Recipes: 5 Heart-Smart Meal Ideas

Zoomer | February 10th, 2018

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. 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, 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.

Scroll through below for some healthy ways to pull it all together.


walnut-stuffed-salmonCalifornia 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

Citrus Chicken Stir Fry Wraps

A portable rice wrap that will help keep you energized throughout the day. It’s packed with the essentials – energy enhancing carbohydrates, fibre and lean protein – so you can rest assured you’re receiving the nutrients necessary to keep you moving!

2 cups (500 mL) trimmed, cut into small pieces, broccoli (may use frozen)
1 lb (500g) boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
1 tbsp (15 mL) cornstarch
1 tbsp (15 mL) canola oil
6 green onions, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup (50 mL) hoisin sauce
1/4 cup (50 mL) water
1 orange, peeled and cut into segments
1 cup (250 mL) cooked, U.S. long grain brown rice
4 10-inch (25 cm) flax seed whole grain wraps
8 sprigs, fresh cilantro

In a small glass bowl, microwave broccoli until tender crisp, about 3 minutes. (If using frozen, thaw by placing broccoli in a colander and running it under hot tap water for about 30 seconds). Drain.

In a small bowl, toss chicken with cornstarch until coated. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Brown chicken on all sides, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate. In the same skillet, add green onion, garlic, hoisin, water, oranges and broccoli. Cook until onions soften and sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Add chicken back to skillet and remove from heat.

To assemble: divide rice over the middle third of each wrap. Arrange chicken mixture over top and place cilantro over each. Fold in sides and roll to enclose the filling. Can be served warm, room temperature or cold.

Makes 4 servings.

PER SERVING: about 430 cal, 34 g pro, 9 g total fat (1 g sat fat), 49 g carb, 6 g fibre, 65 mg chol, 520 mg sodium. %RDI: iron 15%, calcium 6%, vit A 20%, vit C 70%

Recipe and image courtesy of the USA Rice Federation. For more recipe ideas, visit

Eggplant Mediterranean

1 tsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 28 oz. can of diced no-salt-added plum tomatoes, drained
non-stick cooking spray
3 cups eggplant, cut into cubes
1 15 oz. can of white kidney (cannellini) beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste
12 oz. dried penne pasta
1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth
4 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Add olive oil to a large sauce pan and heat over medium temperature. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the pan and sauté until the garlic is softened, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes to the pan, heat to a simmer, cover pan and reduce heat to low. Coat a large non-stick skillet with non-stick cooking spray and heat over medium temperature. Add the eggplant and sauté, stirring often, until the eggplant is lightly browned, about 4 to 6 minutes. Lightly spray the eggplant with more cooking spray as necessary to prevent sticking.

Stir the tomato mixture into the eggplant and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and simmer over low temperature for about 8 minutes, or until the eggplant is tender. Add the beans and simmer 5 minutes more. Add the herbs, salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook the penne according to package directions. When the penne is cooked, drain it well and add to the sauce mixture. Toss to coat, adding broth as necessary to moisten. Divide between 6 plates and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Serve hot. Makes 6 servings.

(Submitted by reader JSC788.)

Rose’s Southwest Breakfast Burrito with Black Beans and Charred Corn

Trying a new recipe is a great way to add a little spark to your breakfast routine. This wrap from Breakfast for Learning national spokesperson Rose Reisman, is loaded with flavour and the black beans offer a great source of cholesterol-lowering fibre.

Serves 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

2 tsp vegetable oil
1/3 cup finely diced onion
1/3 cup canned corn, drained
1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 cup egg substitute (or 4 large eggs)
1/2 cup medium salsa
3 large whole wheat flour tortillas
1/2 cup shredded aged cheddar cheese
Pinch salt and pepper

1. Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 3 minutes or until soft. Add corn and sauté for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the corn begins to char. Add bell pepper, beans and garlic, and sauté for 2 more minutes. Set aside.

2. Lightly coat a nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Add egg substitute and scramble over medium heat for 2 minutes or almost set. Fold in the beans and corn mixture and cook for 1 more minute, or until the eggs are set. Keep warm.

3. To assemble the burritos, spread the salsa evenly over the 3 tortillas. Place one-third of the eggs along the center of each tortilla. Sprinkle with cheese and season with salt and pepper. Fold in both sides and roll. Cut in half.

4. If desired, toast the burritos in the oven or toaster oven at 400°F for 5 minutes before serving.

Source: More information on healthy eating and great recipe ideas can be found online at and

Mushroom and Broccoli Crustless Quiche

Eliminating the pastry in quiche lowers the fat and calorie count; breadcrumbs temper the egg’s sensitivity to any excess moisture from the vegetables.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 25-30 minutes

1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
8 oz (250 g) sliced fresh Mushrooms
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped onion
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) small broccoli florets
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup (250 mL) 2% milk*
3 eggs
1 cup (250 mL) shredded old cheddar or Swiss cheese
3/4 cup (175 mL) soft breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp (2 mL) Each salt and dried basil
1/4 tsp (1 mL) Each pepper and nutmeg
1/4 cup (1 mL) diced red pepper (optional)
1 tbsp (15 mL) Parmesan cheese

In large skillet melt butter over medium heat; sauté mushrooms and onion for 3-4 minutes or until moisture has evaporated; add broccoli and garlic, sauté until broccoli is bright green, about 2 minutes. Spoon mushroom mixture into lightly greased 9″(22 cm) pie plate. In mixing bowl or large measuring cup whisk milk and eggs together; stir in cheese, breadcrumbs, salt, basil, pepper, and nutmeg.

Pour over mushroom mixture stirring lightly to combine. Sprinkle with red pepper (if using) and Parmesan cheese. Bake in 400°F (200°C) oven for 25-30 minutes or until centre is set. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 6 Servings

*Substitute evaporated milk to give a little creamier consistency

Nutritional Information: Calories: 189, Protein: 11.8 g, Fat: 12.1 g, Carbohydrates: 8.9 g, Dietary Fibre: 1.0 g

Source: More delicious recipe ideas are available online at


For more heart healthy recipe ideas, visit:

American Heart Association Nutritional Center
The Heart and Stroke Foundation Recipes
Heart Foundation of Australia Recipe Finder
The Heart-healthy recipes
WebMD Healthy Cooking