Happy Labor Day! This festive occasion deserves to be celebrated with this delicious Arugula-Pear Salad with Dark Chocolate Vinaigrette. Salads are a great choice, especially during the summer. Did you know pears are a good source of vitamin C, a crucial element for keeping your immune system strong? They also contain copper, which is essential for brain and blood health. In case you were a little hesitant about the arugula, please don’t let it scare you off! Only 30% of the greens used in this recipe are arugula. It’s pungent flavor is balanced out by lollo rosso and Swiss chard (have I mentioned that Swiss chard is loaded with vitamin K, vital for strong and healthy bones?). Besides their health benefits, they provide a nice pop of red as an added bonus.
Sigh… red. The color of love! I’ll be very honest with you, I had my own little love affair with this delicious salad the other day. It is very romantic, indeed. Who says we have to wait until Valentine’s Day before we start smothering practically everything under the sun — including salads — in chocolate? I sure don’t.
So what are you waiting for? Combined with the mood-boosting, antioxidant properties of raw cacao and amazing health benefits of coconut oil, this low-cal salad will help you get your daily greens in easily. AND it lets you indulge in chocolate-y goodness absolutely guilt-free. Mmm… That sounds like music in my ears, and yummy in my tummy!
You can be as creative as you’d like with your choice of greens in this salad. I used a mix of approximately 30% arugula, 30% Swiss chard, and 30% lollo rosso, but you can play around with the ratio or throw in your favorite salad greens. Just make sure that you don’t let the arugula dominate the recipe. It’s got quite a pungent flavor, so be sure to balance it out with greens that aren’t bitter or peppy.
You don’t like the crunchy texture of nuts, but you know it’s healthy and you should incorporate it in your diet — haven’t we all been there? Actually, I haven’t because I’m crazy about nuts. But someone who isn’t so fond of nuts recently gave me a great tip for all y’all with the same dilemma. “Just grind up the nuts in a food processor and sprinkle it over your salad,” she said. “You won’t be left with the crunchy texture, but you still get all the health benefits.” Genius!
A note on pears & raw cacao powder: I prefer using Conference pears for this recipe because the juiciness of the Conference pear really compliments this salad. I prefer using raw cacao powder because once something is heated above 105º F the enzymes die :(. However, if you don’t have raw cacao powder on hand normal cocoa powder will do.
- 2.6 oz. salad blend (aprox. 30% arugula, 30% lollo rosso, and 30% Swiss chard)
- 1 - 2 Conference pears (aprox. 1 - 1½ cup), chopped into bit-sized pieces
- ½ tablespoon raw cacao powder
- ½ tablespoon ACV
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- Walnuts, for topping
- Dark chocolate square for garnish, optional
- Melt the coconut oil. (I use the bain-marie method)
- While the coconut oil is melting, wash the salad blend, if necessary (I used a pre-washed salad blend).
- Tear salad leaves into smaller pieces.
- In a small bowl, mix together the melted coconut oil, ACV, maple syrup, and raw cacao powder.
- Gently massage ¾ of the vinaigrette into the salad.
- Assemble the salad onto a pretty plate.
- Chop up the pears and add them to the salad.
- Garnish with the remainder of the vinaigrette, chopped walnuts, and dark chocolate square.