What to Do With Arugula

Arugula Salad with Apple Vinaigrette
Arugula and Pear Salad
Arugula, Orange and Red Onion Salad
Arugula, Orange and Fennel Salad
Grilled Fig and Arugula Salad
Arugula and Red Pepper Pesto
Arugula and Olive Pesto
Linguine with Arugula, Pine Nuts and Parmesan Cheese
Spaghetti and Olives with Wilted Arugula

Arugula, a peppery salad green, has been widely used in Italy since ancient Roman times. It was virtually unknown in the United States until the 1970s when it, along with other exotic mesclun greens from the Mediterranean region, such as radicchio and mache, caught the wave of interest in the new style of seasonal cooking known as California cuisine – and rode that wave into the mainstream American diet.


My favorite use or arugula is the last recipe on this list, and one of the simplest: spaghetti sauted in olive oil with garlic and briny ingredients, tossed piping hot with a whole lot of fresh arugula. The apple vinaigrette in the first recipe is something else that I’ve made regularly for years. It’s easy to whip up a jar, and it is good on spinach as well as arugula.

– Mark Thompson

This is an excellent dressing for an arugula and/or spinach salad. For more layers of flavor complexity, add walnuts and/or feta cheese and/or crumbled bacon.

Apple Vinaigrette  [top]

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons grated sweet or purple onion
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup finely chopped apple

1. Whisk together sugar, vinegar, onion, mustard, salt, oil, and apple, or pulse a few times in blender.
2. Refrigerate salad greens and dressing separately until serving time.


Arugula and Pear Salad  [top]

2 tablespoons minced shallot
3 tablespoons vegetable broth
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 firm red Bartlett pears
5 cups butterhead lettuce (Bibb or Boston)
washed, dried and torn into bite-size pieces
4 cups arugula, trimmed, washed and dried

1. To prepare dressing, whisk shallots, broth, oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

2. To prepare salad, toast walnuts in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool.

3. Just before serving, cut pears into 16 slices each. Place in a large bowl. Spoon on 1 tablespoon of the dressing and toss to coat. Add lettuce, arugula and the remaining dressing; toss well. Divide among 8 plates. Top with walnuts.

Arugula, Orange and Red Onion Salad   [top]

2 bunches arugula, washed and trimmed
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 large navel oranges, peel and white pith removed, cut into segments
8 very thin slices red onion, separated into rings
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Drizzle the arugula with half of the olive oil and the lemon juice; toss to coat and divide among 4 salad plates.

2. Arrange the orange segments and onions on top, dividing evenly. Drizzle with remaining oil and season with black pepper.

Arugula, Orange and Fennel Salad   [top]

1 large fennel bulb
1 red onion, shaved paper thin
2 cup mandarin orange segments
6 bunches fresh arugula
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (optional)

1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon turbinado or other brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Trim off the top off the fennel bulb. Slice the fennel and onion paper thin.

3. To prepare the vinaigrette, combine ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk.

4. Toss the arugula, fennel and onion with vinaigrette, divide among serving plates and top with mandarin orange slices, walnuts and, if desire, pomegranate seeds.

Grilled Fig and Arugula Salad   [top]

8 large black mission figs or 12 smaller green figs
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus extra for brushing figs
1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 lb. arugula
1/2 lb. ricotta salata, grated
1/4 lb. proscuitto, julienned
1. Rinse and trim stem end of figs and split lengthwise.

2. Whisk olive oil into 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Toss arugula with vinaigrette.

3. Lightly brush figs with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill or broil figs one minute on each side. Remove figs from heat and toss with remaining 3 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar.

4. Place figs on a bed of greens then sprinkle with cheese and Proscuitto and serve.

Arugula and Red Pepper Pesto   [top]

1/2 lb. arugula
1 1/2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar or honey
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
4 roasted red peppers
1 cup toasted piñon nuts
1 cup toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 cup olive oil

1. Blend everything together in a food processor, stopping to scrape sides and processing again. We like the pesto rich, salty and oily. A few cloves of sweet roasted garlic are a nice addition.

2. Older arugula can be bitter; this pesto can be cut with fresh spinach for milder flavor.

3. Spread on pizza crust, and top with cheese & veggies; toss with hot pasta (ziti is a particularly good vehicle); add to sour cream for a dip. You can freeze the pesto in greased ice cube trays for easy-access portions.

Arugula and Olive Pesto   [top]

3 cups arugula
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small clove garlic, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup coarsely chopped kalamata or other oil-cured black olives
1/4 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese

1. Place all ingredients except cheese in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

2. Transfer mixture to a small bowl and stir in the cheese. Taste for seasonings adding salt or pepper as desired.

Makes enough sauce for one pound of pasta.

Linguine with Arugula, Pine Nuts and Parmesan Cheese  [top]

1 pound linguine
1/2 cup olive oil
4 ounces arugula, trimmed
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
additional freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Cook linguine in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add arugula and stir until just wilted, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat.

3. Drain pasta and return to pot. Add arugula and toss well. Add 1 cup Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste; toss well.

4. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with pine nuts. Serve immediately, adding additional Parmesan, if desired.

Spaghetti with Olives and Wilted Arugula   [top]

2 bunches arugula
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 lb. of spaghetti, cooked
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 cup kalamata or other briny olives, chopped
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts (optional)
chopped broccoli or other vegetable (optional)
minced anchovies or thinly sliced sausage (optional)

1. Wash the arugula, spin dry, and tear into bite-sized pieces. The volume of arugula should at least equal the volume of cooked spaghetti, though you may want to use less if the arugula is mature and pungent and more if you have mild, baby arugula. Place arugula in a large bowl and sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top.

2. Heat olive oil in large skillet or wok, add sliced garlic and sizzle for a few seconds, then toss in cold, cooked spaghetti. Stir chopped olives into the spaghetti when it is thoroughly heated and cook for several more minutes. An array of other ingredients may be added or substituted in this recipe, ranging from sun-dried tomatoes and broccoli to anchovies and sausage. Start sauteing items that need more cooking time first, and cook for as long as necessary before adding the garlic.

3. Add hot spaghetti to the bowl of arugula and toss well. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese.