Kripalu Recipe: Arugula Salad with Poached Pears, Walnuts, Chevre, and a Balsamic Fig Reduction

This salad is great for the cardiovascular system: The arugula is a good source of magnesium, which helps lower blood pressure; the walnuts are a great source of alpha linolenic acid, which is also useful at lowering blood lipids; and the pear is an excellent source of soluble fiber.

Serves 4

6 cups arugula
1 ripe pear
2 cups water (or 1½ cup water and ½ cup cooking wine)
2 tablespoons agave
¼ cup freshly cracked walnuts
¼ cup chevre or blue cheese (omit for a vegan salad)

Peel the pear, cut in half, and remove the seeds. Combine water (and wine if you choose to) and agave in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring to distribute agave. Place pear in agave water. Simmer 10 minutes, until pear is tender but not mushy. Allow pear to cool in poaching liquid, then drain.

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons fennel leaf (optional)
¼ cup chopped dried figs
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed orange juice
½ teaspoon salt

Soak figs in warm water. Simmer balsamic vinegar, reducing to about ¼ cup. Cool balsamic vinegar and drain figs, then combine all ingredients in a blender.

Arrange arugula on center of plate. Sprinkle with goat cheese and walnuts. Cut each pear half in half again and then fan it on edge of plate. Dress with balsamic fig reduction and serve.