A user-friendly guide to the health benefits and use of arugula

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Let’s face it, sometimes it feels like you need to be a trained chef, or a scientist, to understand the world of cooking. A simple question such as whether Arugula is a vegetable or not can lead you down a long and winding rabbit hole.

In a world where people are now vegan, keto, gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, or god-knows-what-else-free? Everyone has a different reason, and a life-changing story to make you see their diet as the best and healthiest. It’s almost impossible to know where to turn to ask even a simple health question. Like what’s this vegetable that looks like spinach but apparently isn’t? Well, as Vinnie Antonelli once said in My Blue Heaven:

“Arugula! It’s a vegetable!”

Arugula is a green leafy plant often referred to as “rocket,” in the same family as vegetables such as Kale[2]. When it comes to health benefits you really can’t go wrong; here’s a look at the nutrition information[3]. Keep in mind, those twenty calories are coming from four whole cups of arugula. When broken down, you’re looking at about 5 calories for one cup and a little over 1 calorie from fat.

Great! Now we know where arugula stands in the vegetable and health world, but what can we do with it? The first time I tried arugula was on top of a carpaccio my mom made, and I’ve seen it nonstop ever since. Arugula is a great substitute for basil or lettuce. Great topper on your favorite pizza, or even as a lettuce in your favorite salad. Its peppery refreshing quality gives it a little bite. It can balance out sweet or lightly savory dishes without adding any heaviness to the meal.

Best recipes with Arugula

If adding leafy greens to your pizza isn’t quite your style, then here are a few more recipes that might catch your eye:

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/hazelnut-blue-pecan-salad[4]

Not feeling salad? Valerie Bertinelli submitted this Chicken Cutlet with Spicy Arugula recipe that might be more your style: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/chicken-cutlets-with-spicy-arugula.html[5]

Still not satisfied? Maybe an arugula pesto is more in your line. Try Michael Chiarello’s recipe here: /http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/arugula-pesto-recipe.html[6].

Conclusion

So yes, arugula is a vegetable! A weird leafy vegetable with quite a number of uses! Its health benefits and surprisingly peppery taste allow it to be either the side dish or the main event, allowing infinite possibilities in how to cook with it. The beautiful thing about cooking is that there are no limits to the creativity of recipes. It can be intimidating trying to figure out what to do with this weird bunch of leaves sitting on your counter. Experimentation is key! Not getting discouraged when a recipe doesn’t work out just right is important too. Trying a variety of recipes will not only let you know what you do or don’t like about arugula, but it will bring out different flavors in the rocket itself.

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