What To Do With Arugula – Here’s Some Ideas

What is Arugula?

Arugula is a zesty, savory, and peppery green that can make your sandwiches, salads, sauces, and pasta more enjoyable. However, many people don’t know what to do with arugula. This article looks at how to use arugula for best results.

Raw green arugula

Can You Cook Arugula?

Yes, you can cook arugula! Cooked arugula is delicious; you don’t have to do much to turn it into a tasty side dish. However, most people usually eat arugula raw because the heat causes it to wilt and lose its flavor and texture.

Nonetheless, multiple recipes suggest you lightly cook arugula, including arugula pesto and sauteed arugula. Put a little olive oil in the pan and heat it over medium heat to saute. Then, add the arugula and allow to cook for up to two minutes until it wilts—season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

To make arugula pesto, combine arugula leaves, pine nuts, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and garlic in your food processor or blender until it reaches a creamy texture. You can use this pesto as a sauce for meats, vegetables, or pasta.

There is also the Italian way of cooking arugula with garlic, raisins, and pine nuts. This is a toothsome mix very trendy in many Italian dishes. The raisins’ sweetness and the pine nuts’ crisp texture give the dish different flavors and textures.

As you can see, you don’t have to restrict arugula to one use only. Its peppery taste makes it ideal for a wide range of dishes. Some other popular uses for arugula include in soups, to top pizza, or as savory fillings. So, is arugula good cooked? The answer is a resounding yes- as long as you cook it correctly!

What Does Arugula Look Like?

Arugula is a leafy green vegetable that most people consume raw as a salad. However, as you’ve discovered already, you can consume it cooked in various dishes.

Arugula belongs to the cabbage and mustard green family. Its other names include rocket, roquette, and rucola.

The arugula plant has flowers with white or cream petals with deep purple veins. Its leaves are around three to eight inches long. Some are smooth, while others are slightly hairy. The arugula plant itself can grow up to two feet tall.

The petals are delicate and elegant and differ in color depending on the variety.

Its leaves are deep green with deep notches up and down on both sides. Some of arugula’s leaves have full, round ends, while others are more pointy. The plant’s leaves are deeply lobed and dull green. Younger leaves are light green and tender with a crisp stem, similar to raw spinach. Its taste is peppery, spicy, and a bit tart. Arugula leaves have a tender yet crunchy texture.

Normally, larger leaves are more peppery; sometimes, the overblown arugula leaves are slightly bitter. Overblown leaves have browned or yellowed, have tears or holes, and are less fragrant. You can find arugula at farmers’ markets in early summer, but it is available throughout the year in supermarkets.

When buying arugula, consider using brightly colored green leaves. Please avoid yellowing, wilted, damaged, or leaves that look excessively moist. Lastly, before using the leaves, rinse and dry them thoroughly.

Fresh green arugula

How to Use Arugula

Arugula is a versatile leafy green vegetable used in multiple dishes. It would help to remember that all arugula is not alike. Commercial arugula brands are usually milder and less interesting than those in the market.

Fortunately, arugula needs very little cooking, making adding it to your favorite dishes easy. Here are tips on how to use arugula:

In Salads

You can use arugula on its own or mix it with other greens to make a great salad. Arugula can stand up to a stronger vinaigrette but consider pairing it with a sweeter balsamic to balance its peppery notes. Arugula leaves are soft and chewy and taste good in the mouth.

As a Pizza Topping

If you want to make your store-bought pizza more exciting, you can dress some arugula lightly in a lemony vinaigrette and heap it onto your pizza. It also works well with your homemade pizza.


Do you like some green in your soup? If yes, consider tossing a few handfuls of arugula just after taking it from the flame. Please avoid cooking arugula before using it in your soup. Just wilt it in the broth.

In Pasta Dishes

You can also toss a handful of arugula into your pasta while dressing it with sauce. Alternatively, add it to the sauce in the final cooking moments.


Substitute spinach with arugula or combine the two as one of your lasagna layers. Generally, you can substitute spinach with arugula if you are looking for the tenderness of spinach.

With Eggs

Saute some arugula in olive oil or butter with some garlic. Once the arugula wilts (in about a minute), add beaten eggs and cook until done. Additionally, arugula also provides the perfect bed to serve sunny-side-up eggs on. Consider tossing it with some vinaigrette, but not so much as the egg yolk will create a decent sauce.


Arugula is also an excellent substitute for lettuce in sandwiches. It is a classic green for hot sandwiches such as panini. Its intense flavor makes it the perfect pairing for cheese and meat.


Arugula blends well with hearty grains and small pasta such as couscous, farro, whole wheat couscous, and wild rice.

What to Do With Arugula

As we’ve already established, arugula is a versatile vegetable you can use in different ways. Here are some top tips on the things to do with arugula:

Arugula Gimlet

Arugula Gimlet is a pleasant-tasting and refreshing cocktail ideal for summer and spring. You make the cocktail using gin, simple syrup, fresh lime juice, and arugula. The arugula gives the gimlet cocktail a unique and spicy flavor that makes it refreshing and flavorful.  

Bitter Greens With Crispy Shallots and Parmesan

This salad recipe is available on websites offering recipes for dishes with arugula. It includes Parmesan cheese, crispy shallots, and bitter greens such as arugula and radicchio. Combine honey, vinegar, and shallot oil to make the dressing.

Braised Spiced Chicken Wraps

The ingredients you need for this delicacy include skinless, boneless chicken thighs, arugula, onions, sumac, pomegranate seeds, baharat, and olive oil. Coat the chicken with a mixture of onion, oilve oil, salt, baht, and sumac, and bake in the oven. Top the chicken wraps with arugula and other ingredients of your preference.

Carrot Pancakes With Salted Yogurt

This is another excellent recipe for those looking for different uses for arugula. You’ll need grated carrots, large eggs, chopped fresh cilantro, spicy greens, and chickpea flour. Once you prepare the pancakes, serve them with salted yogurt and a salad containing spicy greens, oil, and lemon juice.

Grilled Chicken With Arugula and Warm Chickpeas

Grilled chicken with arugula and warm chickpeas is a delectable and healthy meal you can prepare effortlessly. It is an ideal meal for any night of the week. The meal is full of protein and fiber, and arugula’s peppery flavor gives it a palatable taste.

Steak and Arugula Salad

This is one of the most mouthwatering and healthy dishes with arugula that you can prepare with simple ingredients. The salad consists of grilled or seared steak, shaved Parmesan cheese, and baby arugula. Lastly, dress with olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice.

Arugula salad with lemon


The versatility of arugula makes it an excellent addition to most dishes. You can take it raw in salads or consume it cooked based on your recipe.

Fortunately, numerous websites have guidelines on what to do with arugula. However, the guidelines are flexible. Feel free to try different variations to add a personal touch to your dish with arugula.