Post #G21-026: Bolted Arugula Soup

Posted on May 23, 2021

We’re having something of a spring heat wave on the U.S. East Coast.  Several of my cool-weather crops bolted, including a bed of arugula (a.k.a. rocket).

Once arugula has bolted, it isn’t good for much.  Conventionally, it becomes too hot and bitter for salads.

I picked it anyway, figuring it had to be good for something.  If nothing else, the neighbor’s guinea pigs like fresh greens.  I ended up with a pound and a half of arugula leaves. 

I read that cooking arugula reduces those off flavors.  The suggestion being that you can eat it cooked, after it has bolted, even if you wouldn’t want it in a salad.

I put that to the test by substituting arugula for kale in a kale-and-bean soup recipe.  The recipe is from Fat Free and Flavor Full, by Dr. Gabe Mirkin.  You can find a version of the recipe at this link, but I believe any generic white-bean-and-kale soup recipe would work.

The nice thing is that this recipe uses up a lot of greens.  I had no problem using the entire 1.5 pound of arugula, roughly chopped, along with a pound of dry pinto beans, cooked.  (And broth, onions, garlic, and so on, per the recipe in the link above).

The results were excellent.  Cooked arugula has chewy-but-not-stringy texture like that of fresh spinach.  It added its own flavor note, but not so much as to overpower the soup. As a bonus, you can freeze the soup, so you end up with a way to cook and preserve your excess of arugula.