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Heart-healthy salsa, stuffed squash and shepherd’s pie

Last Modified: February 16, 2024

Heart Health, Nutrition & Recipes

The dietitians at the Parkview Heart Institute are committed to making heart-healthy eating easy. They’re sharing a roundup of tempting dishes to satisfy your tastebuds and support your cardiovascular wellness. So, make your grocery list and dig in!


Gianna’s Cucumber-Avocado Salsa

1 medium English cucumber, seeded and diced (about 2 cups)
2 medium firm-ripe avocados, diced
½ red onion, diced
¼ cup lime juice (approximately 2 limes)
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped or to taste (optional)
Salt, to taste

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine all the ingredients and toss gently. Serve within an hour of preparing.

Serves 6

Nutrition facts
[Per serving (1/2 cup serving size), calories: 111; total fat: 9g; saturated fat: 1g; protein: 1.5g; carbohydrates: 8g; fiber: 4.5g]

acorn squash

Stuffed Acorn Squash

3 acorn squash
½ cup quinoa
½ cup diced onion
1 ½ cups diced mushrooms
1 cup diced celery
½ cup finely chopped cabbage
½ teaspoon sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
½ cup pumpkin seeds

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Halve the squash laterally through the center (rather than through the stem) and scoop out the seeds.
  2. Place the squash in an 8×8-inch baking dish with the cut side down and fill the baking dish with 1⁄4 inch of water.
  3. Loosely cover with foil and bake until the squash and edible skin are soft, about 35-40 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Combine the quinoa and 1 cup of water in a small pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool; then fluff the quinoa with a fork.
  5. Preheat a large skillet over medium heat for about 1 minute. Add the onions and sauté for about 7 minutes, stirring often, or until the onions are quite brown. Add water 1-2 tablespoons at a time to keep the onions from sticking to the pan.
  6. Add the mushrooms, celery, cabbage, salt, and pepper to taste and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Add the vegetable mixture to the quinoa and stir together.
  8. Fill each of the cooked squash halves with the quinoa mixture, packing them firmly. Add remaining filling on top of the halves.

Serves 6

Nutrition facts
[Calories: 135; total fat: 8g; saturated fat: 1g; sodium: 225mg; carbohydrates: 11g; fiber: 2g; protein: 5g]

Recipe modified from Clean Food Dirty Girl

shepherd pie

Shepherd's Pie

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 30 minutes


1-1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup fat-free chicken broth (or skim milk)
2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon pepper, divided
Paprika, to taste


1 pound 99% ground turkey
Cooking spray
1 medium onion, diced
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
8 ounces mushrooms, diced
10 ounces frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, corn, peas, green beans, baby lima beans)
2 tablespoons flour (or gluten-free flour)
1 cup fat-free beef broth
2 teaspoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon freshly chopped rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
Kosher salt and pepper

  1. Boil potatoes in a medium pot of water until cooked and soft. Drain and mash with chicken broth (or milk), sour cream and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  3. In a large sauté pan brown meat over medium-high heat, breaking the meat up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Season with 1/2 teaspoon pepper to taste. When cooked, set aside on a plate.
  4. Add the cooking spray, onion, garlic, mushrooms and celery and sauté on medium heat, about 6-8 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  5. Add the flour, frozen vegetables, beef broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, thyme and cooked meat and mix well. Simmer on low for about 8-10 minutes.
  6. Spread the meat on the bottom of casserole dish. Top with mashed potatoes and sprinkle with paprika, to taste.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, then place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes until the potatoes turn golden.
  8. Remove from oven and let it cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 6 

Nutrition facts
[Per serving (1/6 of pie), calories: 284; total fat: 2g; saturated fat: 0.4g; cholesterol: 45mg; sodium: 306mg; carbohydrates: 42g; fiber: 6g; sugar: 3g; protein: 26g]

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