Pair your bitter greens with Sauvignon Blanc, the white wine for difficult veggies.

By Carl Hanson
Updated July 28, 2021
Arugula Salad with Scallops
Arugula Salad with Scallops | Photo by Meredith

For a while there, arugula had a bad rap. To admit to liking this leafy green suggested a dainty elitism. But let's be honest. People don't dislike arugula because it's wimpy; they dislike it because it's too damned assertive, too strong-flavored.

In terms of intensity of flavor, arugula exists at the exact opposite end of the salad spectrum from iceberg lettuce. Arugula is peppery. It has a bite. And like many of the folks who deride it, it's slightly bitter. By the way, it's also called rocket lettuce, which doesn't sound particularly sissified to me.

Arugula is a bold addition to salad greens, soups, and pastas. If you dare, try a little goat cheese in a salad of greens mixed with some arugula, and then proudly pair it up with Sauvignon Blanc. Look for Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, California, Chile, the Loire in France, or blends from Bordeaux (where Semillon is often added for richness).

Yes, Sauvignon Blanc, the white wine for difficult veggies; it also plays well with asparagus and artichokes and fresh, raw tomatoes. Why? Well, Sauvignon Blanc's bright acidity, herbal aromas, and grassy flavors make it very veggie friendly.

Two glasses of Sauvignon Blanc
Photo by Meredith

What Wine to Pair with Arugula and Other Bitter Greens

Sample these tasty arugula-loving recipes with a refreshing glass of Sauvignon Blanc:

"'Tartine' is the French word for a slice of bread with a topping. Spread herbed goat cheese on crusty bread and toss together beets, avocadoes and greens for an usual, beautiful meal that combines warm with cool, bitter with sweet, and creamy with crisp." -- Kat

"Sweet, nutty, and herbally aromatic, this vinaigrette complements a wide variety of dishes, and is easy to make. The sugared walnuts, nut oils, and fresh herbs dramatically open the palate for roasted meats, crisp wines, and full-bodied fare." -- Aaron

Arugula makes this unique pesto peppery and robust. "Use as a spread or on pasta. My favorite is on baguette slices or on whole wheat crackers. It's addictive!" -- Mark

Arugula Pesto with Sauvignon Blanc | Photo by Meredith

"This pesto-based pizza is an amazingly simple and delicious variation. Adapted from a pizza idea at a popular Neapolitan pizza restaurant in Washington DC, it'll take minutes to make and will disappear in even less time!" -- collmarie

"A very traditional Middle Eastern salad, flavored with sumac and arugula. It is so good and so simple you will wonder why you haven't made this before." -- IMANKAY

Chicken apple sausages, Granny Smith apples, and crumbled Blue cheese transform arugula and mixed field greens into a sophisticated main course. "While my favorite version contains a tasty gourmet chicken and apple sausage, any smoked sausage such as kielbasa will do." -- Another Black Swan

Combine fresh goat cheese with arugula, cherry tomatoes, olive oil, and garlic, and toss with hot penne pasta. See how it's done:

This simple pizza is gourmet tasting but takes just 10 minutes to prep.

"This was a great salad. I used arugula from the garden, which made it very fresh. I halved medium-sized button mushrooms and upsized the recipe for four." -- Betty

The veggies are roasted and then combined with bow tie pasta, arugula, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, and a splash of olive oil. It's best served warm so all of the fabulous flavors can show their stuff.

Look this way for more recipes to pair with Sauvignon Blanc. And for more Arugula recipes, check out our collection of arugula recipes.