Heart healthy recipes for Valentine’s Day

Mass Appeal

Heart health is an important topic no matter your age, and in addition to exercise, your diet is incredibly significant! 

Registered dietitian Jennifer Belanger joined us with heart healthy recipes. 

Mediterranean Salmon Pasta           

        Serves 6


1 pound fresh salmon

8 oz. whole wheat penne pasta (½ standard size box)

2 cloves garlic, minced

16 oz. Campari tomatoes, quartered (or cherry tomatoes, halved)

One 15 oz. can quartered artichokes

¼ bunch kale (about 4 stalks), stems removed and leaves roughly chopped

1 teaspoon lemon zest

Juice of ½ lemon

18 kalamata olives

½ cup toasted pine nuts

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Wash salmon. Add a drizzle of olive oil to a glass baking dish and place salmon in the dish. Season with salt and pepper. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.
  3. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente.
  4. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in another large pot over medium heat. Add garlic, stir, and cook about 1 minute or until fragrant.
  5. Add tomatoes, artichokes, kale, and lemon zest to pot. Stir, and cook until kale is wilted and tomatoes start to just break down (you’ll notice the skins start to peel away). Add kalamata olives and lemon juice.
  6. Remove salmon from oven and cut into 6 equal portions.
  7. Plate pasta. Top with vegetable mixture, followed by salmon. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts.

    Black Eyed Peas with Kale

    1 cup black eyed peas
    3 medium carrots, diced
    2 medium stalks celery, diced
    1 onion, diced
    2 gloves garlic, minced
    ½ bunch kale stalks, stems removed and leaves roughly chopped
    3 cups water
    1 teaspoon dried thyme
    1 teaspoon chili powder
    ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1 teaspoon salt
    ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

    1.    Soak black eyed peas according to package directions (one method is to soak 1 cup black eyed peas in 4 cups cold water overnight or for 8 hours). Drain.
    2.    To a crock pot, add black eyed peas, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, water, and spices. Cover and cook on high for 3 ½ hours.
    3.    In the last 10 minutes of simmering, add chopped kale and stir.
    4.    Serve over farro, brown rice, or quinoa.


    Spicy, Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas



    1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, no added salt if available

    2 Tablespoons olive oil

    ½ teaspoon salt (optional)

    ½ teaspoon garlic powder

    ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper


    Directions: preheat oven to 450 degrees F

  8. Drain the chickpeas in a colander and rinse well.
  9. Pour the chickpeas onto a clean paper towel to quickly dry and remove excess water.

  11. Transfer chickpeas to a medium mixing bowl.
  12. Mix in olive oil, salt (if using), garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Mix well to evenly coat all the chickpeas.
  13. Pour coated chickpeas onto a baking sheet. Roast in the preheated oven about 20 minutes, shaking halfway through to roast evenly. If you like a crunchier chickpea, roast an additional 5-10 minutes, keeping a close eye on them so they do not burn.

    Valentine’s Raspberry White Bean and Beet Blondies



    ¼ cup beet puree (drain liquid from beets; combine ½ can beets with ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce in a food processor and blend until smooth)

    1 egg

    ½ cup pureed white beans

    1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

    ½ teaspoon raspberry extract

    2/3 cup brown sugar

    ½ cup flour

    ½ tsp salt

    ½ tsp baking powder

    1/8 teaspoon baking soda

    ½ cup mini chocolate chips



  14. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8” pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  15. In a large mixing bowl, combine beet puree, egg, white beans, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and raspberry extract. Mix until combined.
  16. In another mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
  17. Slowly add the flour mixture to the beet mixture, mixing well. Be careful not to overmix; stir until just combined.
  18. Pour batter into the greased pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top of the batter.
  19. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the pan comes out clean. Use a heart shaped cookie cutter to cut blondies into heart shapes.

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