Heart-healthy recipes

Celebrate Heart Month with these delicious heart-healthy meals.  

Maintaining a heart-healthy diet is just one of the many ways to decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke – but when you don’t know how to start, it can be tempting to go back to old food habits.  

Maybe you’ve heard some of the tips before – eat lots of fruits and vegetables, include a variety of whole, high-fibre grains; limit added sugars, processed and packaged foods, sodium and refined grains; consume more fish, less meat and less dairy.  

So how do you start? 

To make it simple, we rounded up some delicious, heart-healthy recipes created by UHN’s Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Program to show you what heart-healthy eating actually looks like in practice. These recipes were originally published on the Health e-University website


Mediterranean baked trout

The Mediterranean style of eating is often used to reduce risk factors linked to heart conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar. Try it out with this easy fish recipe.  

Yields: 5 oz serves 1, whole trout serves 4  

Ingredients  

  • 5 oz portion raw trout (one for each person)  
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil  
  • 1 lemon (juiced)  
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano  
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil  
  • 2 cups dry long grain brown rice  
  • 4 cups water 
Mediterranean baked trout

Directions  

  • Combine ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil, juice from 1 lemon, 2 tsp of dried oregano and 2 cloves of garlic in a bowl to make the marinade.  
  • Pour marinade over trout and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  
  • Cook the brown rice: add 2 tsp of extra virgin olive oil in a small pot on medium heat before adding 2 cups of brown rice. Stir for a couple of minutes, then add 4 cups of water and bring to a boil, stirring regularly. Cook until rice is complete, around 30 minutes.  
  • Remove trout from refrigerator, place it on a baking tray with parchment paper.  
  • Pre-heat oven to 400°F, place trout in oven and cook for 30 minutes (optional: add sliced tomatoes and onions inside the cavity of the trout during cooking).  
  • Serve trout on top of brown rice, enjoy.  

Tips

  • Rinse the rice in cold water prior to boiling. 
  • When pouring the marinade over the fish, pour some inside the fish as well to maximize the flavour.  
  • The Mediterranean diet encourages plenty of fish in place of red meat; fatty fish like trout has Omega-3 fats that can help reduce levels of inflammation. 

Beet salad  

This fresh roasted beet salad is the perfect way to add some new flavours to your meals without upping your sodium content.  

Yields: 4  

Ingredients  

  • 2 whole beets  
  • 1 can mandarin oranges  
  • 3 cup mixed greens  
  • 3 tsp extra virgin olive oil, plus some extra for roasting the beets 
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar  
  • 2 tsp orange juice  
  • ¼ tsp ground dry mustard  
  • Thyme and black pepper to taste  
Close up photo of arugula salad with beets.

Directions  

  • Coat beets with olive oil. Roast in the oven for 60 – 90 minutes at 375°F degrees. Let cool for a few hours before peeling off the skin.  
  • Mix the cider vinegar, orange juice, extra virgin olive oil, ground dry mustard and thyme and black peppers in a small bowl.  
  • Place the beets, mandarin oranges and mixed greens in a large bowl before adding 2 tbsp of dressing.  
  • Mix and enjoy!  

Tips

  • Extra virgin olive oil is an unsaturated healthy fat that has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol (high LDL or low-density lipoproteins leads to a buildup of cholesterol in your arteries). 
  • Avoid additional sodium by using fresh beets instead of canned or pickled beets.  
  • Adding fresh fruit juices like the orange juice into the salad dressing are great ways to add flavour without adding unwanted sodium.  

Minestrone soup  

There’s nothing more comforting than a warm bowl of soup in the winter. Ditch the added salt and keep the flavour with this low-sodium soup recipe.  

Yields: 4 – 6  

Ingredients  

  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil  
  • 1 cup onion, diced  
  • 1 cup carrot, diced  
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped  
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped  
  • 2 cups water  
  • 1 can navy beans  
  • 1 cup potato, diced  
  • 4 cups no-salt vegetable broth  
  • 1 cup zucchini, diced  
  • 1 cup cabbage  
  • 2 cups fresh plum tomatoes 
  • 1 bay leaf, diced  
  • 1 tsp each dried basil, dried oregano, dried thyme  
  • 1 cup seashell pasta
  • Sharp cheese to garnish 
Minestrone soup

Directions 

  • Sauté 1 cup of chopped onions in 1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil.  
  • Add 4 cups of vegetable broth, then 2 cups of water.  
  • Add in all the vegetables.  
  • Add dried herbs and spices (can adapt amount to your preference).  
  • Add in cloves of garlic (option to add more if desired). 
  • Bring to a boil and let simmer for 60 minutes.  
  • Cook the pasta in a separate pot and add in right at the end before serving.  
  • Serve in a bowl topped with fresh cheese (optional).  

Tips  

  • Frozen vegetables can be used in place of fresh vegetables.  
  • Herbs and spices are easy ways to add flavour without adding salt.  
  • If you’re serving your soup with a side of bread, read the label to make sure you’re choosing a bread that’s low in sodium content.  

Which recipe was your favourite? Take a picture of your meal and tag us on social media @tgwhf!

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