Arugula is one of my touchstone ingredients. If it is featured on a menu, I will invariably order whatever it is on, I throw handfuls of it on pizza (even ordinary delivery versions), and have been known to eat it straight from the bag. Don’t get me started about how spectacular it tastes with fresh figs…
I’m weird, I know. But something about the peppery-bitter freshness of the greens does me in, every time.
Here’s the one problem: arugula needs to be used promptly or else it will soon turn limp, slimy, brown, or all of the above.
The solution: make a creamy, verdant spread that can be used on pizza, sandwiches, crackers, as a dip, and more. It keeps for at least a week and it can be frozen for up to 2 months. I particularly love it as a spread for open-face tartines, like this:
The ingredients are minimal, and the result is something of a cross between a pesto and a loose hummus. You can use any variety of arugula, but I had a bag of baby arugula on hand; it’s flavor is less pungent than regular arugula.
A happy bonus: arugula is a superfood surprise. In particular, it is very high in Vitamin K, which is essential for calcium regulation (i.e., it helps get the mineral into your bones and keeps it there. It is also rich in antioxidants, such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C (great for your skin), lutein (for eye health), as well as B vitamins and folate. All for 6 calories per cup. Not too shabby.
Some olive oil, garlic, walnuts and lemon are likely already in your pantry…
White beans lend creaminess while keeping the oil (and overall cost) under control. I find they lend some umami flavor to the spread, despite there being no cheese in the recipe.
- 6 cups (moderately packed) arugula
- ¾ cup canned white beans (e.g., Great Northern or cannellini), drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped walnuts
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 3 tablespoons water, plus more as needed
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more as needed
- Sriracha to taste
- Place all of the ingredients except the sriracha into a food processor or high speed blender. Process until smooth. adding a small amount more water as needed until a spreadable consistency.
- Season to taste with sriracha and additional salt as desired.
- Use s a sandwich/tartine spread, dip, topping/spread for pizza, pasta sauce, or anything else that sutis your fancy.