Pan-Glazed Pear and Arugula Salad with Cashew Goat Cheese and Walnuts

[Beautiful and delicious, this Pan-Glazed Pear & Arugula Salad with Cashew Goat Cheese and Walnuts is vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, yeast-free, and low glycemic. Suitable for Stage 2 and beyond on an anti-candida diet.]

candida diet pear arugula salad with goat cheese and walnuts on rickiheller.com

My dad, now well into his ninth decade on this planet, is ridiculously proud of his salads. If you met him and the subject of food came up (because really, when doesn’t it?), he’d boast that he eats “a salad every day.”

However, given his age (95+) and his lack of culinary prowess (he can make a mean soup, but that’s about it), his interpretation of “salad” goes like this:

  • one chunk (unwashed) iceberg lettuce
  • one quarter (unripe, potato-y) supermarket tomato
  • four slices cucumber
  • a few shreds plain yellow onion [on a particularly festive day, it’s replaced with green onion]
  • bottled Italian dressing

So you see my conundrum. I mean, how do you try to correct the impresson of a 95 year-old? It’s disrespectful. In fact, it’s just rude. (Besides, he can’t hear you, anyway).

Over the years, I realized that the concept of “salad” in our house wasn’t quite what it is today. The standard definition of “salad” to mean a mix of bite-sized leafy and/or raw vegetables seems to have morphed in recent decades to include anything in a dressing of any kind (including mayonnaise, tahini, mashed avocado, etc); fruits along with vegetablesbread and veggies; beans and legumes; warm beans and legumes; grainspasta; and even a sickly-sweet combination of canned fruit and marshmallows.

candida diet, grainfree, glutenfree, vegan pear arugula salad with goat cheese and walnuts

Once I moved to Toronto to pursue my PhD, however, the world of “unconventional” salads really opened up to me.

During those 20-something years, my best bud Sterlin and I would spend part of almost every weekend driving downtown to the base of the city at Adelaide and Jarvis, where we’d pass a lineup already snaking down the street even as we drove around looking for a parking spot. Our venue of choice was the wildly popular Mr Greenjeans restaurant that attracted crowds of young, hip college students and packs of yuppies (oh, and the two of us, too).

Mr. Greenjeans was known for its avant-garde salads, served (way back in the 80s!) in gigantic mason jars. It was up to the patron to either tip the salad onto a plate and eat, or pick delicately from the top of the jar downwards. In the case of my favorite Spinach Salad, that meant navigating through layers of warm, slightly wilted spinach, crisp, greasy bacon crumbles, springy mushroom slices and massive toasted croutons all nestled in the thickest, richest, creamiest tart-and-sweet dressing I’d ever encountered.

All in all, it was the perfect “slow food” experience, allowing Sterlin and me up to three hours for animated chit-chat. We dissected every conceivable topic, bouncing from what would happen to Nikki and Viktor on The Young and the Restless, to how many hours we spent studying in Robart’s, to what kitchen accessories we nabbed at Honest Ed’s that week, to our latest dating fiasco and why didn’t he call me back even though he said he had a great time?! (okay, so truth be told, most of the conversation focused on that last one).

By the time the coffee and dessert arrived, we’d caught up on our soap, figured out how to organize our kitchen and, when it came to dating, resolved that it was “time to move on.” Then we’d drive back home and start the whole week’s activities again.

Over the years, I attempted to reproduce that unique Mr. Greenjeans combination of wilty, crunchy, salty, smoky, creamy and sweet–to no avail. So, I decided it was time to move on in that realm, too.

I’m so glad I did.

Giving up the quest for that Mr. Greenjeans ideal allowed me to embrace this new glazed pear and arugula salad with goat cheese and walnuts. It’s like a more mature version of that earlier salad: easier to predict, more sophisticated yet lighter, and just healthier all around.

Come to think of it, it’s sort of like the contrast between those old dating fiascoes** and my current sweetie of (almost!) 20 years.

And, just like the HH, this salad is a keeper.

candida diet pear arugula salad with cashew goat cheese and walnuts on rickiheller.com

** Did I hear someone say, “Rocker Guy (He of the Black Leather Pants”)?

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Comments

  1. That goat cheese looks amazing! I’m putting this on my must-make list!

  2. Wow, this looks amazing! I am loving pears right now—they are so sweet and juicy! And you’re cashew goat cheese is so creative—I bet it tastes delicious!

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