World Heart Day is September 29. Here, five fabulous (and healthy) recipes your heart will love.

Whether you follow the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet or the Mediterranean diet, there are a few basic guidelines for creating heart-healthy meals. Experts say we should choose foods that are high in fibre, low in saturated fats and free of trans fats, and low in cholesterol and sodium. It’s no surprise that lean meats, oily fish, fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy, whole grains, nuts and seeds and legumes (dried beans and lentils) should regularly grace our plates. Food rich with antioxidants like green tea, leafy greens, berries and dark chocolate offer health benefits too. (For more ideas, see Top foods your heart will love.)

However, experts also warn that loading up on a few “super foods” isn’t the way to go — rather, a varied and balanced diet is key to getting the nutrients we need.

Here are some healthy ways to pull it all together:

California Walnut Stuffed Salmon (pictured above)

2 tsp olive oil 10 mL
1/4 cup minced onion 50 mL
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups chopped spinach 1 L
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper 2 mL
1 cup cooked brown rice 250 mL
2 tsp lemon zest 10 mL
1/4 cup shredded old cheddar cheese 50 mL
1/2 cup chopped California Walnuts 125 mL
1 lb salmon fillet, skinned and pin bones removed 454 g

In large non-stick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions; cook until tender but not browned, about five minutes. Stir in garlic, spinach, salt and pepper and cook just until spinach starts to wilt, about three minutes. Remove from heat.

Add cooked rice to spinach and stir in lemon zest until well combined. Spread spinach mixture evenly over salmon and sprinkle with cheese and walnuts.

Roll up gently using toothpicks or butcher’s twine to secure.

Place salmon on a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet and bake in 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) oven until fish is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.

Transfer to cutting board and let rest 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with steamed seasonal vegetables or green salad.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional information per serving

Calories 378, Protein 24 g, Total fat 24 g (Polyunsaturated fats 11 g, Monounsaturated fats 7 g, Saturated fats 5 g), Cholesterol 57 mg, Carbohydrate 17 g, Fibre 4 g, Sodium 419 mg

Recipe and image courtesy of the California Walnut Commission. For more recipe ideas and information about the health benefits of walnuts, visit www.walnutinfo.com.

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Elizabeth Rogers