Paleo, Primal, and Gluten-Free Recipes

Pistachio-Pear Spinach Salad

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!
  • Servings per recipe: 4
  • Per serving:
  • Calories: 185.3
  • Fat: 10.6 g
  • Saturated fat: 1.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 194.8 mg
  • Sodium: 0 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 21.6 g
  • Fiber: 3.7 g
  • Sugar: 6.1 g
  • Protein: 3.1 g

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.

6 thoughts on “Pistachio-Pear Spinach Salad”

  • You are an angel, and mom IS NOT always right, you have proven that several times for which I am glad. This salad looks BEAUTIFUL and the colors against the plate are "eye popping". Yes, it has been added to the shopping list for this weeks menu, cannot wait!! Love you Bella! Your Mom

  • No cheese or grains? One of my favorite dinners is wild rice with sauteed mushrooms and a hunk of toasted Parmesan rind. (HAVE YOU TRIED TOASTED PARMESAN RINDS?? Just pop them under the broiler or roast them on a marshmallow stick until they get a little bubbly and brown… WHOA, WHOA, WHOA.)

    Personally, I think that food domestication, fermentation and culturing helped us humans evolve! We are not the same humans we were ten thousand years ago. Bring on the vinegar, yogurt, kimchee! Hunks of dark rye bread and pickles! And cheese, cheese, glorious cheese!

  • I have never tried toasted Parmesan rind. I do love to submerge a Parm rind into a simmering soup because all the salty, nutty goodness leaches out and you also get tiny blobs of melty cheese in the soup.

    I think dairy would be the thing I'd miss most, but a lot of less strict people on Paleo still eat it. Fermentation is ok on the Paleo diet, which is good because I love pickled peppers and cauliflower.

  • There's lots of levels of paleo. Many still include fermented dairy in their diets. By which I mean, cheeses and yogurts. Many enjoy berries with a dollop of heavy whipping cream for dessert. Most do not drink milk, however, as it is unfermented (thus no healthful probiotics) and mostly carbohydrate.

    This salad looks beautiful and delicious!

  • Thank you for your comment. It seems that Paleo can be adapted to suit each person, and is a great diet to adopt if you a prone to inflammation due to grain, dairy, etc. Thanks for elaborating on why fermented foods are ok and why some dairy is still eaten and other dairy is not. I was confused why butter was still widely accepted as paleo yet dairy overall was not. The fermented dairy is actually my favorite stuff! I wouldn't miss milk very much.

  • I made an initial comment however, I made this salad with some honey glazed chicken breast on the side and all I can say is awesome!! The dressing was delicious, and the combination of the sweet pear and the tangy dressing was wonderful, please, please make this salad you will not be sorry. Mina

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *