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Arugula: Your New Go-To Green!

Whoa, hold your horses! Before you pass by that bundle of arugula at the grocery store, thinking it’s just another leafy green, take a minute to discover its hidden wonders. Arugula, a peppery, somewhat bitter leaf, often plays second fiddle to more popular greens like spinach and kale. But let me tell you something, this underappreciated veggie has a lot up its sleeve, from its rich history, varying forms, to its impressive nutritional benefits. So sit back, relax and get ready to join the arugula appreciation club.

A Brief Stint with History: Where Does Arugula Come From?

Originally hailing from the Mediterranean, arugula, also known as “rocket,” has been around since Roman times. Yes, you heard that right! Our favorite leafy green isn’t just a modern-day health trend. The Romans were onto it way before we were, using it for both culinary and medicinal purposes.

These days, it’s a global superstar, enjoyed in salads, pastas, and even as a pizza topping. Arugula’s journey from a humble garden plant to a global delicacy is indeed a story worth sharing over a hearty arugula salad!

Unleash the Power: Different Forms of Arugula

The beautiful thing about arugula is its versatility. Whether it’s fresh or cooked, this leafy wonder can do it all. Commonly, arugula comes in these two forms:

  • Fresh Arugula: It’s the crisp, peppery green you find in salads. It’s the most common way folks enjoy this green, either on its own or mixed with other veggies.
  • Cooked Arugula: The taste of arugula mellows when cooked, making it perfect for sauteing or adding to warm dishes like pasta and quiche. But remember, it wilts quickly, so add it near the end of your cooking process.
Image of an Arugula

So, whether you’re a fan of raw veggies or love a warm meal, arugula has got you covered.

The Green Goddess: Nutritional Benefits of Arugula

Now we’re getting to the good stuff. When it comes to nutritional punch, arugula packs a wallop. It’s low in calories but high in vitamins and minerals, making it a real winner in the world of leafy greens. Arugula isn’t just about flavor; it’s a nutrient powerhouse. And I’m not pulling your leg here, folks! This is backed by science.

Let’s break it down in a handy table to get a bird’s eye view of the nutritional values:

NutrientAmount per 100g
Calories25
Protein2.6g
Dietary Fiber1.6g
Vitamin K109% of the RDI
Vitamin A47% of the RDI
Vitamin C15% of the RDI
Folate24% of the RDI
Calcium160mg
Iron1.5mg

Source: USDA National Nutrient Database

FAQs About Arugula

Is arugula healthy?

You bet! Arugula is low in calories and high in several essential nutrients. It’s especially rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as fiber and calcium.

How do you eat arugula?

You can enjoy arugula raw in salads or cooked in various dishes. Its unique peppery flavor makes it a great addition to your meals.

Can you eat arugula stems?

Yes, indeed! Arugula stems are perfectly edible and add a bit of crunch to your dishes.

Is arugula a type of lettuce?

Nope, it’s not! Though it’s often lumped together with lettuce, arugula is actually a member of the Brassicaceae family, which includes broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

Wrap-Up: The Mighty Leaf

At the end of the day, arugula is more than just a leafy green. It’s a nutrient-packed powerhouse that deserves a spot in your diet. Whether you enjoy it raw or cooked, arugula brings a unique flavor and health benefits to your plate. So next time you’re at the grocery store, don’t overlook this peppery leaf!

The bottom line? Don’t be afraid to go green – especially when it’s as good for you as arugula!

Fun Facts About Arugula

  1. The word “arugula” has its roots in the Latin word “eruca,” which means “a type of cabbage.”
  2. Arugula flowers are not only pretty but also edible and have a similar peppery taste to the leaves.
  3. Arugula seeds were used as a flavoring for oils in ancient Rome.

Source: USDA National Database

Cristina C. RD LDN

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