes we enjoy a lot this time of year.

Pistachio Arugula Pesto
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  1. 1/2 cup unsalted pistachios
  2. 2 Tbsp. unpasteurized, sweet white miso (where to find online)
  3. 1 pinch sea salt
  4. 2 cups arugula, packed
  5. 4-5 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  6. Fresh black pepper, to taste
  1. In a food processor, blend all the ingredients until well combined, but you can still see small chunks of pistachios and arugula.
  1. Food processor or blender
Small Footprint Family
Arugula Fennel Apple Salad
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  1. 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  3. 1 shallot, minced
  4. 1/2 tsp. (packed) grated organic lemon peel
  5. 1 large fresh fennel bulb, very thinly sliced
  6. 1 medium Fuji apple, cut into matchsticks
  7. 6 cups trimmed arugula leaves
  8. 2 mandarin oranges, oranges, clementines or tangerines, peeled
  9. Handful of pomegranate seeds
  1. Whisk the first 4 ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Season dressing with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Combine fennel and apple in medium bowl; mix in 3 tablespoons dressing.
  4. Place arugula in large bowl.
  5. Add fennel-apple mixture and toss, adding more dressing, to taste.
  6. Divide salad among 6 plates.
  7. Garnish each with orange wedges and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.
Small Footprint Family

Read Standard Disclosures and Disclaimers here.


  1. Arugula is also low in oxalates so is a great green for those who have any of the many symptoms caused by oxalate overload in the body.

  2. Hi Dawn,
    Thank you so much for sharing with Wednesdays Adorned From Above Link Party last week. This weeks Link Party is opened at
    from Wednesday until Sunday.
    Hope to see you there.
    Debi Bolocofsky
    Adorned From Above

  3. Congratulations!
    Your recipe is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Hope you are having a great weekend and enjoy your new Red Plate.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  4. I LOVE your post title, its so true! Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party last week! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! :) I hope that you’ll join us this week to share more yummies! Also, be sure to stop back by to see who the winner of the Planet Rice will be! The winner will be announced at GFF #9 Cindy from

  5. Arugula pesto sounds so very interesting. I like pesto, but basil is expensive if you do not have it growing in your garden.

    Thanks for linking up to Healthy 2Day Wednesday! Hope to see you back this week.

  6. I have never eaten Arugula. I will keep an eye out when I am wildcrafting! Thanks so much for sharing on Natural Living Monday!

  7. We love Arugula and this is a wonderful Salad. Enjoy your weekend and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  8. I am always looking for new ways to use beautiful native arugula! I love that your recipes balance its bitterness with sweet tastes too. Can’t wait to try these!

  9. Arugula grows very easy in our area thanks so much for sharing this recipe! I will pass it on to my Mom too. :)

  10. Such a great post! We don’t eat much pesto around here and it’s basically due to making the same favorites over and over, but THIS recipe intrigues me so much that we’ve got to have it soon!! Just reading it made my mouth water (; Thanks for the inspiration!

  11. Wow, I love posts like this when you take something fairly uncommon like *arugula* and make it so interesting! Very good, well-written post, thanks!
    Kelly p.s. That picture just makes me want to chomp right into it, did you take it?

    • Thanks, Kelly! No I didn’t take this particular picture, but I picked it for the same reason you liked it!

  12. Oooh I never thought about using pistachios for pesto. Awesome!

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