Indulge in flavor without the guilt with these 5 heart-healthy recipes

What makes a recipe heart healthy? That means the ingredients are thought to be good for your heart. Heart-healthy foods also are low in saturated fat and low in salt.

In honor of American Heart Month, we’re sharing 5 recipes that you can enjoy with your family. You’ll notice olive oil, nuts, and even chocolate in these recipes.

So get cooking and then get eating!

Chocolate Sweetheart Parfaits

Just for fun, we’ll start with dessert — Chocolate Sweetheart Parfaits. This creamy treat mixes yogurt, cocoa, berries, and then adds just a hint of chocolate shavings on top.

And you only need 5 minutes of prep time.

What you need:

  • 1/2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 ½ c low-fat or fat free Greek yogurt
  • 2 c fresh or frozen raspberries
  • ¼ c shaved dark chocolate or chocolate chips

What to do:

  1. In medium bowl, whisk together cocoa powder and vanilla.
  2. Add honey and yogurt and stir until they’re well combined with cocoa mixture. It will turn light brown.
  3. Spoon 2 Tbsp of yogurt mixture into the bottom of four clear, tall glasses.
  4. Top with some raspberries and repeat until all the yogurt and raspberries are used up.
  5. Sprinkle each parfait with chocolate shavings.
  6. Serve or refrigerate until ready to share. (Parfaits can be made up to 2 days in advance.)

How much does this recipe make? 4 parfaits

Blueberry Oatmeal Squares

Oatmeal doesn’t have to be served in a bowl. Make your own whole-grain blueberry oatmeal squares, studded with good-for-you blueberries.

(Note: You can use raisins instead of blueberries to make cinnamon-raisin oatmeal squares.)

Prep and cook time: 25 minutes

What you need:

  • 1 ½ c quick oats
  • ½ c whole-wheat flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ c fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c skim milk
  • 3 Tbsp apple sauce
  • ¼ c brown sugar

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Coat baking pan with cooking spray.
  3. Place all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix until just combined.
  4. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and cut into squares.

How much does this recipe make? 9 squares

Mediterranean Pasta Soup

This easy soup starts out with canned chicken stock and finishes rich in vegetables and taste.

Prep and cook time: 25 minutes

What you need: 

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • ½ c diced onion
  • 1 ½ c water
  • 16 oz chicken broth
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • ½ c uncooked ditalini pasta (short tube-shaped macaroni)
  • 2 tsp chopped parsley

What to do:

  1. Heat olive oil in pot over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and sauté until lightly browned.
  3. Add water and next 6 ingredients
  4. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Add pasta and cook additional 10 minutes, or until pasta is tender but not overcooked.
  6. Stir in parsley.

How much does this recipe make? 8 1-cup servings

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Salad

Sweet potato & black bean salad will fill your plate with color and flavor. Season it hot or mild, depending on how you like it.

Prep and cook time: 16 minutes

What you need:

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks
  • Juice and zest of 2 limes
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • ½  of one chipotle in adobo sauce, finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • ½  c corn
  • 1 (15 oz.) can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ c cilantro, finely chopped
What to do:
  1. Place potatoes into a medium saucepan and cover with cold water.
  2. Bring to a boil and cook until just tender, about 6 minutes. Do not overcook.
  3. Drain and allow to cool.
  4. While potatoes are cooking, make dressing. In a large bowl, whisk together lime juice, zest, salt, pepper, honey, canola oil and chipotle.
  5. Add cooled potatoes, scallions, beans and cilantro. Toss gently.
  6. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate.

How much does this recipe make? 4-6 servings

Olive-Crusted Salmon

Fish contains healthy, unsaturated fat, but olive-crusted salmon packs a double punch when it comes to nutrition. The olives are heart-healthy, too!

Prep and cook time: 20 minutes

What you need:

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 c pimento-stuffed Spanish olives
  • 1 piece of whole-wheat bread
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 4 (4 oz. each) salmon filets

What to do:

  1. Put oven on broiler setting.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  3. Place oven rack 6 inches from broiler flame.
  4. Place olives, bread and lemon zest into a food processor and process until it reaches a paste texture.
  5. Pat salmon dry and spread a heaping tablespoon of olive mixture over each piece.
  6. Broil fish about 15 minutes, checking halfway through to ensure it’s not burning.

How much does this recipe make? 4 filets

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