An arugula flower: example of the cross-shaped flowers indicative of the Cruciferous plants (now called Brasiaceae)Arugula, like other members of the Mustard family (commonly called the Crucifers/Brassicas), contains a group of anticancer compounds known as glucosinolates. These compounds, due to their antioxidant activity, help the body to detoxify. Phytochemicals, such as carotenes and chlorophyll, also make arugula an excellent source of antioxidants. In addition to being a powerful anti-cancer plant, arugula is also a boon for helping to keep your heart healthy.
After the rains come to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, the wild arugula sprouts up all over the campo near my house. When I walk my dogs, I carry a bag for foraging with me. And as I merrily consume my find, either sautéed with garlic or raw in salads, I try to imagine the good I am doing for my entire being.
Today, we may not embrace it as an aphrodisiac, as did the ancient Romans and Egyptians, but we do have sufficient research at hand to call it a super food for bones, a friend to the heart, and a cancer fighter to boot. What's not to love?
1/2 cup arugula
1/2 cup basil
1/4 cup mint
1/4 cup parsley
1 teaspoon fresh oregano or marjoram, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (variation: use lime or orange)
1 tablespoon capers
1 or 2 garlic cloves, peeled
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts or almonds
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place ingredients in food processer and blend until smooth. Add more olive oil as needed. Check and adjust seasoning.
~Use lime or orange zest instead of lemon
~Add two anchovies
~Use white wine vinegar instead of lemon juice
~Use pumpkin seeds instead of nuts
~Serve with grilled pork tenderloin
~Serve with rotisserie chicken
~Serve with fish or shrimp
~Serve with grilled halloumi or panela cheese
~Serve with goat cheese
~Add cheese (Parmesan, feta, or other) and serve over pasta such as linguine or fettuccini
~Serve over stacks of sliced fresh tomatoes and/or grilled eggplant
~Serve with roasted vegetables
~Serve over almost any cheese