I love the dark green color, peppery taste and crisp texture of baby arugula. It is one of those ingredients that has its own audacious personality and must be bought as fresh as possible. It is one of those love-hate greens: some love it and others cannot tolerate its assertive flavor. I embrace it for exactly what it represents, a super green that comes with its unique dose of attitude. Perhaps, living in the New York area has transformed my Midwest timidness into an appreciation for the assertive.
Baby (or wild) arugula has beautifully shaped leaves and is very low in Cholesterol. It is a good source of protein, thiamin, riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Manganese. It is simply a green with wow powers.
This baby arugula salad uses an assortment of tomatoes and red peppers. It takes slivered celery slices and some small cubed avocado. It is served with just a light drizzle of dressing so as to preserve the freshness of the baby arugula greens.
I usually try to eliminate or reduce the oil in salad dressings. I find that the spices and acid components of dressings are essential for flavor and most of the time, the oil is unnecessary or can be greatly reduced.
The dressing for this salad is best made by sprinkling the spices and drizzling the liquid ingredients directly on the vegetables right before serving. That way, the salad remains light, fresh and not weighed down by the dressing. Any additional toppings (see variations) should be sprinkled on after the dressing and then tossed right before serving.
2-4 cups of Baby or Wild Arugula, soaked, rinsed and cut/torn into bite size (see notes below)
Any combination of the the following vegetables:
peppers, any color, cut into small strips
cucumbers, scrubbed and cut into slices
small heirloom, cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
celery, cut into thin slices
Kosher salt, sprinkle generously
Coarse black pepper, just a pinch to taste
Balsamic vinegar, lightly drizzled
Olive or canola oil, lightly drizzled (optional)
Right before serving, sprinkle salt and pepper on top of vegetables. Lightly drizzle with balsamic vinegar and oil. Toss all salad ingredients together. Enjoy!
Kosher laws disallow the eating of any whole insects and therefore most greens require a process of soaking, rinsing and in some cases, pureeing. Kashrut authorities differ somewhat on the proper checking of leafy vegetables. This blog was not designed to be your kosher authority, so please consult your local rabbinic authority regarding using greens such as arugula.
For a lighter flavor, substitute cider vinegar, lemon juice or lime juice for balsamic vinegar
Add any of the following additional toppings and sprinkle on after the dressing and toss right before serving
hearts of palm, well-drained and cut into thin slices
almonds or pine nuts, chopped
Dressing may also be made in advance and refrigerated.
Serve salad with strips of grilled or fried chicken cutlets and top with spicy mayo or jalapeno dip