Color Me Raw! Pass the Arugula!

April 13, 2013

 

PASS THE WHO? ARUGULA

 

Arugula has a long history of use dating back to biblical times. In India, arugula is not cultivated primarily as a green, but rather for the oil that can be extracted from its seed. In America, it’s been used since the days of the colonists, but only in the 90’s did it reach its current popularity, gracing high-end restaurant menus everywhere. Arugula’s strong flavor turns out to be perfect for many ingredients including beets, goat cheese, blue cheese, nuts, citrus, and olives. The possible salad combinations are endless!


 

Arugula -- a spicy, flavorsome herb with dark green, elongated leaves that resemble those of romaine -- is often mistaken for lettuce. It is actually a cruciferous vegetable, in the same family as such health-enhancing foods as broccoli and cauliflower. Its flavor has a peppery tang similar to that of watercress. Use arugula to add zest to salads or to garnish sandwiches; you can also served it steamed. No matter how it's served, arugula is a healthy dietary choice.

 

Arugula is packed with antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. It is an excellent source of vitamin A, offering up 475 IU per cup. Vitamin A, a fat-soluble antioxidant vitamin is needed for vision, bone growth, the division and differentiation of cells and proper immune function. A cup of arugula also provides 285 mcg of beta-carotene, a vitamin A precursor that turns to retinol --a natural form of vitamin A in your body. Researchers believe that these antioxidant plant pigments can help prevent macular degeneration, an age-related eye disease. Finally, a cup of arugula contains 21.7 mg of vitamin K, essential for the proper clotting of blood and maintenance of bone density. Nutrition and You reports that vitamin K limits neuronal damage in the brain, and is currently being studied for potential applications treating Alzheimer's disease.

Because the human body can't make folate, you have to obtain the required amounts of folate from foods or vitamin supplements. Because overcooking can easily wipe out folate, you must avoid overcooking arugula leaves. It is also helpful in preventing skin disorders, colds, the flu, viruses and chronic infections because it boosts your body's immunity, which helps to protect it from harmful toxins. Also, it protects people from cancer. Arugula contains an abundance of lutein, which is a potent antioxidant. As an antioxidant, lutein combats free radicals in the system.

 

Always buy arugula with the roots still attached. It will lose its zip and flavor fast enough with them on-and even faster with them off. Look for bright, tender, fresh-looking leaves with no signs of yellowing or dark spots. They should not be at all limp.

 

Toasted Turkey Cranberry Arugula Sandwich

 

Ingredients

 

• 2 slices whole grain or sprouted bread, lightly toasted (Ezekiel bread) 

• 1 1/2 teaspoons mayonnaise (optional)

• 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard or spicy mustard

• Few slices of red onions

• Several slices of cooked free range turkey breast

• 2 Tbsp cranberry sauce

• 1 handful of baby arugula leaves (washed)

 

Method

 

Toast 2 slices of whole grain or sprouted bread. Spread mustard on one slice, mayo on the other. To the slice with mustard, add the turkey breast, then the cranberry sauce, onions, then the arugula leaves. Top with the other slice of bread. Cut in half.

If you really want to get creative with this sandwich, you can grill it. I use my countertop George Forman grill to make a penne sandwich. My friends love it!

 

 

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