This Middle Eastern salad called rocca salad is made with rocket (jarjeer), onion, walnuts and a sumac lemon dressing. Enjoy this rocca salad as is or build upon it with your choice of vegetables.
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Rocca is a staple green across the Middle East (you'll find it at most Lebanese restaurants), it is nearly always present at any dining table as an appetiser or side. Sometimes you can find it in the form of fresh leaves on their own, which I love to munch on as is, or in a salad like this one.
Arugula in Arabic is called jarjeer, and is pronounced as “jarr-jeerr” the r’s are rolled. Jarjeer leaves as also known as “gerger leaves”.
In English, you may know this leafy green as arugula, rocket or roquette. Which are typical Arabic salad leaves.
😋Why you’ll love this recipe
- Minimal ingredients
- Super juicy and sour
- Pairs with almost anything
- Buildable - you can add so many additional vegetables or enjoy as is. See variations below.
- Gluten free, soy free and corn free
🥦What You’ll Need
🥘 Ingredients Notes
Jarjeer (rocket) comes in a variety. You can choose rocca leaves that are the large or small type or even use wild rocket. All are fabulous.
I find the larger and wild rocca leaves to be stronger in flavour. Jarjeer is a very peppery leafy green.
If you are using the larger rocca leaves, chop them up into bite-sized pieces. The smaller and wild leaves can be used as-is.
Onion should be either white or red. I personally prefer the white onion as I find it sweeter. The onion needs to be thinly sliced.
Walnuts should be raw and roughly chopped, then dry roasting in a fry pan until golden. Let the walnuts cool down to room temperature before adding to the rest of the ingredients.
Dressing for rocket salad consists of lemon, sumac, olive oil and salt.
Sumac is a spice grown across the Middle East which has been consumed for thousands of years. It is now widely found across the world in supermarkets, local grocers and online.
Sumac is a deep red colour, sour and tangy in flavour. If possible, do not skip this ingredient as it is key to the flavouring of this rocca salad. If you can’t get your hands on sumac, use pomegranate molasses or balsamic vinegar instead, although the flavour will change, but still be good.
🔪 Step by step guide
Here's how to make rocca salad
Step 1 - Heat a frypan over high heat and add walnuts, dry roast until golden. Take off heat and allow too cool to room temperature.
Step 2 - In a salad bowl, combine all ingredients. Serve immediately or allow to sit for 20 + minutes to soak up the juices.
💭 Pro Tips
Rocca leaves are great at soaking the dressing, the longer the prepared salad is left to sit, the juicer the leaves are.
Use a salad spinner to gently dry rocca leaves after washing, they are delicate and will bruise easily if roughly handled. This goes for any salads with rocket.
Preparing ahead can be achieved by keeping the chopped vegetables together separately to the prepared rocket salad dressing (in a jar) both in the fridge. Then storing the dry roasted walnuts in an airtight container in the pantry. Combine all ingredients when ready.
This rocca salad can be built upon, depending on other foods or availability I have used this base salad to add any of the following (dressing amount may need adjusting);
Button mushrooms - I normally quarter the smaller button mushrooms
Pomegranate - add an amazing sweetness and crunch to salads with rocket
Pear or apple - freshly cut slices
Beetroot - cooked and peeled or canned works well
Tomatoes - any type is good, even sun-dried tomato
Artichoke - either roasted, steamed or marinated works well.
Dressing for rocket salad can be adjusted to include pomegranate molasses or balsamic vinegar/glaze.
Walnuts can be omitted.
For a spectacularly flavorsome unique-ish pasta dish - try my Lebanese moghrabieh.
Arugula in Arabic is called “Jarjeer” or “jijir” and is pronounced as “jarr-jeerr” or “jirr-jirr”. Arugula is also known as rocket, roquette or eruca.
Some leafy greens that are typically found in Arabic salads include arugula (rocca), parsley, purslane, mint, cos lettuce and coriander (cilantro).
Looking for another simple side salad, try one made from cabbage it's called Malfouf Salad.
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Rocca Salad (Lebanese Salatat Jarjeer)
- 4 cups Arugula (Roquette/Rocca) if using small variety, leave as is. If using large leaf variety, chop up into bite sized pieces.
- ½ medium White onion finely sliced
- ½ cup Walnuts dry roasted
- ¼ medium Pomegranate optional. Use kernels only.
- Heat a frypan over high heat and add walnuts, dry roast until golden. Take off heat and allow too cool to room temperature.½ cup Walnuts
- In a salad bowl, combine all ingredients. Serve immediately or allow to sit for 20 + minutes to soak up the juices.4 cups Arugula (Roquette/Rocca), ½ medium White onion, ½ cup Walnuts, ¼ medium Pomegranate, 1½ tablespoons Olive oil, 1 teaspoon Sumac, ½ medium Lemon, 1 pinch Salt
N.B., nutrition info is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. This will vary based on the specific ingredients you use.