Okay, I’ve just added arugula to my grocery list, but what should I do with it once I get it home…
First of all, how do I know which bundle of arugula to stick into my grocery cart?!
Choose arugula that is fresh and crisp, particularly at the stem. Look for plants that have dark green leaves, not yellow. Refrain from buying arugula with leaves that are wilted, have dark or slimy spots, or yellow or brown edges.
Next, how do I store it, and how long will it stay fresh in my food rotter?
Arugula leaves will spoil quickly, so some care must be taken to help keep them as fresh as possible for as long as possible.
Wrap the roots of the arugula in a damp paper towel, then store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
Another option would be to place the arugula upright in a glass of water, as you would a bouquet of flowers, and then cover the leaves with a plastic bag before storing in the refrigerator.
Another point to remember is to not store arugula beside pears, apples or bananas, as this will cause its leaves to decay faster.
Plan on using within a couple of days after buying them.
So what should I make with my arugula?
One thing to remember when deciding how to use the arugula that you have purchased, is that older and larger leaves have a more intense peppery flavor than the younger and smaller leaves.
The tenderness and milder taste of the younger leaves make them a great choice for salads such as this one…
Arugula, Avocado, and Olive Salad
- 3 bunches arugula
- 1 sliced avocado
- 1C sliced kalamata olives
- 1/2C pine nuts
- 1/2C olive oil
- 2 minced cloves garlic
- 1tsp red pepper flakes
- 2Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2Tbsp white wine vinegar
Roast the pine nuts in a shallow pan at 325 degrees F until brown. Combine the arugula, avocado, and olives. Whisk the dressing together. Pour the dressing over the salad. Top with pine nuts.
The larger, older leaves are better for steaming or using in sauces.
Arugula tends to sauté faster than kale and collard greens, and adds more flavor to a dish than spinach or Swiss chard. Often arugula is used along with milder greens such as watercress and romaine.
For example, try making your own version of the following pasta dish…
Sauté arugula in a small amount of extra-virgin olive oil. Season with freshly ground black pepper and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Cook and drain pasta. Combine arugula, pasta, and whatever else you choose, such as grilled chicken.
Pesto…great served with pasta, burgers, sandwiches, or roasted and grilled meat
Blend arugula with the following ingredients…
- 1/2C basil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/4C walnuts
- 1/2C grated Parmesan or Parmigiano Reggiano
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
A few more final ideas on how to use arugula…
- Add a handful of fresh arugula to an omelet or scramble
- Add arugula to your wrap, sandwich, or flatbread
- Throw a handful of arugula and blend into a fresh juice or smoothie
- Top your pizza with fresh arugula…this is very popular in the Mediterranean region.