Linguine with Clams and Baby Spinach

Bring health to the holiday table.. let vegetables, like  baby spinach, ante up the color, texture and nutritional value of your favorite pasta meals. 
Linguine with Clams and Baby SpinachDisclosure: I was asked to participate in the  Pasta Fits campaign as a member of the Healthy Aperture Blogger Network.  I was compensated for my time. 

While reading the brillantly photographed magazine, Sift , I came upon a wonderful quote, written about pie..quote that can be applied to pasta+ linguine with clams and baby spinach

In my opinion, the same could be said of pasta.  If you’ve been following the the #pastafits campaign, you’ll recall it began in September,  when kids were heading  back to school. I shared  Fusilli with Broccoli and Peanuts, an easy to prepare recipe  for  after those hectic school days, with a bonus (leftovers pack well for school lunches)!   When  we turned the calendar and fall produce filled my CSA box,  I made a  Warm Minestrone Pasta Salad using fresh butternut squash. This meal was so versatile it could be served at a luncheon, and with a  slight variation, it was tailgate ready. Now it’s time to show you how #pastafits into your holiday spread, by teaming it with colder weather vegetables, in a dish that will usher in the comfort and  joy  of a  homecooked meal that’s both delicious and nutritious.

 The stretch from Thanksgiving to December holiday prep is The Most Wonderful  Time of the Year,  also known as the worst time of year for your waistline. But don’t get Grinchy for fear of  putting on a few extra pounds.  Reseach shows there are potentially effective ways to minimize holiday weight gain, including bringing health to your holiday table with more  fruits and vegetables. Here are three tips to integrate more produce into your holiday spread and keep the holiday spirit high:

1. Use fruit or vegetable purees in place of up to one-half of the fat in holiday baked goods.

2. Use fruits and vegetables as a hidden ingredient; chop, puree, grate or simply add to sauces, soups, pasta, sandwiches, dips, and spreads. Puree vegetables, like broccoli, make terrific  pasta sauces. Try pureed roasted red pepper or pumpkin in a risotto.

3. Use fruits and vegetables  to give an obvious burst of color and texture to sandwiches, soups, stews and pasta. Today  I’m adding fresh baby spinach to create a culinary star in my makeover of linguine with clams.  If it was summer, I’d add ribbons of zucchini. Colder weather creates new choices for  seasonal vegetables  including: spinach, kale, mustard greens, and microgreens. Any of these would work with this recipe; it’s a matter of preference or what you have on hand.

I n addition to using spinach to boost the volume, nutrition and satisfaction of this dish, I’m also substituting  whole wheat pasta for refined semolina. Whole wheat pasta is a great way to incorporate more whole grains into my diet. Maintaining a  healthy body weight while getting older means focusing on  nutrient rich foods and  making every calorie count, especially during the holidays. A one cup portion of whole wheat pasta provides up to 25% of daily fiber requirements.

This season, as you plan your holiday feasts, remember the formula for  healthier meals  in a  matter of minutes = pasta  +  seasonal vegetables + lean protein. Enjoy a happy and healthy holiday season!Linguine with Clams and Baby Spinach

Linguine with Clams and Baby Spinach

serves 4

by Diane Boyd


  •  3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 leeks, chopped (whites only)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups, dry white wine
  • 2 dozen  small littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • 1/4 teaspoonsalt
  • 1/2 pound whole wheat linguine
  • 4 cups raw spinach
  • Instructions

1. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add leeks and  cook until the vegetables are tender. Add garlic and cook one additional minute. Add white wine to the pan. Bring to a boil and add clams. Cover and cook until clams open, about 3 to 5 minutes .

2. Transfer steamed clams to a  bowl ; tent with foil to keep warm. Continue to cook wine mixture until it is is reduced to about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of liquid. (This will take about 2o minutes). Add salt to taste.

3. Prepare pasta according to package  directions.  When pasta is done, drain and add to pan with wine sauce; toss. Add in fresh spinach and toss again. Transfer to a large shallow platter. Top with clams. Serve immediately.

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Sautéed Spinach with Sweet & Savory Granola

Inspired by the dish indigenous to Rome and Southern Italy, this classic sautéed spinach is reinvented with  the addition of a sweet and savory granola  including California Raisins, Fennel Seeds and Pine Nuts.Sautéed Spinach with Sweet & Savory GranolaDisclosure: By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Raisin Marketing Board and I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

From blinking lights to glittery tops, life gets more  festive this time of year. For me, this excitement carries over to the kitchen with plans for holiday food favorites mixed in with new culinary traditions. Speaking of which, here’s one we should all adopt:

Festive recipes that are both delicious and include more nutrition for a less indulgent holiday.

It just so happens to be the theme of the Recipe Redux‘s holiday contest sponsored by California Raisins. But is it really possible during the holidays? Absolutely, and one way is to include wholesome ingredients, such as California raisins, in your holiday foods and baked goods. This dried-by-the-sun fruit is the all natural  way to add flavor and healthfulness, and  the ingredient label says it all: Raisins.

The nutrition label reads: zero fat, zero cholesterol and no added sugar. Plus raisins contribute 9% of your daily fiber and potassium, and 6% of your daily iron (per quarter cup).

Because raisins are both portable and convenient, I also like them as a to-go snack  (a healthier alternative to candy and chocolate). Talk about a good value, according to  the USDA, raisins are the most economical dried fruit.

So let’s talk holidays and ideas for festive food. Woot! Woot!  While I paged thru my coveted new book, Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi,  I  craved  to show YOU how to add sparkle and good nutrition to YOUR holiday table with vibrant vegetables. So today’s recipe begins  with these simple ingredients… Sautéed Spinach with Sweet & Savory Granola…and it was  inspired by the classic dish found in Rome and Southern Italy, sautéed spinach with golden raisins and pine nuts.  It’s so easy to  sautée spinach. Top it with the satisfiying crunch of a ‘make ahead of time’  granola that includes fennel, pine nuts and golden California raisins, and your done.  But you won’t be done with this granola, trust me! You’ll want to sprinkle it on more vegetables, like an arugula salad ; add it to soups instead of crackers, like this California Sweetpotato Fennel Soup; use it on  soft cheese for a delightful and fun appetizer (say tuned for my next post);  and share with friends and co-workers a for wonderful DIY foodie gift. Please be sure check out the links at the bottom of this post for more ideas to add a festive, yet healthy touch, to your holidays!

Sautéed Spinach with Sweet & Savory GranolaSautéed Spinach with Sweet & Savory Granola

Sauteed Spinach with Sweet & Savory Granola

by Diane Boyd


    for the granola

    • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
    • 2 Tablespoons Red Quinoa
    • 1/4 cup pine nuts
    • 1 Tablespoon fennel seed
    • 1 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1 Tablespoon honey
    • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
    • 1 egg white
    • 1/2 cup golden California raisins

    for the sautéed spinach

    • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    • 5 cups packed baby spinach
    • sea salt and ground pepper to taste
    • 4 tablespoons granola (recipe above)


    for the granola

    1 Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

    2. In a medium bowl combine oats, quinoa, pine nuts, fennel seed, sea salt honey. Stir.

    3. In a small bowl whisk together egg white and oil. Add to oat mixture. Stir well to combine.

    4. Spread mixture on a nonstick foil lined baking sheet.

    5. Bake, stirring every 10 minutes until golden (about 20-25 minutes).

    6. Cool. Add golden raisins. Mix to combine.

    for the sauteed spinach

    1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add spinach in three additions, tossing occasionally until greens are tender, 6-8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    2. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with 4 tablespoons  granola. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

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