This arugula and pear salad with lime cilantro vinaigrette is filled with flavor and phytonutrients, and can be made in minutes.

Don’t salads always seem better when someone else makes them?

I recently had dinner at Kaya, a Pittsburgh restaurant specializing in Caribbeans cuisine. Let me tell you about the arugula with lime cilantro vinaigrette salad I ordered. It is fabulous! The salad itself was simple, but the dressing was bursting with flavor. I immediately went home and tried to replicate it.

Health Benefits of Arugula

The salad green base is arugula, so I knew I’d like it. I love the unique, peppery-taste of arugula and it goes with just about anything. Rocket salad, which is a classic side salad made with arugula (rocket) and shaved Parmesan, has always been one of my favorites. Aside from the taste, it also offers some health benefits.

Like Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale and broccoli, arugula is a member of the cruciferous family. Studies have shown that dietary vegetables in that family contain compounds that offer cancer preventive and anti-cancer activity. Arugula – as well as Chinese cabbage and kohlrabi –  contains large quantities of a particular isothiocyanate known as erucin. Those compounds are believed to be responsible for the anti-cancer activity. Not to get too nutrition science nerdy on you, but you want foods rich with isothiocyanates as part of your healthy living plan.

How To Make Arugula and Pear Salad 

Now, to the salad recipe! The arugula greens are topped with sunflower seeds, feta cheese and pears. Those ingredients together provide a delicious combination. The sesame seeds add crunch,  the pear add a bit of sweetness and the feta adds a salty flavor. It adds some creaminess, too. I chose to use reduced-fat feta in this recipe. That way, I can use more of the best part – the dressing!

Nutrition in Arugula and Pear Salad

Texture, flavor and the ease of putting this salad together make it a favorite. The nutritional value is the bonus. In addition to the anti-cancer compounds I mentioned above, this salad provides both protein and fiber. One serving of the salad with dressing is 300 calories, 9 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber and 21 grams of fat. 

Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette Dressing

Now for the best part – the dressing. As much as I love cilantro, I’d never used it as an ingredient for homemade salad dressing.  It took me a few tried to get it, but I finally found the right ratio of ingredients to call it a light (reduced-fat) dressing without sacrificing taste. Two tablespoon is dressing only 7 grams of fat and goes a long way. 

The lime-cilantro vinaigrette dressing used on this pear and arugula salad also makes a great marinade. I include the directions and nutrition facts for the dressing in the recipe card. If you want to use it for another recipe, though, you can read more about it and find the printable dressing recipe here.

This salad includes a mix of sweet, savory and salty flavors. Eat it as a meal, or make it your own by adding other ingredients.  Give it a try, and let me know what you think

Arugula and Pear Salad with Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette

This arugula and pear salad with reduced-fat lime cilantro vinaigrette is filled with flavor and phytonutrients, and can be made in minutes.
Author: Heather Mangieri, RDN


  • 3 cups Arugula
  • 1/4 cup Feta Cheese
  • 1/2 Pear
  • 1 tbsp Sunflower Seeds, salted
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Lime Juice Dressing Recipe
  • 1 tsp Minced Garlic Dressing Recipe
  • 1/2 tsp Sugar Dressing Recipe
  • 1/4 tsp Salt Dressing Recipe
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil Dressing Recipe
  • 1 tbsp Chopped Cilantro Dressing Recipe


  • Combine all of the dressing ingredient first, and transfer to the refrigerator to allow flavors to blend.
  • Prepare salad ingredients. Combine the arugula, sunflower seeds and dressing in a mixing bowl. Toss well. Transfer the coated greens to a bowl or plate, top with sliced pear and feta. Enjoy!


  • Recipe makes 1 salad.
  • Nutrition Facts: 300 calories, 20 g. carbohydrates; 4 g fiber, 21 g. fat, 7 g saturated fat, 35 mg cholesterol, 9 g. protein, 25% DV calcium, 10% DV iron, 8% DV potassium
  • Meal Planning Servings: 1.5 CHO; 2 PRO; 4 FATS

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Tag @heathermangieri on Instagram and hashtag it #HeatherMangieriNutrition


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