Learn everything there is to know about Arugula lettuce, like why is arugula called rocket, “rocket arugula” and “baby arugula”? What is arugula (is it really a lettuce?) and how to use it. Plus 7 arugula healthy recipes for inspiration.

a bowl of arugula with cherry tomatoes and parmesan cheese next to it

The tender arugula lettuce leaves are great on their own to enjoy as a salad, or use them to as a garnish or to make a delicious pesto with. 

a bowl of leafy greens

What is Arugula

Arugula is a nutrient-dense leafy green with a distinct peppery flavor. It’s a popular salad green, but it’s not really a lettuce. Rather, it’s a member of the Brassicaceae family (cruciferous family), so, it’s related to broccolicauliflower, cabbage, Brussel sprouts and kale.  It consists of small, flat leaves on long stems. Rocket originated in the Mediterranean and is also called Italian cress, salad rocket, roquette and rucola. 

What is Baby Arugula

Baby arugula (also called baby rocket) are leaves that have been harvested early while they are still small and tender. The flavor of baby rocket is more mild and less bold tasting than mature rocket.

Why is Arugula Called Rocket

Arugula is native to the Mediterranean region and southern Europe. “Rocket” comes from the northern Italian word “ruchetta”, which was then translated to “roquette” in France and became “rocket” in the United Kingdom.

How to Store Arugula

When choosing arugula at the market, the greens should look fresh and crisp without any wilted, withered or limp leaves that have brown or yellow edges. The tender leaves are best when stored it in an air-tight container or a zip-lock plastic bag in the crisper section of your refrigerator where it will stay fresh for up to 5 days. These delicate leaves can go bad quickly, so it’s best to rinse them and spin dry in a salad spinner just before serving.  

Benefits of Arugula

It’s a good source of vitamins A, C and K, folate, calcium and potassium. It’s also low in calories and contains about 25 calories per cup.

  • Vitamin A – A powerful antioxidant that supports our immune system, protects vision.
  • Vitamin C –  Also known as ascorbic acid, a powerful antioxidant that supports our immune system and is important for the absorption of iron from food.
  • Vitamin K – Important for healthy blood clotting and the prevention of excessive bleeding.
  • Folate – Important for healthy red blood cell formation.
  • Calcium – Necessary for the health of our bones and teeth, as well as nerve and muscle function.
  • Potassium -Important for heart health and helping muscles contract normally.

bowl of basil pesto chicken salad

Recipes with Arugula

All of these recipes have arugula as a main ingredient.

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