Have you tried to cook with arugula? And what is arugula? It is a pungent, peppery salad green also known as rocket; a member of the Brassicaceae family. It is very high in nutrition. Arugula is easy to grow in a Louisiana garden and flourishes during the winter months. That means I have a nice supply. I brought this Arugula and Penne Pasta Salad with homemade olive oil salad dressing to a pot luck dinner last week.
Several years ago, I had never heard of arugula. Our garden center had little arugula seedlings for transplanting. I like growing new vegetables in my garden and purchased some of the plants. They grew so well that I planted the greens from a seed packet the following year.
Now I plant the seeds every autumn and early spring. Arugula is a cool weather crop. These seeds were planted in October; they grew slowly all winter and this month (February) they shot up. This is called “bolting” when the plant starts to grow quickly and flower. The leaves becomes bitter. So the remedy to this is to cut the leaves frequently before the weather becomes too warm for the plants to grow.
Nutritional Value of Arugula
Arugula comes from the Mediterranean region and has been grown since Roman times where it was known as an aphrodisiac. There are apparently two kinds of Arugula: Diphotaxis tenuifolia, known as perennial wall rocket and a bitter plant and Eruca sativa, which is the popular a salad green. Arugula is also known as salad rocket, rucula, rocket, roquette, and rucolaand. It is often included in the salad mix called mesclun greens.
Arugula is in the brassicaceae family. It is a cruciferous vegetable and provides the same nutritional value as other brassicaceae family vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and Brussels sprouts. The sulfur-containing compounds contain antioxidants which have cancer prevention value and treatment of chronic diseases. Arugula is high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin A and folate and provides small amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and manganese.
Arugula has a pungent and peppery taste. It has many uses and can be combined with other greens in a salad, served with pasta or sauteed and served with fish or chicken. It is a favorite in Italian cuisine used in pizza, pasta, pesto and soups.
Arugula and Penne Pasta Salad
I combined the arugula greens with mezze penne pasta and other condiments for a dish to bring to my job and a “Sunday, Funday” pot luck meal. I needed a quick and easy recipe which could be refrigerated overnight. Mezze penne pasta is a bite size form of penne pasta and works well for a salad.
Red onion has a milder and sweeter flavor than yellow onion and I like to add it to pasta salads. I had several jars of condiments available and decided to add these to the salad; this also made the salad preparation quicker and easier. Roasted red pepper strips, sweet banana peppers and olives added zip to this Italian salad along with the peppery arugula greens.
For the salad dressing, I made a simple olive oil salad dressing which is added at the last minute. I like to mix olive oil and canola oil for a milder flavor. With such flavorful salad ingredients, the salad dressing can somewhat bland. I added red wine vinegar and just a small amount of Dijon mustard, salt and white pepper.Pour the ingredients into a carafe and shake well before adding to the salad.
I love pasta salads and eat them on a regular basis. By adding a variety of vegetables and greens they become a healthy meal-in-one. This recipe is flexible–mix and match different types of pasta such as corkscrew, macaroni, shell and add chicken or tuna; vary the vegetable and condiment additions. I usually use the same olive oil dressing. And now I have a new ingredient for these salads–arugula from my garden!
Arugula and Penne Pasta Salad with Olive Oil Dressing by MayleesKitchen
Arugula and Penne Pasta Salad:
- 8 oz dry mezze penne pasta
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups loosely chopped arugula
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- 1/4 cup sliced green olives with pimentos, drained
- 1/2 cup deli sliced roasted red pepper strips, drained
- 3 sweet banana wax peppers, seeded and sliced
Olive Oil Salad Dressing:
- 1/2 oilve oil
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
Method and Steps:
- Bring 2 – 3 quarts of water to boil in large pot. Add salt.
- Add the mezze penne pasta to the boiling water. Boil for 9 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from stove, drain pasta though colander. Let pasta cool to room temperature.
- Transfer pasta to large bowl. Add arugula, red onion, sliced green olives, roasted red peppers strips and banana wax peppers. Mix to combine. Chill until ready to serve.
- For the salad dressing, combine olive oil, canola oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt and white pepper in a carafe with a tight fitting lid. Shake well until combined.
- When ready to serve, mix olive oil salad dressing into salad or serve salad dressing on the side.
Enjoy the salad!
Eruca Sativa //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eruca_sativa
Arugula: Health Benefits, Facts Research by Megan Ware LDN LD Wed 13 January 2016 //www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/282769.php © 2004-2016 All rights reserved. MNT is the registered trade mark of MediLexicon International Limited.