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Veggie of the Week! Arugula (Salad Rocket)

Arugula, also known as rocket and rucola, is a less recognized cruciferous vegetable that provides many of the same benefits as the notoriously nutritious better-known vegetables in the cruciferous family such as broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts.  Arugula leaves are tender and bite-sized with a bit of a tangy, peppery flavor. Arugula is an excellent addition to a salad.

Along with other leafy greens, arugula contains very high nitrate levels (more than 250 mg/100 g). High intakes of dietary nitrate have been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce the amount of oxygen needed during exercise and enhance athletic performance.

Arugula vs. Rocket:  Arugula is known as “rocket” in other parts of the world, notably Britain and its former colonies.  The word arugula, rocket in English and roquette in French, are all variations stemming from the same Latin root “eruca”.

Rocket (Arugula) Pesto

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (2 oz/60 g) walnut pieces
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cups (2 oz/60 g) packed arugula leaves
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz/60 g) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

Preparation

In a food processor, combine the walnuts, garlic, arugula, Parmesan, and 1 tsp salt and pulse to blend. With the machine running, pour in the olive oil through the food tube in a slow, steady stream and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Taste and adjust the seasonings.