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Hawthorn’s Healthy Kitchen: Let’s Talk Arugula! by Dr. Andrea Pryce, N.D. (Hawthorn Faculty)

Welcome to Hawthorn’s Healthy Kitchen! Most people can agree that sound nutrition provides an essential foundation to ultimate health and longevity, however learning about various healthy food options, their health benefits, and more importantly how to use them in the kitchen can be extremely daunting! That’s where we come in! Join us as we learn more about this spicy little rocket known as arugula!

Introduction to Arugula

Eruca sativa, commonly known as Arugula, has been around for a very long time. It is mentioned throughout several ancient literary works including several religious texts such as the Old Testament (Book of Kings), Mishna, and the Talmud as well as poetry by renowned Roman poet Virgil. The leafy green with a peppery kick also appears in the first scientific encyclopedia, the History Naturalia, penned by Pliny the Elder. His many observations on the effects and benefits of arugula included its use as an anesthetizing agent and aphrodisiac.

Commonly known outside the United States as rocket, roquette, or rucola, arugula is widely eaten in Europe. Arugula is favored for its nutty, peppery flavor and has culinary use as both a vegetable and an herb. It is ideally suited for fresh and lightly cooked applications including sautéing, blanching, and stir-frying. As a fresh, uncooked green, it is commonly added at the end of cooked dishes like floated on top of soups, layered into sandwiches and burgers, used as a pizza topping, or stirred into cooked pasta dishes or omelets.

Where does arugula come from?

Though lesser known than its popular cousins broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, arugula is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family. Arugula is native to the Mediterranean region with its blossoms and leaves serving as popular ingredients in the cuisines of many countries in the region including Italy, Morocco, Portugal and Turkey.

Arugula grows quickly in temperate climates. The smooth, bright green leaves with prominent veins and frilly edges are typically harvested when they are fairly small, averaging around 7-10cm in length. The flavor of arugula can vary with the level of maturity at which it was harvested. Arugula leaves that are picked young tend to have a more tender texture and a mild, sweet flavor If harvested at a more mature stage, the more distinct peppery, slightly bitter, earthy taste with notes of mustard, nuts, and grass is prominently developed. The leaves should be wrapped and can be stored for around 2-3 days in the refrigerator. Arugula leaves should be washed thoroughly before using.

What nutrients does arugula contain?

Arugula is a powerhouse of nutrition, but very low in calories. A 1/2 cup serving of arugula is just 2 calories. It is an excellent source of vitamins like A, C, and K, as well as many B vitamins (riboflavin, thiamin, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, and folate). The frilly little leaves also contain a wide array of both major and trace minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, copper, zinc, and manganese. Like many other cruciferous vegetables, arugula also contains glucosinolates which support detoxification pathways as well as contribute to the bitter, pungent flavor of the green itself.

What medical conditions/symptoms can arugula help with?

(Click item for a direct link to supporting research!)

Minimize cancer risk

Protect bone health

Support healthy blood sugar levels

Promote eye health

Reduce cardiovascular disease and mortality

Try out arugula at home with these delicious and nutritious recipes!

Arugula Pesto


  • 1 cup of pistachios unsalted
  • 2 cups of arugula packed
  • 1/2 cup of fresh parsley
  • Zest from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup grape seed oil more if you like your pesto thinner
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese


  1. Combine your dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.
  2. Add oil and lemon juice and blend until completely mixed and smooth.
  3. Taste to see if you need more salt. Add more oil if desirable.
  4. Keep refrigerated, in an air-tight container.

Thank you to for the amazing recipe!

Spinach Arugula Breakfast Hash


  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 4 cups diced sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 1/2 white or yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups mix of spinach & arugula
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 4 eggs
  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. Add the oil plus diced potatoes and onions to a large skillet. (I use a 12″ skillet to accommodate everything.)
  2. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Sauté on medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until sides of potatoes have browned and onions are tender. This can take up to 10 minutes depending on your stove and the size of your potatoes. Don’t move to the next step if your potatoes are still too firm.
  4. Once your potatoes have browned and softened, reduce heat to medium.
  5. Stir in your spinach, arugula, and minced garlic.
  6. Sauté until spinach and arugula leaves are wilted, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  7. Use a spatula to create 4 holes in your hash. Crack one egg in each hole.
  8. Add salt and pepper to the tops of the eggs.
  9. Cover and reduce heat to medium.
  10. Cook until eggs are how you like them.

Our gratitude to for the wonderful recipe.

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Hawthorn welcomes new faculty member Andrea M Pryce, ND!Andrea Pryce, N.D., received her baccalaureate degree from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and is a 2006 graduate of Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona. Following completion of her N.D. degree she went into private practice in Scottsdale, Arizona. She has a strong background in biomedical research with significant experience in both bench top and field research. She has worked as a bench top research associate performing genetic oncology assays for a major biomedical research foundation. Additionally, she served as a project coordinator for a homeopathy study co-conducted by the Southwest College Research Institute and the University of Arizona’s Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. She maintains a research interest in the epigenetics and nutrigenomics particularly as they relate to oncology. In 2009, she moved to Florida and began working at Life Extension in Fort Lauderdale where she was Medical Editor for their monthly magazine. Dr. Pryce joined the faculty at Hawthorn University in April of 2014 and also serves on the faculty of Everglades University. She has recently joined the team at the Integrative Health Institute in Boca Raton, Florida.