I had another recipe selected for this week’s newsletter, but I received so many emails about a spinach and pear salad that I featured on The Weather Channel this weekend that I thought you might enjoy trying it as well.

Spinach is one of those cool weather crops that elicits a strong reaction from some people when it’s cooked. Personally, I like using spinach fresh in salads along with some fresh fruit.

Either way, spinach is good for you. It is one of the vegetables that is highest in calcium, 244 milligrams per cup. Now this really didn’t mean a lot to me until I compared to milk, which has 300 milligrams per cup. Another good reason to eat spinach is that it’s loaded with iron.

Spinach is extremely easy to grow in cool weather. Just like lettuce, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, spinach thrives in the spring or fall garden. For my spring garden I select already grown transplants in six packs, but in fall, just before the heat breaks, I sow seeds directly in my framed beds.

Spinach is usually ready to harvest about 45 days after sowing. At that time either cut the entire plant off at the ground, or pick outer leaves that are dark green in color and about 3 to 6 inches long. Wash and store spinach in an air tight container in the refrigerator. It will keep for about a week.

Here is a simple recipe for fruit and spinach salad with toasted walnuts. For a little extra flavor you can also add some crumbled goat cheese.


  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 fresh garlic
  • 1 lemon pepper
  • 1/2 salt


  • 2 bundles of fresh spinach
  • 2 pears or oranges
  • lemon juice
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 cup walnuts or substitute pecans or almonds
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened


  1. Begin by making the vinaigrette. To the vinegar add the honey and extra virgin olive oil. Next add the water and blend.
  2. Now for a little spice. I like to use about 2 cloves of crushed fresh garlic, 1 teaspoon of lemon pepper and about 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Then I just stir the mixture until it's well blended.
  3. There's just something about the chemistry of the honey and the balsamic vinegar. When they come together they are the perfect accent for the spinach salad. Wait to add the dressing until you're ready to serve the salad and then just toss it altogether.
  4. To make the salad start by rinsing and removing the stems from the fresh spinach.
  5. Thinly slice a couple of fresh pears. To keep the pears from turning brown squeeze a touch of lemon juice over them.
  6. To the pears add some thinly sliced rings of red onion. Mix the pears and onions into the spinach.
  7. To give the salad some extra crunch toast walnuts on a baking sheet for about 15 minutes in the oven at 300 degrees. You can use either walnuts, pecans or almonds.