Put the spinach aside and tell kale to take a hike! This season’s hottest side dish is sauteed arugula, packed with goodness, and just as delicious.
I’m always trying to find new and tasty ways to integrate leafy greens into my recipes. Whether it’s hiding them in plain sight or making them the star attraction of the dish. With its distinctive peppery taste, sautéed arugula is categorized alongside Brussels sprouts, kale, and broccoli. And these are vegetable superfoods that are great for your body.
Though some people might be put off by cooked arugula, my recipe is packed full of flavor and makes cooking arugula quick and easy. Sauteed arugula – or rocket, as it’s also known – is one of the quickest and easiest ways to cook arugula.
Sauteed arugula also has a myriad of health benefits thanks to its reputation as a superfood. Naturally low calorie, it’s also high in many essential nutrients.
How to Make Sauteed Arugula
This quick and easy recipe will become your new favorite.
What You Need for Sauteed Arugula
For my arugula recipe, you’ll need:
- Arugula: You can use baby arugula or regular arugula – both are great to cook with.
- Garlic: I love adding lots of garlic as it is so flavorful. For this recipe, I’ve only used 2 cloves but feel free to adjust to taste.
- Olive oil: I prefer to use extra virgin, but you can replace it with butter.
- Lemon juice: A great ingredient for bringing brightness to wilted arugula. Lime juice will also work in a pinch.
- Salt and black pepper: Flavor, to taste. You can also add other seasonings and herbs if you like – basil, fennel, mint, parsley, and cilantro all work well.
- Pine nuts: These are optional, but a great way to add crunch to sauteed arugula. Alternatively, add some chopped walnuts.
How to Cook Arugula
Before you cook the greens, arugula needs to be washed well under running water. Then pat dry or use a salad spinner to dry the leaves. Peel and thinly slice the garlic as well.
To cook your arugula, begin by heating the oil in a skillet. On low to medium heat, add the garlic and fry until golden (just 1-2 minutes). Carefully scoop it out and set it aside.
Using the same oil, fry the pine nuts until golden. This won’t take long (about 1-2 minutes) – pine nuts tend to burn easily if left to cook for too long, so keep an eye on them. Remove the pine nuts from the pan and set aside.
Add the arugula to the sauce pan for a few minutes. You’ll need to watch the cooking arugula carefully so it doesn’t burn or wilt too much. Continue to cook the sauteed arugula until it’s wilted – this happens quickly (just about 2-3 minutes). You can use tongs to stir.
Remove the sauteed arugula from the pan and transfer it into a serving dish. Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice, then add salt and pepper to taste. Top with the toasted garlic and pine nuts.
You can also add further seasoning for flavor – I love to use red pepper flakes to bring a greater flavor to the arugula.
What to Serve with Sauteed Arugula
Sauteed arugula works great as a side dish just on its own, but its deep flavor also means it’s a great compliment to other dishes:
- Pair with a filet of your favorite fish – go for one that has a subtle flavor, like salmon or salted cod.
- Enjoy it alongside a simple roast chicken along with some roasted potatoes, fries, or oven-roasted carrots.
- Use it to add vegetable goodness to your everyday pasta dishes. Swap out the spinach in my baked feta and mushroom pasta for arugula. Or integrate it with the simple flavors of an Italian Aglio e Olio. Or add it to an easy weeknight dinner in my vegetarian one-pot pasta bake.
- You can also top your favorite pizza or sandwiches with it for extra nutrition.
If you try this recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!
Sauteed Arugula Recipe
- Wash the arugula well under running water. Pat dry or use a salad spinner to dry it. Also, peel and thinly slice the garlic.
- Heat the oil in a skillet. On low to medium heat, add the garlic and fry until golden (1-2 minutes). Carefully scoop it out and set it aside.
- Using the same oil, fry the pine nuts until golden. This won't take long (just 1-2 minutes) – pine nuts tend to burn easily, so keep an eye on them. Remove the pine nuts from the pan and set aside.
- Add the arugula to the skillet for a few minutes. Cook until it's wilted this happens quickly (just about 2-3 minutes). But keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn or wilt too much. Use tongs to stir.
- Remove the sauteed arugula from the pan and transfer it into a serving dish. Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice, then add salt and pepper to taste. Top with the toasted garlic and pine nuts. Enjoy!
- Seasoning for flavor – I love to use red pepper flakes.
- Herbs – basil, fennel, mint, parsley, and cilantro all work well.
- Use butter instead of olive oil.