Health Advocate Blog

Low-Cost, Heart-Healthy Recipes

September 29th is recognized by the World Heart Federation as World Heart Day. And, with World Heart Day just around the corner, we thought a fun way to get into the spirit would be to offer some delicious, heart-healthy recipes from the American Heart Association (AHA). These heart-healthy meals are not only great for you, but they’re also great for your wallet –many of the ingredients are inexpensive, and some recipes include ingredients you may already have in your pantry. Here are just a few ideas—you can get more here at the AHA Nutrition Center.  Get cooking today!


Main Dishes:

Lime-Jalapeno Chicken

What you’ll need:

  • 1/4 cup lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced
  • 1 to 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat, tendons removed

Cooking Instructions:

  • Combine lime juice, oil, vinegar, cumin and salt in a small bowl.
  • Stir in jalapeno.
  • Place chicken in a baking dish and pour the marinade you just made over it, turning to coat both sides.
  • Preheat grill to high heat.
  • Oil the grill rack.
  • Grill the chicken until cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
  • Let cool slightly; thinly slice crosswise. Serve warm or chilled.

Chef’s Tip: Serve with black beans and salsa!


Black Bean-Smothered Sweet Potatoes

What you’ll need:

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Cooking Instructions:

  • Prick sweet potatoes with a fork in several places. Microwave on High until tender all the way to the center, 12 to 15 minutes. (Alternatively, place in a baking dish and bake at 425ºF until tender all the way to the center, about 1 hour.)
  • Meanwhile, combine beans, tomato, oil, cumin, coriander and salt in a medium microwave-safe bowl; microwave on High until just heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. (Alternatively, heat in a small saucepan over medium heat.)
  • When just cool enough to handle, slash each sweet potato lengthwise, press open to make a well in the center, and spoon the bean mixture into the well. Top each with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cilantro.

Chef’s Tip: Great for vegetarians!


Sides and Snacks:

Green Bean Salad with Corn, Basil & Black Olives

What you’ll need:

  • 2 pounds green beans, trimmed
  • 3 ears corn, husked
  • 1/2 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup black olives, halved and pitted
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Hot sauce, such as Tabasco, to taste
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Cooking Instructions:

  • Put a large pot of water on to boil.
  • Fill another large pot half full with ice water. Blanch about half the green beans in the boiling water just until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and plunge into the ice water. Transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining beans.
  • Return the water to a boil. Add corn and blanch until tender but still crisp, about 3 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge into the ice water. Cut the kernels off the cobs.
  • Add the corn to the beans in the bowl. Add bell pepper, onion, olives, basil, oil, vinegar, lemon juice and garlic; toss to mix well.
  • Season with hot sauce, salt and pepper.

Chef’s Tip: This dish can be made days in advance and will last a few days if refrigerated properly.


Red and Green Bell Pepper Bites

What you’ll need:

  • 1 medium green bell pepper
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 4 ounces fat-free or reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon no-salt lemon pepper seasoning blend
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Cooking Instructions:

  • Cut each bell pepper in half lengthwise; discard the stems, ribs and seeds. Cut each half into six pieces. Arrange the pieces with the skin side down on a decorative serving platter. Set aside.
  • In a medium skillet, dry-roast the almonds over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden brown, stirring occasionally.
  • Transfer 1 tablespoon of the almonds to a small plate and reserve for garnishing. Process the remaining almonds in a food processor or blender for 15 to 20 seconds, or until finely ground.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, lemon pepper seasoning blend, and lemon juice with an electric mixer for 1 to 2 minutes, or until creamy. Add the ground almonds and beat for 10 seconds, or until combined.
  • Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a wide star or round tip. Or snip the corner off a resalable plastic bag (a plastic freezer bag works well) and spoon in the mixture. Pipe about 1 teaspoon of the mixture onto each bell pepper piece.
  • Garnish with the sliced almonds.

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