Pistachio-Pear Spinach Salad

While reading an old Women's Health magazine article the other day, I saw an advertisement for Kashi cereals. It was a big 2-page ad that also showed "surprising ways" to get more fiber into your diet. On the top of this list was pears, followed by pistachios. This inspired me to find a way to combine both of those in a recipe. Salad was the first choice that came to mind because you can toss anything fresh into a salad and it usually tastes pretty good. The nut and fruit combo with salad is something that has been popular for quite some time now, however I get tired of the usual apple, blue cheese, dried cranberries, candied pecans, and greens salads. It's good, don't get me wrong, but it's getting a bit standardized. I think pistachios are an under-appreciated nut, and pears have a different texture from apples because they're soft and perhaps a little sweeter. I was thinking about all the shades of green this salad would have, I figured it would be a stunner on the plate: dark green spinach, bright yellow-green skin of the pear, and the really bright pastel green of the pistachios. I wanted to add something different to the dressing, so I added celery seed, which is an ingredient I love in pickles and vinegar-based cole slaw but I never use! I love the hit of herbaceousness you get when you bite into them. When I told my mom about my idea for this salad, she suggested red pear for color contrast. I was thinking green on green on green, but I do love some good contrast. Plus pistachios have a blushing pink skin on the outside, so the red and pink would really pop against the green. Alas, mama's always right, but that doesn't bother me. Especially when it comes to making good food even better.

I had this salad with a piece of sirloin steak. The acidity of the dressing went well with the steak. I cooked it on my trusty grill pan and seasoned it with World Market Argentinian Steak Rub. It's one of my favorite spice blends.

Pistachio-Pear Spinach Salad

Printable Recipe

1 medium green pear, thinly sliced
1 medium red pear, thinly sliced
6 cups baby spinach
1 oz unsalted shelled pistachios (about 45-50 kernels)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
4 tsp Dijon mustard
4 tsp honey
1/4 tsp celery seeds
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Combine pears, spinach, and pistachios (save some to garnish) in a bowl.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, celery seeds, and some salt and pepper. Toss the dressing with the salad and serve immediately, garnished with reserved pistachios.
The whole delicious meal!

Also, if you have been following the Facebook feed, I have been tossing around the idea of the Paleolithic Diet (aka: Paleo Diet). Basically, you get back to eating what our ancestors ate, which is mainly meat and vegetables, some fruits and oils, no sugar or grains. It seems strict, but of the resources I've been looking at I find it a pretty healthful diet. I just personally feel like I want to get back to a more natural way of eating. Sometimes you just get derailed, and my derailment has been eating sandwiches every day for lunch because they're easy! It's just too much bread and I feel sluggish after I eat them. As an experiment I haven't eaten bread in about half a week now and I actually have more energy. I am pretty busy most days because I am in the vineyard at least 4 hours (in 100+ temperatures) and I am also 1 month into P90X. I need all the energy I can get!

I'm going to have to think about this diet and research a little more. I hate the idea of the world "diet." I just want to think of it as a healthy eating style. The word diet has guilt attached to it...such as if you stray from your list of approved foods you're going to really mess up your day of eating. It also imposes limitations. I like to choose to eat a healthy diet most of the time, but allow myself those foods that are less healthy in moderation. The fact that foods that are traditionally considered healthy (beans, whole grains, cheese) are not eaten on the Paleo diet means there is a long list  of "cheat" foods. Like, if I have beans, then I am cheating. They're beans! How can that be a cheat food! And cheese....don't get me started on that one. The idea of not having Parmesan anymore makes me sad (though some less-traditional Paleo dieters include cheese...). See what I mean? I have a lot to think about. I will keep you all posted on what I decide. Maybe I will give it a one-week trial and see if it makes me feel like Wonder Woman (or a cave woman....Wilma Flintstone and Betty Rubble had great figures, now that I think of it...).

Please comment below if you have had experience with the Paleo Diet. I would love to hear your stories and opinions.

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