The etiquette rules on how to serve and eat arugula. Tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest and avoid any embarrassment.

What arugula etiquette is

Arugula etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and eat arugula. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect your hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow the etiquette to serve arugula to your guests appropriately.

As a guest, respect the etiquette rules to properly eat arugula at the dining table and avoid offending your hosts or embarrassing yourself.

how to serve and eat arugula

What you should know about arugula

Arugula (Eruca sativa) is a leafy green vegetable in the Brassicaceae family, also known as rocket or roquette.

Arugula has small, elongated leaves that are deeply lobed with a slightly toothed edge. The leaves are dark green with a slightly peppery and bitter taste, similar to mustard greens.

Etiquette rules to serve and eat arugula

1) How to store arugula

Arugula is best stored in the fridge at a temperature between 32-40°F (0-4°C). To store arugula in the pantry, place it in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel and store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Arugula can also be frozen for up to 3 months, but it may lose some of its texture and flavor. In the fridge, arugula can last for up to 7 days, and in the pantry for up to 3 days.

Sliced or cooked arugula should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge and consumed within 2-3 days.

2) How to clean arugula

To clean the arugula, rinse it under cold running water and gently pat it dry with a paper towel or a salad spinner. There are no significant risks associated with cleaning arugula.

Arugula that has turned bad will have wilted or slimy leaves with a foul odor.

3) How to prepare & cook arugula

Arugula can be eaten raw or cooked. To prepare the arugula for cooking, wash and dry it thoroughly, remove any tough stems, and chop it into bite-sized pieces. Arugula can be sautéed, stir-fried, or used in soups and stews. Common utensils for cooking arugula include a chef’s knife, cutting board, and sauté pan.

Arugula is often used in salads, sandwiches, and as a topping for pizzas. It is also commonly used in Italian dishes, such as pasta, risotto, and pesto.

Arugula is great in salads and sandwiches, and can also be used to make pesto or blended into a smoothie. It is suitable for vegan, keto, and paleo diets.

4) How to serve & present arugula

Arugula is appropriate for a variety of occasions, including formal and informal meals, as well as breakfast, brunch, and snack times. It can be served as a side dish, main course, appetizer, or even in dessert.

To serve arugula, it is best to present it on a plate or bowl at room temperature. Use salad tongs or a fork and knife to serve it. There are no specific serving tools required for arugula.

You can season arugula with olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.

5) Food and wine to pair arugula with

Arugula pairs well with a variety of flavors, including garlic, mustard, and citrus. It also pairs well with fruits such as strawberries, pears, and apples. Vegetables that pair well with arugula include roasted beets, cherry tomatoes, and roasted sweet potatoes. It is best to avoid pairing arugula with overly sweet or bitter vegetables.

Arugula goes well with cheese and dairy, particularly goat cheese, feta cheese, and Parmesan cheese. It also pairs well with cream and yogurt-based dressings. Avoid pairing arugula with very strong or pungent cheeses.

Arugula goes well with both meat and fish. It pairs particularly well with grilled steak, roasted chicken, and grilled fish such as salmon or tuna. However, it may not pair well with some stronger flavored meats such as lamb.

Arugula pairs well with a variety of wines and beverages. For red wine, a lighter-bodied wine such as Pinot Noir or Beaujolais pairs well, while heavy-bodied reds like Cabernet Sauvignon may overwhelm the delicate flavor of arugula. For white wine, a crisp and dry wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio is a good match. Arugula also pairs well with sparkling wine and rosé. As for other beverages, arugula can be paired with light beers, herbal teas, and citrus-based cocktails.

6) How to eat arugula

When eating arugula, it is polite to use a fork and knife. It is not considered polite to eat it with your fingers. You should eat the entire arugula leaf, including the stem.

Arugula etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. Read more about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the most common arugula etiquette mistakes:

  • 6/10. Mixing arugula with a heavy dressing that masks its delicate flavor

Additional information for properly serving arugula

How many calories per serving?

Counting calories is important to stay healthy and correctly plan a menu.

Arugula is very low in calories, with only 5 calories per 1 cup serving (20 grams). A single arugula leaf contains less than 1 calorie.

How to buy the best arugula

A crucial factor in arugula etiquette is serving your guests the best product possible.

Season and availability 

Arugula is available all year round, but it is at its best from late spring to early fall.

Choose the best

Arugula is most commonly found fresh in grocery stores, although it can also be found canned or frozen.

The most popular varieties of arugula include Wild Rocket, Roquette, and Sylvetta. Wild Rocket is the most prized variety, known for its strong, peppery flavor.

When buying arugula, look for fresh, crisp leaves that are a vibrant green color. Avoid arugula with yellowing or wilting leaves, as this indicates that it is past its prime.

Alternatives to arugula

Some common alternatives to arugula include spinach, kale, watercress, and mixed greens. These greens all have a similar texture and are often interchangeable with arugula in recipes.