How to Cook Arugula

With its spicy, bold taste, raw arugula is often added to salads to punch up the flavor, but the leafy green can also be eaten cooked. Sautéed or steamed, cooked arugula delivers an impressive dose of vitamins A and K, contains no fat and is very low in calories. Once cooked, arugula can be eaten as a nutritious side dish or incorporated into a variety of recipes to boost the nutritional value and enhance the taste.

Steamed Arugula

Step 1

Cut the stems and any yellow leaves off a bunch of washed arugula leaves with a sharp knife. Discard the stems.

Step 2

Fill the bottom of a saucepan with an inch or two of water and place the arugula leaves into the pan.

Step 3

Cover the saucepan with a tight-fitting lid and place the pan over medium-high heat.

Step 4

Bring the water in the bottom of the saucepan to a boil, and then immediately remove the arugula from the heat. This will prevent the leaves from getting slimy and overcooked.

Step 5

Drain the water from the saucepan, transfer it to a serving platter and serve the steamed arugula with a drizzle of olive oil and your favorite herbs and spices.

Sauteed Arugula

Step 1

Cut the stems and any wilted or yellow leaves off a bunch of washed arugula.

Step 2

Heat olive oil in a skillet set over medium heat.

Step 3

Gently lay the arugula leaves in the hot oil and sprinkle the leaves with your favorite herbs and spices.

Step 4

Stir the arugula leaves frequently using a slotted spoon.

Step 5

Remove the skillet from the heat as soon as the leaves are wilted and have turned a vivid green color.

Step 6

Transfer the sautéed arugula leaves to a serving platter and season them however you wish. A squirt of lemon juice will enhance the flavor, too.

Things You'll Need

  • Washed arugula

  • Cutting board

  • Sharp knife

  • Saucepan with a lid

  • Colander

  • Serving platter

  • Olive oil

  • Herbs and spices

  • Skillet

  • Slotted spoon

  • Lemon


Arugula must be washed thoroughly before you cook it. Cut off the stems and remove any yellowed or wilting leaves from the bunch of arugula. Place the leaves in a bowl of cold water and swirl the arugula around to loosen any dirt and soil stuck to the leaves. Drain the leaves and spread them on a paper towel to dry.

Use steamed or sautéed arugula in a variety of recipes including soup, stew, risotto, casseroles and scrambled eggs.


Arugula is quite perishable, according to Aliza Green, author of "Starting With Ingredients: Quintessential Recipes for the Way We Really Cook." Use the leafy green within two or three days after purchasing it, and pull off any yellow or wilting leaves before cooking because these can taste unpleasantly bitter. Don't use bruised leaves either, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends.

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