Linguine With Red Clam Sauce Using Canned Clams

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This linguini with red clam sauce using canned clams is a delicious and easy pasta recipe you can make ahead of time! Made with just a handful of pantry staples, including garlic, canned clams, and diced tomatoes, this linguini with red clam sauce recipe comes together quickly and packs a ton of flavor. Plus, it freezes well to stock up on homemade meals for busy days. 

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If you’re like me, you love Italian food and can’t imagine giving up pasta, even when trying to lose weight. When I started my weight loss journey, I knew I needed to find a way to enjoy my favorite pasta dishes without all the calories. That’s when I discovered the beauty of homemade freezer meals, and this linguini with red clam sauce made with canned clams quickly became one of my go-to recipes. 

It is easy to make and freezes well, but it’s also the perfect pantry meal, using simple ingredients you probably already have. Plus, even if you don’t make it ahead, it comes together quickly during the week, making it a perfect solution for busy weeknights. 

Whether you’re looking for a tasty meal prep recipe or a quick and easy dinner idea, this linguini with red clam sauce will surely become a favorite in your house.

More quick healthy pasta recipes include this Healthy Cajun Chicken Pasta, Healthy Afredo, Vegetable Lasagna, and Healthy Baked Ziti. See all of my healthy pasta recipes.

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Reasons you’ll love this recipe:

  • It’s easy to make: This recipe comes together quickly and easily with just a handful of pantry staples and a few simple steps. 
  • It’s full of flavor: Thanks to the combination of garlic, Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper, this dish packs a flavorful punch. Plus, the canned clams and juice give the sauce a delicious flavor.
  • It’s perfect for meal prep: Whether you’re trying to eat healthier or just looking to save time during the week, this recipe is a great option for meal prep. You can make a big batch ahead of time and store it in the freezer for later or portion it out for easy grab-and-go lunches.
  • It’s a pantry staple: The beauty of this recipe is that it uses simple pantry staple ingredients that you probably already have on hand. So, even if you don’t have time to meal prep, you can whip up a batch of this linguini with red clam sauce in no time. It’s the perfect solution for busy weeknights or when you don’t feel like making a trip to the grocery store.

Ingredients

ingredients to make red clam sauce with canned clams.

Here are the ingredients to make this delicious linguine with red clam sauce recipe.

  • Linguini: This classic pasta shape is perfect for soaking up all the delicious flavors in the sauce. Plus, it’s a pantry staple that most of us already have on hand.
  • Canned clams: These little guys are a lifesaver when craving seafood but don’t have access to fresh ingredients. 
  • Garlic: A staple in many Italian recipes, garlic adds depth of flavor and a touch of heat to this dish. 
  • Diced tomatoes: Canned diced tomatoes are another pantry staple perfect for adding to sauces and soups.
  • Tomato paste: This concentrated tomato product adds richness and flavor to the sauce. For recipes like this red clam sauce, which only calls for a small amount of tomato paste, I recommend purchasing tomato paste in a tube. You can also freeze any leftover canned tomato paste to use in a later meal.
  • Italian seasoning: A blend of herbs like basil, oregano, and thyme, Italian seasoning adds a classic Italian flavor to this dish. It’s a great shortcut when you don’t have time to measure individual herbs. You can purchase this store-bought or make this delicious homemade Italian seasoning.
  • Crushed red pepper: If you like a little heat, crushed red pepper is the perfect addition to this dish. It’s also been shown to have some health benefits, including reducing inflammation.
  • Olive oil: This heart-healthy oil is a staple in many Mediterranean diets and adds richness and flavor to the sauce. Plus, it’s a great source of healthy fats.
  • Grated cheese: While not strictly necessary, a sprinkle of grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese on top of this dish adds a salty, savory finish that’s hard to resist.

How to make Linguine with Red Clam Sauce using Canned Clams

Start by cooking your linguini al dente in a large pot of salted boiling water according to the package directions. Once it’s done, drain it and set it aside.

While the pasta is cooking, heat some olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once it sizzles, add your chopped garlic and cook for about 2 minutes until it’s nice and fragrant. Be careful not to let it burn!

Pour in the juice from the cans, along with some diced tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, and a pinch of crushed red pepper. Give it all a good stir, boil it, and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Don’t forget to stir occasionally!

After 20 minutes, add the canned clams to the sauce and cook for another 5 minutes or so. This will give them a chance to soak up all the delicious flavors.

Now it’s time to serve your linguini with the delicious red clam sauce! Top it off with some grated parmesan cheese and fresh parsley if you like, and enjoy.

close-up of red clam sauce on a plate.

Cooking tips

  • For the best results, look for high-quality canned clams. You want to ensure that they’re packed in water or clam juice and don’t contain any added preservatives or flavorings. This will help ensure you get a fresh, brine flavor that shines through in the sauce.
  • If you’re unsure where to find canned clams in the grocery store, check the aisle for other canned seafood products. They’re usually located near the tuna, salmon, and sardines. If you still can’t find them, don’t hesitate to ask a store employee for help.
  • When you’re draining the clams, be sure to reserve the clam juice! This liquid is packed with flavor and will help give your sauce a delicious, mild seafood taste. Add it to the sauce with chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper.
  • Don’t overcook the garlic! It only takes about 2 minutes to cook, and you don’t want it to burn or turn bitter. Keep an eye on it and stir it frequently to ensure it cooks evenly.
  • When simmering the sauce, stir it occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Add more crushed red pepper flakes if you like your sauce a little spicier. Just be careful not to overdo it – a little bit goes a long way!
  • If you’re meal-prepping this recipe, let it cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container or freezer bag. This will help prevent freezer burn and ensure that it stays fresh.
overhead picture of two plates of linguine and red clam sauce.

Substitutions and swaps

  • Tomatoes: You can also swap crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce to make the sauce, resulting in a thicker sauce but still being delicious.
  • Clams: If you prefer not to use canned clams or don’t have fresh ones on hand, you can also look for fresh clams that have already been removed from the shell. You can usually find these in the seafood section of your grocery store. Don’t forget to save the juice from the clams to use in the sauce.
  • Pasta: While linguine is a classic choice for this recipe, you can use any pasta you like. Spaghetti, fettuccine, or even penne would work well. If you want to keep it low-carb, you can also try using zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash.
  • Crushed Red Pepper: If you’re sensitive to spicy food or don’t have crushed red pepper, you can adjust the amount or leave it out altogether. Alternatively, if you like things extra spicy, you can increase the amount to suit your taste. Just keep in mind that a little goes a long way!

Storage Tips

For the week: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. When reheating, you may need to add a splash of water or broth to loosen up the sauce as it may thicken in the fridge.

For the freezer: If you want to freeze the sauce separately, allow it to cool to room temperature before transferring it to a freezer-safe container or freezer bag. Label the container with the name and date, and freeze it for up to 3 months. When ready to use the sauce, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. I love using Souper Cubes to freeze red clam sauce into 1-cup portions.

red clam sauce in a souper cube tray.

Freezer Meal: To freeze the entire dish as a meal, allow it to cool to room temperature before portioning it into individual meal-sized containers. Keep the pasta and sauce separate in the container. Again, label the containers with the name and date, and freeze them for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat, remove the container from the freezer and reheat in the microwave or oven for 2 minutes, then stir the pasta and sauce together and reheat for another minute or so until hot.

freezer meal with linguine and red clam sauce.

FAQs

Are canned clams as good as fresh ones for this recipe?

Yes! Using canned clams in this recipe is convenient and has a great flavor and texture that work perfectly in a pasta dish like this. Just make sure to purchase high-quality canned clams to get the best results.

What should I do with the juice from the canned clams?

Don’t throw it away! The juice from the canned clams is an important ingredient in this recipe. It adds a ton of flavor to the sauce, so drain the clams over a bowl or measuring cup to catch the juice. You’ll be using it later in the recipe.

Can I use fresh clams instead of canned ones?

Certainly! If you prefer fresh clams, you can use them in this recipe. Just clean them thoroughly and remove them from their shells before adding them to the sauce. Remember that fresh clams may require a longer cooking time, so adjust accordingly. And don’t forget to save the clam juice for the sauce!

Should I rinse canned clams before using them in this recipe?

No, it’s not necessary to rinse canned clams before using them in this recipe. Rinsing them may wash away some of the flavorful juices packed in with the clams. Just drain them well and reserve the liquid for the sauce. If you’re concerned about the sodium content in canned clams, you can look for low-sodium varieties or adjust the amount of salt in the recipe accordingly.

Other Healthy Italian Recipes

red clam sauce made with canned clams over linguine pasta.

Linguine With Red Clam Sauce Using Canned Clams

This linguini with red clam sauce using canned clams is a delicious and easy pasta recipe you can make ahead of time! Made with just a handful of pantry staples, including garlic, canned clams, and diced tomatoes, this linguini with red clam sauce recipe comes together quickly and packs a ton of flavor. Plus, it freezes well to stock up on homemade meals for busy days. 

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Course: Main Course

Cuisine: American, Italian

Keyword: linguine with red clam sauce, linguine with red clam sauce using canned clams

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Servings: 5 people

Calories: 425kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Large skillet

  • 1 Large pot

  • 1 Pasta strainer

Ingredients

  • 1 lb package of dry linguine
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 2 6.5 ounce cans of chopped clams drain and reserve the clam juice.
  • 2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 -1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package. Drain and set aside.

  • Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet until it sizzles. Add the garlic and cook until it becomes fragrant about 2 minutes. Keep an eye on the garlic to prevent it from burning.

  • Stir in the juice from the canned clams, chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  • Add the chopped clams to the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes.

  • Serve the sauce over the linguine, and sprinkle grated cheese if desired.

Notes

Storage Tips
For the week: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. When reheating, you may need to add a splash of water or broth to loosen up the sauce as it may thicken in the fridge.
Freezer: If you want to freeze the sauce separately, allow it to cool to room temperature before transferring it to a freezer-safe container or freezer bag. Label the container with the name and date, and freeze it for up to 3 months. When ready to use the sauce, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. I love using Souper Cubes to freeze red clam sauce into 1-cup portions.
Freezer Meal: To freeze the entire dish as a meal, allow it to cool to room temperature before portioning it into individual meal-sized containers. Keep the pasta and sauce separate in the container. Again, label the containers with the name and date, and freeze them for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat, remove the container from the freezer and reheat in the microwave or oven for 2 minutes, then stir the pasta and sauce together and reheat for another minute or so until hot.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 425kcal | Carbohydrates: 77g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 0.1mg | Sodium: 299mg | Potassium: 599mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 417IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 3mg

Have you tried this recipe? 

Have you tried this Linguine with Red Clam Sauce using Canned Clams recipe yet? If so, I’d love for you to rate this recipe and leave a comment below. We all learn from each other’s experiences. Also, it would be awesome if you could share a picture in the Fb Group! I can’t wait to see it!

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About Tammy Overhoff

Hi, I’m Tammy Overhoff, a busy mom, wife, and entrepreneur. I am the owner, author, and recipe developer here at Organize Yourself Skinny. Since 2011 Organize Yourself Skinny has become a trusted resource for clean eating recipes to meal prep, reviews, and lifestyle hacks to help you fit healthy habits and routines into your busy schedule. I’m the author of the Organize Yourself Skinny eBook & 30-day Workbook Bundle.

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