Hello my dear readers,
Last time we have discovered arugula, we have seen what is it and from where does it comes from. We have seen its varieties and how to cultivate it. Now it’s time to see how to use it in the kitchen and what are its benefits and contraindications, if any.
In the kitchen
What Does It Taste Like?
The rocket has a peppery, slightly spicy and intense flavour. It has a green freshness that makes it a popular addition to salad mixes and it gives a great additional touch. The leaves are tender with a crisp stem, very similar to raw spinach. Cooked, arugula also resembles the delicate texture of cooked spinach. The flavour of cooked arugula is more mellow than when raw, with a very light spicy bite.
For culinary art, this herbaceous plant has a slightly spicy flavour and a particular smell.
Arugula is a tasty and versatile ingredient, often used to serve as a side dish for main courses such as meat, dairy products, vegetables, pizza, pasta and even desserts.
It’s great and super delicious as a crunchy topping for sandwiches or on top of a burger.
In Italy, it is common to top pizza with arugula after baking.
My favourite dish with rocket is: bresaola, rucola e grana, which means thinly sliced bresaola, an air-dried, salted beef that has been aged two or three months until it becomes hard, topped with fresh rocket and Grana Padano cheese and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. It’s heaven. My absolute favourite dish in summer time.
This leafy veggie is fantastic for making many surprising recipes.
With the leaves of the arugula it is also possible to create a very tasty pesto, to be prepared following the recipe of the Genovese pesto, obviously replacing the basil with the arugula.
You’ll only need:
- 2 handfuls of fresh arugula
- 100 g of nuts (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts etc …)
- 2 or 3 cloves of garlic
- Parmigiano Reggiano
- Extra virgin olive oil
Preparation. Chop your nuts in a mortar or mixer, add the peeled and chopped garlic and then the arugula. Mix everything well, add the extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
If you like, add a sprinkling of Parmigiano Reggiano and bring the dish to the table.
It will be a fantastic and flavourful seasoning for your pasta.
The rocket can also be cooked but I always prefer it fresh in all dishes, it gives that extra flavourful touch.
It is always better to cultivate your own arugula if possible to enjoy it always fresh, but if you buy it, you should store it in the refrigerator and use it within a few days of purchase.
Arugula: a fantastic vegetable with many properties to discover
Arugula is a herbaceous plant rich in vitamins, minerals and water. 91% of its composition is actually water.
The result is a modest calorie intake (only 25 per 100 grams) which makes it an excellent ingredient in low-calorie diets.
It is a source of vitamins C, A, K, B and folic acid.
Its consumption, therefore, is recommended for pregnant women and the elderly, to preserve bone health.
It stimulates the appetite and acts as a natural tonic thanks to the remarkable contribution of minerals and vitamin C.
It also has strong purifying and detoxifying properties, as it stimulates diuresis and cleanses the liver.
Arugula is rich in calcium, a rather rare characteristic, and also contains iron and vitamin C, excellent for the health of the tissues and the immune system.
Traditional Chinese medicine makes extensive use of green and bitter leafy herbs such as arugula and dandelion for the significant benefits on the liver. Its bitter substances stimulate the production of gastric juices and have a digestive effect.
Finally, taken in the form of herbal tea, it has a relaxing action and promotes sleep.
Always thanks to the high content of vitamin C and mineral salts, its consumption is recommended in conjunction with colds and coughs to stimulate the immune system and accelerate the healing process.
This has a positive effect also in a preventive perspective against seasonal allergies and asthma.
But the extraordinary properties of arugula do not end there. Scientific studies have shown that the high concentration of nitrates (about 250 mg per 100 g) is able to stabilize blood pressure.
This is also confirmed during physical activity, with a lowering of the oxygen demand by the tissues.
An excellent anti-oxidant
Another property that this plant owes to its vitamin and mineral complex is the antioxidant one. In fact, this herb is rich in vitamins A, E, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, substances capable of counteracting the action of free radicals.
In this sense, its effectiveness is also confirmed in the contribution to the prevention of some tumors (colon, breast, prostate) and many cardiovascular diseases.
Furthermore, thanks to its content of antioxidant substances and prostaglandins, arugula is considered a valuable aid in the prevention and treatment of ulcers.
It also has carminative properties that favour the expulsion of intestinal gas.
As a decoction, arugula is useful for the body’s well-being for its diuretic and purifying properties. Bring 5 grams of fresh leaves to a boil in 150 ml of water and cook for 10 minutes. After this time, filter and drink two cups a day immediately after the main meals and before going to sleep.
Arugula has several properties that benefit our health and above all are positive for our body.
Here is a list of effects that this plant has on our body:
• stimulates the organism in the period of convalescence and weakness;
• stimulates appetite;
• presence of potassium, iron, calcium and phosphorus;
• promotes digestion;
• diuretic action;
• beneficial for the liver;
• presence of vitamin C; in the past it was used to fight scurvy;
• carminative action, promotes the expulsion of intestinal gas;
• calming and invigorating action when taken as a herbal tea with mint.
Contraindications of arugula
Being an edible herb, arugula has no particular contraindications. Obviously, it can generate hypersensitization phenomena in people allergic to some of its substances.
Beware of excessive consumption: too high doses of rocket, in fact, produce a metabolite that can have irritating effects on the body. The advice is to consume 2 handfuls a day, preferably raw.
If you have thyroid problems, it is better to eat it rarely. Arugula contains isothiocyanates which, while actively contributing to the prevention of certain forms of cancer, also have the effect of inhibiting thyroid functions by limiting the amount of iodine absorbed by the body.
Those who follow anticoagulant therapies should refrain from consuming rocket and consult their general practitioner.
Thank you all for reading!
And if you would like to discover more about our food, you may enjoy my previous posts.
Wish you a wonderful day!