While some may know it as salad rocket, rucola, rugula, or colewart, in the United States we are most familiar with this leafy green as arugula. I was first introduced to arugula many years ago when I was watching Food Network with my mom during the holidays. Jamie Oliver came on and he prepared this delicious oregano chicken dish served over a bed of arugula with a bit of lemon juice. Seeing as it was Christmas break and we didn’t have much else going on, my mom and I decided to make this chicken dish for dinner. Dinner that night was wonderful and it’s still one of my favorite meals my mom makes, but what really sets it apart is the arugula salad! I was expecting a mild leafy green that provided a nice token vegetable to the plate, but what I discovered was a delicious, bold, and unique flavor that played off of the vinegar and oregano in the chicken dish. Needless to say, arugula quickly became one of my favorite leafy greens.
Arugula isn’t only tasty, it’s also packed with vitamins and nutrients! Rich in vitamins A, C, and K, and iron, this leafy green makes a great nutritious addition to any salad. Vitamin A found in leafy greens has been found to protect the body from certain skin, lung, and oral cavity cancers. Vitamin C is a powerful anti-oxidant that helps strengthen one’s immune system. Vitamin K promotes bone health and limits damage to brain cells over time. In order to get the most nutritional value from your arugula, try to buy fresh (like at your local farmers market) and serve raw in salads, on sandwiches, and on burgers. The greens can also be added to soups, mixed in with pasta and a little goat cheese, or, my personal favorite, on a pizza!