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For the Love of Food: Pump It Up – Recipes for a Healthy Heart

By Aly Wagonseller

Most of us have had a friend or family member suffer from heart disease.  In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that every 25 seconds, an American will have a coronary event.  Thankfully, knowledge is power when combating this often fatal disease, with a healthy diet and lifestyle being our greatest assets for living a longer life.



Choosing heart healthy foods isn’t as complicated as it used to be. Government labeling requirements have made it easier than ever to track evil culprits like sodium, trans and saturated fats, sugars and cholesterol, but also help us to monitor ingredients believed to improve heart health including fiber, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.  Omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon and tuna, flaxseed, oatmeal and certain nuts such as walnuts and almonds lower blood pressure and reduce triglycerides.  Carotenoids found abundantly in berries, sweet potatoes, red bell peppers, spinach and many other colorful fruits and vegetables help reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol and are also thought to keep plaque from attaching to the walls of your arteries, thereby reducing blockages.  Even “forbidden” treats such as chocolate and red wine can be part of a heart healthy diet when consumed in moderation.

We’ve provided a variety of heart healthy recipes for breakfast, lunch or dinner that the entire family will enjoy. They’re high in taste, low in fat and contain key ingredients to help keep your ticker ticking.


Eggplant Cannelloni  

Serves 4

 1 Tbsp. olive oil

4 large shallots, sliced

4 cloves garlic

2 jars (12 ounces each) roasted red peppers, drained

Juice of 1 orange (about 1/2 cup)

2 medium eggplants, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices

Olive oil cooking spray

2 oz. goat cheese                                                                                                                                                                                                                4 oz. low fat ricotta cheese

4 kalamata olives, pitted and minced

1 tsp. capers, chopped

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil

Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook shallots and garlic until soft, about 1 minute. Reduce heat. Cook until golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Add peppers and juice; bring to a boil. Lower heat; simmer until peppers are soft, about 5 minutes. Cool. Puree in a blender. Pour into a 9in x 13in baking dish.

Coat eggplants with cooking spray and broil on a baking sheet until golden on both sides, about 15 minutes. Heat oven to 400°F. Mash cheese, olives, capers and 1 Tbsp. of the basil in a bowl. Place 1 Tbsp. of filling at the end of each eggplant slice; roll up. Lay seam side down in dish. Bake 10 to 15 minutes. Top with remaining 1 Tbsp. basil.


 Salmon & Farfalle with Creamy Walnut Sauce

Serves 2-3

  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 1 small clove garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 4 oz whole-wheat farfalle pasta
  • 1 cup small broccoli florets
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
  • 1 tsp. walnut oil, or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 oz salmon fillet, poached and flaked into bite sized pieces

Bring water to boil in a large, deep pot. Combine walnuts, garlic, salt, pepper and cayenne in a blender; pulse until finely chopped. Blend in broth, parsley and lemon juice until smooth and creamy; set aside.

Cook pasta in boiling water for 5 minutes. Add broccoli and bell pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta and vegetables are just tender, about 4 minutes more. Drain, return to the pot. Add the walnut sauce and salmon; toss to coat.

Recipe Adapted from Eating Well


 Warm Chocolate Soufflés

Serves 6

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 Tbsp. hot water
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. ground hazelnuts or almonds
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3 Tbsp. firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup 1 percent low-fat milk
  • 4 egg whites
  • 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. powdered sugar
  • 1 cup raspberries

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Lightly coat six 1-cup individual soufflé dishes or ramekins with cooking spray or coat a 6-cup soufflé dish with the spray.

In a small bowl, combine the cocoa and hot water, stirring until smooth. Set aside. In a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the canola oil and stir to combine. Add the flour, ground hazelnuts and cinnamon and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir in the brown sugar, honey and salt. Gradually add the milk and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir into the cocoa mixture. Let cool slightly.

In a large, thoroughly cleaned bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the granulated sugar 1 tbsp. at a time and beat until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the cocoa mixture to lighten it. Then fold the remaining egg whites into the cocoa mixture, mixing gently only until no white streaks remain.

Gently scoop the cocoa egg white mixture into the prepared dishes (or dish). Bake until the soufflé rises above the rim and is set in the center, 15 to 20 minutes for individual souffles or 40 to 45 minutes for the large soufflé. Cool the soufflés on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes. Using a fine-mesh sieve, dust the top with the confectioners” sugar. Garnish with raspberries and serve immediately.


 Quinoa and Oatmeal Cereal

 Serves 4

  • 1/2 cup steel cut oats
  • 1/2 cup quinoa (well rinsed)
  • 1 unpeeled apple, cored and coarse chopped   
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp. raisins or dried cranberries
  • 2 Tbsp. walnuts, toasted and rough chopped
  • 2 cups water


  •  raw honey
  • bananas, sliced (optional)
  • berries
  • rice milk  

Mix all ingredients except for the toppings in a pot and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 20-30 minutes. Depending on size and juiciness of the apple you may need more liquid. Adjust accordingly, by adding water or juice.

Stir and serve with raw honey, banana, berries and rice milk.


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