For those of you unfamiliar with arugula, it is has a peppery flavor with an aroma that is unforgettable when FRESH! This Italian herb is known in other countries as rucola, rugula and roquette. So if you travel, you'll now know what you are ordering from foreign language menus.
Arugula can be eaten raw or cooked, so try it in a variety of recipes. In fact, I often substitute it for spinach in a recipe. Try arugula on sandwiches instead of lettuce, on a pizza instead of spinach, in pasta dishes, soups and salads.
Selection & Storage
Select pre-washed bags of arugula that have the newest date. If the leaves are wet in the bag and look yellowish, do not purchase them. Look for green dry leaves in pre-washed bagged arugula.
When selecting fresh arugula, look for crisp green leaves that have no yellow or lime green color. Wash, spin dry, wrap in paper towel and place in a large plastic bag. It's best to eat arugula within two days of purchase.
Planting arugula allows you to harvest the leaves all summer long and into the fall. This provides you with FRESH leaves for any recipe on demand. Also the flowers that appear just before arugula goes to seed are fabulous on salads and very ooohlala for dinner party salads.
A friend of mine in Honolulu planted a small area of arugula in his yard and it grew like weeds. We were supplied for the entire year with fresh arugula. So even if you don't have a "green thumb" you might want to try growing your own arugula this summer.
Vegan Salads 101 Poor Man's Pesto, Vinaigrette Dressing and Salad
Fresh, fresh, fresh! Prices for arugula have dropped in the market I shop in, so I decided to try it instead of basil for a new pesto taste treat. And since sunflower seeds are less expensive than pine nuts, this is a great alternative in my "Poor Man's Pesto".
Spread "Poor Man's Pesto" as the base for your next vegan pizza or smear a thin layer on top of your favorite bread and broil it. I like it as the sauce for gnocchi or any pasta. Give it a try to spice up any spring salad, vegetable, and sandwich recipes.
1 cup organic sunflower seeds, pan toasted
6 cups fresh organic arugula
1/2 cup organic extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon sea salt
small heavy bottomed skillet
Cuisinart Food Processor fitted with knife blade
storage container — glass jar with lid
Preparation Sunflower Seeds
Pour the raw sunflower seeds into a heavy bottomed skillet.
Dry roast the seeds over medium heat stirring constantly to prevent burning.
This should take about 4 to 5 minutes... when you start smelling the toasted aroma and see a hint of color, stop the process by pouring the seeds into the Cuisinart Food Processor fitted with the knife blade.
Smash each garlic clove and peel.
Put the peeled garlic cloves into the food processor. Arugula
Wash the arugula and spin dry in a salad spinner.
Place the arugula into the Cuisinart bowl, add the salt and put the lid on the machine.
Turn the Cuisinart on and let run until the contents are finely chopped.
With the Cuisinart running, add the lemon juice and drizzle in the olive oil.
Transfer the Poor Man's Pesto to your favorite storage containers and leave about 1/4 inch at the top for a layer of organic extra virgin olive oil. This will keep the contents from discoloring while it's refrigerated. Each time I scoop out a few tablespoons worth, I add a little more olive oil to keep the pesto covered. By doing this, the pesto will remain brilliant green for two weeks or longer.
A scoop of this fresh pesto will make anything taste FRESHER! Try it on pasta, bread, or vegetables. A large spoonful in soups is great too!
Poor Man's Pesto Vinaigrette Dressing and Salad
In a small bowl, measure out 2 tablespoons of the Poor Man's Pesto. Add 2 tablespoons of a good champagne vinegar and 2 tablespoons of an organic extra virgin olive oil. Whisk and poor over your favorite salad combination. Season with sea salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes to your taste.
Here I used arugula leaves for the base and added: chopped tomatoes, thin sliced Maui onions, garbanzo beans, water packed artichoke hearts and drizzled the Poor Man's Salad Dressing over the top.