Eat Your Greens! (A Guide) - Arugula

If you want to take just one step towards a healthier lifestyle, start adding more leafy green vegetables into your diet. As I've mentioned previously, greens give you energy!  They also fight disease and help you lose weight. 

Okay, that all sounds well and good, but not pumped about eating salads every meal? Good news: you don't have to! In fact, you never have to eat salad if you don't want to. Totally turned off by the sound of a green smoothie? That's okay. I'm here to help you find out what types of greens you DO like and how to prepare them so YOU enjoy eating them.

Over the next few weeks I am going to be shining the spotlight on some different types of greens and easy ways to enjoy these nutrient powerhouses.  In case you missed it, we've already covered collard greens and kale

Do you like pepper and spice? If so, arugula is the green for you!  Also known as rocket (cool!) and rucola, this zesty leaf packs a serious flavor and nutrient punch.   Arugula contains very high nitrate levels, which has been shown to help lower blood pressure and increase athletic performance.  It is also rich in certain phytochemicals that help prevent certain cancers.  Like collards and kale, it is packed with Vitamins A, C, and K. 

image via getfit.jillianmichaels.com

image via getfit.jillianmichaels.com

Like with kale, the "baby" arugula has a more mild taste.  Try mixing baby arugula into your salads or add to sandwiches, or add sautéed arugula to pastas and grain dishes.  

Need some more inspiration for how to eat arugula?  Here are some easy recipes to start with:

- Asparagus and Arugula Pasta Salad - The perfect spring pasta dish!  Omit the cheese or sub cashew cheese to make this dish vegan.  

- Eggplant, Pepper, and Arugula Tortilla Pizza - A super quick, yet super healthy take on pizza.  This recipe calls for babaganoush, which is a dip made from roasted eggplant.  There are instructions in the recipe on how to make your own, but you could easily buy pre-made babaganoush or substitute your favorite hummus.  

- Mushroom, Lentil, and Lemon Salad - This dish pairs hearty mushrooms and lentils with bright lemon and arugula for a perfectly balanced plate.  It would come together in a snap if you cooked the lentils in advance. 

- Superfood Pesto - A nut and dairy free pesto, that tastes just as good (if not better) than the classic!  This recipe calls for spirulina, which you could easily omit if you do not have on hand or do not want to buy.  It also calls for nutritional yeast, which is essential to the recipe.  Nutritional yeast is an ingredient often used in vegan recipes to create a "cheesy" flavor.  You can find it  at any Whole Foods or health foods store - it's a stellar ingredient to have in your healthy kitchen. 

- Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad with Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette - All I can say is YUM. I love the idea of pairing spicy arugula with sweet beets and crunchy roasted nuts.  Plus the dressing sounds incredible on its own, and easy to whip up! I can't wait to try this!

 

Have you tried arugula yet?  How have you liked it?  Which of the above recipes sounds best to you?

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