Want to feel good? Start with a good diet.

Sometimes it can be hard to find recipes that taste great and are good for your heart. Healthy food often gets labeled as boring or unappetizing but it doesn't have to be. Inova Heart and Vascular Institute has some great recipes to spice up your regular eating routine and keep you healthy.

PDFRecipes for Romance!

(Printer-friendly): Check out two great heart-healthy recipes with "wow" factor: Romantic & Red Tomato Basil Chicken and Raw Chocolate Pie

Click a recipe below to see the instructions:

Fruited Buckwheat Pancakes

1 cup nonfat milk
1 egg
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup chopped peaches, fresh, frozen, or canned and drained

Heat griddle to 400 degrees. You'll know it's hot enough if you sprinkle water on it and the drops "dance." In a bowl or large measuring cup, beat egg into milk. Add oil. Stir in buckwheat flour, baking powder, and sugar. Let sit until bubbles begin to rise. When griddle is hot, use a 1/4-cup measure to drop pancakes. Top with fruit. Turn pancakes when they form bubbles and look dry around the edges, two to three minutes. Cook second side about two to three minutes.

Serving size information:
Makes 12 pancakes. Each pancake contains about 56 calories, 2 g protein, less than 1 g fat, 20 mg cholesterol, 13 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, and 57 mg sodium.
Add-ons: 1 teaspoon of salted butter adds 34 calories, 4 g fat, 10 mg cholesterol, and 27 mg sodium
1 tablespoon of real maple syrup contains 52 calories, 13 g carbohydrates, and 2 mg sodium.

Stuffed Peppers

This meal is generally lightly seasoned, which allows each diner to add condiments to individual taste.

4 large, square red, yellow, or green bell peppers (about 1-1/2 pounds total)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced onion
2 dried red chilies
1/2 cup diced tomatoes, peeled and seeded
1 15.5-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 cup water

Wash peppers and cut off tops 1/4- to 1/2-inch down. Remove seeds; set tops aside. Put peppers in a baking dish. Heat oil in a skillet. Saute garlic and onion with dried red chilies until onion is soft, about five minutes. Add tomatoes, beans, and brown rice. Mix thoroughly. Spoon mixture into prepared peppers and put tops back on. Add 1/2 cup water to pan. Cover and bake at 375 degrees until peppers are soft, about 45 minutes to an hour. Serve with fiery mango salsa.

Serving size information:
Each stuffed pepper contains about 289 calories, 11 g protein, 5 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 53 g carbohydrates, 12 g fiber, and 8 mg sodium.

California Marinated Salad

3 nectarines, chopped
½ lb. fresh mushrooms, quartered
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup pitted ripe olives (optional)
⅓ cup chopped green onions
1 8-oz can artichoke hearts
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ tsp. sugar
1 tsp. tarragon, crumbled
½ tsp. thyme

In a large bowl, combine nectarines, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, olives, and green onions. Drain and save liquid from the artichokes. Add the artichokes to the salad. Combine reserved liquid with remaining ingredients in a jar. Shake well and pour over the salad. Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator for two hours for the best flavor.

Serving size information:
Makes six servings. Each serving provides 80 calories, 3 g total fat (0 g saturated fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 100 mg sodium, 13 g total carbohydrate, 2 g dietary fiber, 7 g sugar, and 3 g protein.

Chicken and Mushroom Pasta

2 ⅔ c. rigatoni pasta (or other tube-shaped pasta)
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
12 oz. skinless, boneless chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
3 c. white button mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
½ c. low-sodium chicken broth
¼ c. dry white wine (or chicken broth)
1 c. tomatoes, chopped
¼ c. fresh basil, shredded
1 tbsp. dried oregano
¼ c. shredded Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta, drain, and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the salt and 1/8 teaspoon of the black pepper on chicken, then cook for 5 minutes or until center of chicken is no longer pink. Remove chicken from skillet and keep warm. Add remainder of the oil to skillet with garlic, mushrooms, and onions. Stir-fry until onions are just tender. Pour in broth and wine, then bring to boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until liquid is reduced to about half, stirring occasionally (about 5 to 10 minutes.) Remove skillet from heat. Add the pasta, chicken, tomatoes, basil, and oregano; toss to coat. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Serving size information:
Makes six servings. Each serving provides about  294 calories, 7 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 36 mg cholesterol  225 mg sodium, 33 g total carbohydrate, 2 g dietary fiber, 0 g sugars, 22 g protein.

Tortilla Pizza

12 small corn or flour tortillas
Vegetable oil
1 16-oz. can refried beans
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 oz. canned green chili peppers, diced (optional)
6 tbsp. red taco sauce
3 cups chopped vegetables, such as broccoli, mushrooms, spinach, and bell peppers
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Brush one side of each of two tortillas with water. Press the wet sides of the tortillas together to form a thick crust for the pizza. Brush the outside of the tortillas with a small amount of vegetable oil. Evenly brown both sides in a heated frying pan. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas. Set aside.

Heat refried beans, chopped onion, and half of the diced chili peppers together in a medium saucepan, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Spread about 1/3 cup of the bean mixture on each tortilla pizza. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon taco sauce, then top with 1/2 cup chopped vegetables, 1 teaspoon of diced chili peppers if desired, and 1 tablespoon of shredded cheese for each pizza. Return to frying pan and heat until cheese melts. Serve immediately.

Serving size information:
Makes six servings. Each serving contains 270 calories, 7 g fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 370 mg sodium, and 42 g carbohydrates.


Apple Coffee Cake

Whether it’s a birthday party or a weekend family dinner, nothing makes an occasion more festive than a beautifully presented cake. And while most cake recipes are less than healthy, the following recipe is so low in calories and fat that you can make your cake and eat it too. This cake gets its moistness from the apples and raisins, so it requires little oil.

5 cups tart apples, cored, peeled, finely chopped
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark, plump raisins
½ cup pecans, chopped
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg, beaten
2½ cups sifted, all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 13-by-9-by-2-inch pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine apples with sugar, raisins, and pecans; mix well. Let stand 30 minutes. Stir in oil, vanilla, and egg. Sift together flour, soda, and cinnamon. Stir into apple mixture about one-third at a time. Turn mixture into pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool cake slightly before serving.

Serving size information:
Makes 20 servings. Each 3½-by-2½-inch serving contains: 241calories, 5 g fat, 57 mg cholesterol, 273 mg sodium, 45 g carbohydrates

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