You might be more familiar with the salad green of Arugula
when it is known as known as rocket, roquette, rugula or rucola.
But whatever name you use, this popular and aromatic plant is very low in calories but very high in vitamins A and C.
Arugula is popular in Italian cooking and dates back to Roman times when it was grown both for its leaves and its seeds which were used for flavoring oils. Historically, the seed was also used with other ingredients as an aphrodisiac.
Growing at home?
Simple to grow at home, or even in a container in a sunny spot, you can plant seeds from early spring to fall every 3 to 4 weeks to get a continuous supply of salad greens that have a mild peppery taste. This plant will be happier if watered well and protected from excess heat. From the minute the leaves reach a reasonable size, cut and come again. The leaves will get a bit tougher as they age but even if arugula goes to seed, use the flowers in your salads too, and collect the seeds for your own supply. The flowers are small and white with dark centers and add a light piquant flavor. While you should pick and eat immediately (if you have your own home grown supply), leaves can be rinsed and dried on paper towelling before popping into a container to store in the refrigerator for up to 2 or 3 days.
Apart from salads, add to sandwiches and other dishes
Arugula is the excellent source of no less than
7 health benefits:
1. Vitamin K which is so beneficial to our bone health, working in synergy with vitamin D to regulate the production of osteoclasts and it’s related to osteocalcin (a calcium-binding protein synthesized by osteoblasts).
2. Vitamin C which is a vital antioxidant that’s crucial for the production of collagen helping to maintain (among other things) healthy bones and cartilage.
3. Vitamin B9 which is also known as folate or folic acid and belongs to the B-complex family. It works in synergy with all of the B vitamins to help the body utilize protein, among other functions.
4. Calcium which is directly involved in the construction, formation, and maintenance of bones and which is best absorbed from organic sources, such as calcium-rich foods.
5. Magnesium which is a crucial mineral involved in over 300 essential body reactions (including protein synthesis) and closely linked to calcium absorption and bone health.
6. Manganese which is an important trace mineral necessary for the synthesis of connective tissue in cartilage and bone.
7. With high levels of beta-carotene, zeaxanthin and lutein, arugula is excellent for skin conditions
and eye health while being a source of glucosinolates means some powerful immune-system boosters.
Here is a very special arugula "salad for one"
Suitable for any time of the year – just multiply the ingredients to cater for two or more at a mealtime.
You will need:
- 1 portobello mushroom
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/4 shallot, thinly sliced salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 roasted red pepper, cut into strips
- 3 cups arugula leaves
- 1 ounce grated Romano cheese
- 1 tablespoon Greek salad dressing
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with a piece of aluminum foil.
2. Brush the mushroom on both sides with olive oil and place gill-side up onto the baking sheet. Drizzle with any remaining olive oil and the red wine vinegar. Sprinkle with sliced garlic and shallot; season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with the piece of roasted red pepper and wrap the foil tightly around the mushroom.
3. Bake in preheated oven until the mushroom is tender, about 30 minutes.
4. Toss the arugula with Romano cheese and salad dressing. Place onto a plate and top with the hot mushroom and pepper.
Enjoy the taste and texture while feeling good at the same time about all those health benefits.