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

Ingredients

    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)

    Instructions

    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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    Frozen Chocolate Raisin Pie

    Frozen Chocolate Raisin PieDisclosure: 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.

    Winding down after a long day often means curling up with a good book. Last month I was reading this book. Photo-216Perhaps the 1934 edition of Hershey’s Cookbook wasn’t what you expected? (Yes, I am weird like that; reading a cookbook like a novel. ) Apparently my husband was reading too, because he asked me to make the chocolate raisin pie on page 44. Then the Recipe Redux surprised us with another member opportunity: a holiday recipe contest sponsored by California Raisins. The challenge is to enhance the holidays with delicious foods that fit the category extra nutrition and less indulgence.  Looks like the 1934 Hershey’s Chocolate Raisin Pie is in for a revision!

    Say hello to the 21st Century Chocolate Raisin Pie that debut in my house  this Thanksgiving, as a test pie.Frozen Chocolate Raisin Pie

    Of the eleven ingredients in the original recipe, I eliminated 6, including the added sugar and unbaked pie shell. Both the chocolate and the natural sweetness of the raisins, make this just sweet enough. The pie gets a contemporary new twist with the addition of silken tofu, a versatile lean protein. I think it’s the perfect ingredient for this creamy dessert because it acts as a sponge and takes on the flavors you pair it with, so you can taste the heros of this dessert:  chocolate and  naturally sweet California Raisins.

    Join me in a  healthier, less indulgent approach to the holidays by adding this sun dried fruit to  a myriad of foods from desserts to savory main dishes.   The ingredient list says it all: Raisins. The nutrition label tells this good story: zero fat, no cholesterol, and no added sugar. Plus raisins offer 9% of your daily fiber and potassium, and 6% of your iron.  California raisins will steal the culinary spotlight with  added nutrition and natural sweetness.  Please visit the links at the bottom of this post for delicious and festive ways to include  California raisins in your holiday spread.

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    Frozen Chocolate Raisin PieFrozen Chocolate Raisin Pie

    (adapted from Hershey’s 1934 Chocolate Raisin Pie)

    by Diane Boyd

    Ingredients

      for the crust

      • chocolate wafer cookies (3 cups crumbled )
      • 4 Tablespoons melted butter

      for the filling

      • 2 cups California raisins
      • 2 cups water
      • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
      • 24.6 ounces extra firm silken tofu, drained of water
      • 2 teaspoons vanilla
      • 1/4 teaspoon good quality salt such as Himalayan crystal salt
      • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

      Instructions

      for the crust

      1. Process chocolate cookie wafers in a blender or food processor until sandy textured.

      2. Add melted butter and stir. Once combined, take out 4 tablespoons and reserve for topping.

      3.  Press remaining crumb mixture  into bottom of one 9 1/2 inch pie plate (avoiding sides) or two smaller pie tins. Set aside.

      for the filling

      1. Place raisins in a small saucepan. Add enough water to cover. Heat and simmer for  10 minutes. Drain raisins and set aside.

      2. Add chocolate to a small saucepan and melt over low heat.

      3. Add tofu, raisins, melted chocolate, vanilla, salt and cinnamon to a blender and process until smooth. Pour mixture on top of crust. Use remaining cookie crumbs to garnish top. Freeze for 2 hours, then serve. If in the freezer longer than 2 hours, allow to thaw slightly before serving. Serves 12

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