Arugula or Rocket? This green is known by both names and is widely used in Italian and European cuisines. Rocket is another name for arugula and it is a tender green that has a unique peppery flavor and is a fun way to mix up a salad from your traditional greens. I have begun to use this tender green more than ever this year and I have enjoyed finding so many yummy ways to prepare it.
Today I have one of those recipes for you to try – this weekend would be a perfect opportunity! It is gluten free, and could be nut and dairy free if you put the nuts and feta on the side. Invite your family over or those friends you keep meaning to get together with and give this salad a spin on the table. It pairs great with cedar planked salmon or would even be a nice starter for a perfectly grilled steak!
I love the tender yet spicy leaves of the rocket which pair so well with the bright flavors of the grapefruit and the citrus dressing. The fennel adds another interesting flavor that is surprisingly mellow in smaller slices and the creamy avocado and crunchy sweet/spicy nuts round it all out that makes you keep coming back for more. I could make a meal out just this salad – it is that good! The feta is optional but I think is goes really well if you would like to add it. Don’t be put off by how many ingredients there are, the first 11 are for the dressing and you just add to one bowl and whisk together. I promise it is easy and it is so satisfying to prepare something so delicious in your own kitchen!
In Roman times Arugula was grown for both its leaves and the seed. The seed was used for flavoring oils. On another interesting note, Rocket or Arugula seed has been used as an ingredient in aphrodisiac concoctions dating back to the first century, AD. (Cambridge World History of Food). So you can see this green has been around for a while and has many uses!
Like most salad greens, Arugula is very low in calories and is high in vitamins A and C. A 1/2 cup serving is two calories so you can enjoy this dish and still wear your bathing suit this summer! Bonus!!!
|Rocket, Ruby Grapefruit, Fennel, and Avocado Salad|
- 1/4 c. fresh orange juice
- 2 T. fresh lemon juice
- 2 T. Seasoned rice vinegar
- 3 T. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 T. honey
- 1 T. shallot, minced
- 1 t. lemon zest
- 1 t. orange zest
- 1 t. fresh ginger, minced or puree from tube
- 1 t. dry mustard
- 1 t. sesame oil
- 1 large ruby grapefruit, peel and white pith removed
- 1 c. fennel bulbs, trimmed and cut into paper thin slices, toss with 1 T. lemon juice
- 1 large avocado
- 1/4 c. feta, crumbled (optional)
- 5 c. arugula
- 2 lbs. pecans, whole
- 2 T. rosemary, fresh and minced
- 1 t. cayenne or to taste
- 2-3 T. dark brown sugar or to taste
- 3 t. kosher salt
- 3 T. butter, melted
- Salad instructions: Whisk the first 11 ingredients in a bowl to blend. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Using a sharp knife, cut in-between the membranes of grapefruit to release the segments.
- In a large bowl add arugula, drizzle just enough dressing to coat and toss.
- Arrange arugula on plates and top with grapefruit segments, sliced avocado, feta, fennel, and crushed rosemary pecans.
- Nuts instructions: Preheat the oven to 350 °. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Whisk the minced rosemary, cayenne, brown sugar, salt and melted butter together.
- Toss the pecans so the spice mixture coats evenly.
- Place the nuts in one layer on an ungreased baking sheet and roast in the oven until fragrant and lightly golden brown, about 15-20 minutes or until the nuts are toasted and sugar is bubbly. Be careful not to burn the sugar.
- Remove the hot nuts from the oven and let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
This recipe will leave you with extra salad dressing so just place extra in jar in the fridge for another day.
You will also have lots of extra nuts, feel free to cut the recipe in half but they are delish just as a snack or given as hostess gifts when you go to all those summer parties and picnics.
If you don’t make the nuts the prep time for this recipe is minimal and can be prepared in 10-15 minutes.