Arugula in the kitchen and its benefits

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.

Bresaola, rucola e grana_Photo credit:

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.

Photo credit: Pixabay

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.

Photo credit: Pixabay


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!

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45 thoughts

  1. It has a lot of benefits and looks so yummy. The paste would taste delicious. Mouth watering morning for me. 🙂
    Happy Tuesday 🙂

    1. You were right dear Jess….sorry I did not check before….these days I only checked my comments from the phone as I was too busy…and from the phone I don’t see the spam comments….😣

      1. Nah, no problem. It just annoys me to know that my comments goes there. You’re the 5th person it happen… like what the hell? Does WP got a grudge against me? I never spammed people! 😭

      2. Not sure why this is happening but also I have this problems sometimes….I’m not sure is depending on what…🤔 but is annoying when it happens 😣

      3. I heard that it’s askimet tightening their security. But I do find it curious on what they’re basis for spam when you’re obviously there for the contents… oh well, let’s just hope not fall victim to it again.

      4. I will never understand all these tech things 🤪🤪 for me it must be simple and easy to use 🤪🤪 when these issues are happening really are pissing me off as don’t know what to do, except contacting the happiness engineers 🤪

  2. Arugula🤔 I read about that last week too, I don’t see that here, last weekend I tried to see such thing on my local markets, sadly I didn’t get 🤔. May be is is available here, I have to check my eyes 😂. But it does have a lot of healthy benefits to include in our salads and gravy. Any kind of green items, I can cook and make it tastier the way I wanted 😁 I’ll try to get this too very soon. I’m becoming an expert at kitchen 😸😎 As always, an amazing work Ribana, Love the way you take pictures, amazing photography.. I’m sure you are very good at photography right?🤔😉 And your new Emoji at the end is so nice 😍✨ Have a wonderful happy week Ribana 🤗✨✍️

    1. Not sure they grow it there but maybe you can find it to the imported foods in the supermarkets…it has really a distinctive flavor 😋
      I’m sure you’re becoming an expert in the kitchen after a so long time alone 🤪
      When you’ll go back to Nisha, you’ll cook for her 😝
      Not sure if I’m good at photography…sometimes I like the results and I’m impress with myself and sometimes I don’t 🤪🤪
      Thank you Simon for your support and kind words always! Have a lovely and happy week! 🤩🤗

      1. Maybe I’ll get over there 😊 I am becoming expert 😸 Nisha said the same 😹. It’s okay, your pictures are good and you agree definitely more choosy when posting one, which makes you an expert 😉. Have a Great Day ✨🤗 Have Fun😇

  3. Great health benefits of Arugula 😊it is not as common here !! ☺️ I will find it out from super markets or something like that 😂!!
    Thank you for share friend !! 💕

    1. Yes, I understand is not so common there but probably you can find it in the supermarkets 😉 Nowadays they ship everything everywhere 😉 It really has a distinctive taste 😋
      Thank you for stopping by! Wish you a lovely day! 🌸🌸

  4. They have so many health benefits. When I first looked at your picture I thought it looked similar to dandelion greens. I actually picked the dandelion greens for a salad once to see what they tasted like. Not bad but bitter. You stated the Chinese used both dandelion greens and arugula for medicine so I wonder if they are in the same plant family?

    1. No, they are from different families but the aspect of the leaves is pretty similar and both can be eaten raw or cooked 😉 Yes, dandelion is a little bit bitter while arugula is a little bit peppery 😉😋

  5. I’ve never tried arugula before. It sounds like it would be really good in a salad. And on a burger! I’ll have to give it a try! Especially since there are so many benefits.

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