In the past four years, arugula has seen a 34% increase on American menus, linking up perfectly with the rise of “crispy” and “fresh” menu items in 2018. The veggie is seemingly tailor made for recent food trends too; popping up as an unconventional pizza topping, avocado toast add-on, and salad base due to its unique flavor and approachable texture. We wouldn’t count out the growing vegan scene as an underlying factor in arugula’s growth either; since 2014, veganism has risen nearly 600%, with 6% of all Americans claiming to maintain a vegan lifestyle. While new eating habits and popular trends are undoubtably linked to arugula’s popularity, we’d argue that the peppery leaf’s staying power truly lies in its versatility, nutritional profile and ease of use.
Beyond first glance, arugula holds a powerful place in the produce world. Crisp, peppery, and with a touch of heat, arugula holds up exceptionally well in both sweet and savory dishes. Refreshing recipes like Taylor Farm’s “Arugula Cauliflower Pearls & Barley Soup” and “Arugula Roasted Corn Bowl” are clear examples of the flexible flavor profiles you can use with arugula, proving that you’re only limited to your imagination. This isn’t to say that traditionalists will be left out however, as there are a ton of different ways to spice up a traditional arugula salad. Due to its rewarding flavor profile, arugula pairs well with a variety of ingredients ranging from sharp cheeses to seasonal fruits, allowing you the chance to experiment without fear of failure.
Arugula doesn’t leave you hanging in the nutrition department either. Similar to other leafy greens, arugula is a nutrient dense food, meaning that it packs a powerful punch despite its small size. Each serving is an excellent source of antioxidant and crucial vitamins and minerals like calcium, potassium and vitamin C while still maintaining a low calorie count. When combined with its intriguing flavor, this adds up to a vegetable that feels “green” without sacrificing taste.
Finally, we’d argue that the current popularity of arugula comes from its user-friendly status in the kitchen. Even when taken directly from the farmer’s market, arugula isn’t particularly hard to select and store, often lasting weeks at a time before spoiling. However, when you use game-changing products like those found in Taylor Farm’s baby leaf line, arugula becomes an absolute dream to work with. Requiring zero additional prep, their arugula is easily accessible and unquestionably delicious, saving you time and effort in the kitchen. It’s true what they say, chefs do make the world go round, but arugula helps it keep spinning.