6 recipes for heart healthy eating

To mark National Nutrition Month, dietitians Sara Bennett, RDN, CD, CDM, CPFF, Anne Dietz, RDN, CD, and Sarah Mohrman, RDN, CD, MA, with Parkview PPG – Cardiology, offer their top picks for tasty dishes (that are good for your ticker).

It’s so important for us to focus on how to fuel our bodies properly to prevent future chronic diseases. Year after year, heart disease claims the lives of more Americans than any other disease, attributed to 1 out of every 3 deaths. Although it’s tempting to grab a burger and fries for lunch, it’s time to shift your thinking toward an eating to live mentality and protect your heart through healthy lifestyle habits.

Here, we’ve offered some of our favorite recipes to get started down the path to healthier eating. We hope you enjoy!

Selections from Sara Bennett

Lemon-Mustard Orzo Salad with Asparagus

2 cups uncooked orzo pasta
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch asparagus, sliced into 2-inch segments
1 cup sliced sundried tomatoes
½ cup green onions

1. Cook the orzo according to package directions, al dente.
2. In the meantime, in a large mixing bowl, combine lemon juice, zest, mustard, thyme, salt and pepper; whisk. While whisking, slowly add olive oil and water. Whisk until combined and smooth. (Reserve 2 tablespoons.)
3. Drain orzo completely and toss in the large bowl with the vinaigrette. Set aside.
4. In a large nonstick skillet, add asparagus and reserved vinaigrette; cook for about 7 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and toss in the tomatoes.
5. Add asparagus mixture and green onions to the orzo and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Serve hot or cold.

Nutrition Facts: (½ cup servings) 174 calories, 4gm fat, 1gm saturated fat, 78mg sodium, 29gm carbohydrates, 3gm fiber, 4gm sugar, 5gm protein 

Instant Pot Cheeseburger Macaroni

1 pound 93% lean ground beef or turkey
1/3 onion diced (optional)
1 cup water
1 can healthy request cheddar cheese soup
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup whole wheat elbow macaroni, uncooked
1 container fat free Greek yogurt
1 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded

1. Turn your Instant Pot to sauté and add the meat.
2. Start to brown your meat, then add diced onions and cook together until ground beef is no longer pink. Turn IP off by pushing the cancel button (important step).
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together water, cheddar cheese soup and garlic powder. Pour on top of the meat.
4. Pour uncooked noodles in and do not stir, just push noodles down gently so they are submerged in the liquid. Close the IP lid and set to manual, pressure, high for 3 minutes.
5. Do a slow release, meaning barely move your steam valve so the steam comes out slowly, and carefully lift your lid.
6. Set IP to sauté. Add your Greek yogurt and shredded cheese.
7. Stir slowly and allow it to come to a boil and bubble.
8. It will thicken a bit after a minute or two. Turn IP off. The longer it sits the thicker it will become. Serve!

Nutritional Facts: Yields 8 servings; Serving size: 1 cup, 209 calories, 7.5gm total fat, 1.75gm saturated fat, 48mg cholesterol, 288mg sodium, 16gm carbohydrates, 1gm fiber, 2gm sugar, 19gm protein


Selections from Anne Dietz

Zucchini Noodles and Grape Tomatoes

½ tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
¾ pound grape tomatoes, cut in half
Pinch red crushed pepper flakes
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 large zucchini, spiralized with thicker blade
Parmesan cheese, optional

1. In a non-stick pan set over high heat, heat the oil.
2. Add the garlic cook until golden, 30 seconds.
3. Add the tomatoes, and crushed red pepper flakes, and season with pepper.  Reduce the heat to low.
4. Simmer, covered, under the tomatoes soften.
5. Increase heat to medium-high, stir in the zucchini and basil and cook 2 minutes.  Serve immediately.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese (optional).

Nutrition Facts: Yields 2 servings.  Serving size: 1 cup. Amount per serving: Calories: 117 calories, Total Fat: 5gm, Saturated Fat: 0gm, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium: 0mg, Carbohydrate: 30gm, Fiber: 5gm, Sugar 2gm, Protein: 4gm

Adapted from a recipe featured on


Asian Turkey Meatballs with Lime Sesame Dipping Sauce


¼ cup whole wheat panko crumbs
1 ¼ pound 99% lean ground turkey
1 large egg
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon coconut aminos
2 teaspoons sesame oil

Dipping Sauce:

3 tablespoons coconut amino sauce
1 ½ teaspoons sesame oil
1 ½ tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 ½ tablespoons water
1 tablespoon chopped fresh scallions

1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, combine the ground panko, turkey, egg, scallions, garlic, ginger, cilantro, coconut aminos and sesame oil.
3. Gently mix until combined well.
4. Shape meatballs ¼-cup in size and transfer to a baking sheet.
5. Bake until cooked through and browned, about 15-18 minutes.
6. For the dipping sauce, mix the lime juice, water, coconut aminos, and sesame oil in a bowl. 
7. Add scallions and set aside.
8. Serve the meatballs with a side of the dipping sauce.

Nutrition Facts: Yields 4 servings (12 meatballs), servings size: 3 meatballs with sauce; Amount per serving: 230 calories, Total Fat: 2gm, Saturated Fat: 0.5gm, Cholesterol 68mg, Sodium: 220mg, Total Carbohydrates: 15gm, Dietary Fiber: 1gm, Sugars: 11gm, Protein: 35gm

Adapted from a recipe featured on


Selections from Sarah Mohrman

Easy Vegan Fried Rice

Rice and Vegetables:

8 ounces extra-firm tofu
1 cup brown rice
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1 cup chopped green onion
1 bag frozen peas and carrots
8 ounces sliced mushrooms


3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce (plus more as desired to taste)
1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons honey
1 clove garlic (minced)
1-2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce (more or less depending on preferred spice)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or lightly grease with non-stick spray).
  2. In the meantime, wrap tofu in a clean, absorbent towel and set something heavy on top (such as a cast iron skillet) to press out the liquid.
  3. Once the oven is preheated, dice tofu into 1/4-inch cubes and arrange on baking sheet. Bake for 26-30 minutes. Look for golden brown edges and a texture that’s firm to the touch for the tofu. The longer it bakes, the firmer and crispier it will become, so if you’re looking for softer tofu remove from the oven around the 26-28-minute mark. Set aside.
  4. While the tofu bakes prepare your rice according to package directions.
  5. While rice and tofu are cooking, prepare sauce by adding all ingredients to a medium-size mixing bowl and whisking to combine. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more soy sauce for saltiness, peanut butter for creaminess, brown sugar for sweetness, or chili garlic sauce for heat.
  6. Once the tofu is done baking, add directly to the sauce and marinate for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Heat a large metal or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, use a slotted spoon to scoop the tofu into the pan leaving most of the sauce behind. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until deep golden brown on all sides.   Lower heat if browning too quickly. Remove from pan and set aside.
  8. To the still hot pan add peas and carrots along with mushrooms.  Sauté for about 4 minutes.  Add garlic and green onion and sauté for additional 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  9. Add cooked rice, tofu, and remaining sauce into veggies and stir. Cook over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  10. Serve immediately with extra chili garlic sauce or sriracha for heat (optional). Crushed salted, roasted peanuts or cashews make a lovely additional garnish. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, though best when fresh. Reheat in a skillet over medium heat or in the microwave.

Nutrition Facts: Serves 4. Per serving: 240 calories, 6.25g fat, 0.75g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 12.5 g protein, 35g carbohydrate, 5.75 g fiber, 497mg sodium.

Adapted from a recipe featured on

Skinny Buffalo Chicken Chili

2 pounds ground chicken breast
2 medium white onions, chopped
2 cups celery, chopped
2 cups carrots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes (no salt added), undrained
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can black beans (no salt added), drained and rinsed
1 cup hot sauce
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
Salt and pepper, to taste

Optional Toppings:
Blue cheese crumbles

1. Brown the chicken in a large pan over medium-high heat.
2. Toss the cooked chicken and the rest of the ingredients together into a slow cooker.
3. Give everything a good stir and secure the lid.
4. Cook for 8-10 hours on low or 6-8 hours on high.
5. Top with your choice of toppings.  Serve warm and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts: Serves 6; Serving size: about 1 cup; Calories: 203.5; Fat: 7.8g; Carb: 14.8g;  Fiber: 5g; Protein: 18.8g; Sugar: 2.7g; Sodium: 393.6mg

Adapted from a recipe featured on



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