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Happy Heart's Recipes

Let the Garden Be Your Guide to Eating Adventures!

Happy Heart

By Liz Moore, RD, LDN

From the backyard garden to your local farm stand, there are plenty of flavorsome options when it comes to incorporating local produce into recipes. While we all know the importance of eating fruits and vegetables, produce is particularly essential to heart health, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and even type 2 diabetes.

Visiting your backyard garden or a nearby farm stand is the best way to ensure that your produce is fresh-and freshness is a sign that produce will taste great and deliver the optimal nutrients needed for a healthy body and heart.

Locally grown fruits and veggies have the least amount of travel time between the grow site and your plate. This makes for both an ecologically friendly meal and a nutrient-rich one. Each day produce sits on the store shelf diminishes its nutritional content, including vitamin C.

The recipes below use commonly found farm stand produce in non-traditional ways. Eating veggies and fruits should be exciting and delicious. Enjoy your adventure in the garden!
Source »

Spicy Kale Chips

Serves 4


1 bunch kale
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional - spicy!)


Preheat oven to 350º. Line pan or cookie sheet with wax paper. Remove leaves of kale from the stem with kitchen scissors or a knife. Wash and dry leaves.

In a bowl, mix leaves with olive oil, a sprinkle of paprika and red pepper flakes (if using). Lay leaves in the pan and bake until edges are brown, about 10-15 minutes.

Nutrition Facts: Total Calories per serving: 56; Total Fat: 4 g, Saturated Fat: 0.5 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 20 mg, Total Carbohydrate: 5 g, Dietary Fiber: 1.5 g, Sugars: 0 g, Protein: 1.5 g

Rhubarb Medley

Serves: 4


1 cup rhubarb, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups chopped, peeled apple
2 tbsp raisins or dried cranberries
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp instant tapioca pudding
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp chopped walnuts


Preheat oven to 350º. Combine rhubarb, apples, raisins, sugar, instant tapioca and cinnamon in a bowl and mix thoroughly.

Spread mixture in a small pan and bake until bubbling, about 30 minutes. Top with chopped walnuts and serve over plain yogurt or ice-cream for a treat.

Nutrition Facts: Total Calories per serving: 85; Total Fat: 2.5 g, Saturated Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 3 mg, Total Carbohydrate: 16 g, Dietary Fiber: 2 g, Sugars: 12 g, Protein: 1 g

Lettuce Leaf Wraps

Serves 8


1 small onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 chicken breast (about 5 oz.), cut into small cubes
1/4 tsp cumin
Sprinkle of chili powder
1/2 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
1 tomato, diced
1/2 cup shredded, low-fat cheddar cheese
8 Boston Bibb lettuce leaves


Saute onion and pepper in 1 tbsp olive oil, until tender but crisp, about 6-8 minutes. Remove and set aside. Add chicken to the pan with cumin and sprinkle of chili powder and saute with 1 tbsp of olive oil until cooked through, about 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add corn kernels for the last minute to heat through.

On each lettuce leaf, layer the chicken mixture, onion-pepper mixture and tomato on top. Add a sprinkle of cheese and roll up.

Nutrition Facts: Total Calories per serving: 80; Total Fat: 4 g, Saturated Fat: 0.5 g, Cholesterol: 5 mg, Sodium: 70 mg, Total Carbohydrate: 5 g, Dietary Fiber: 1 g, Sugars: 1 g, Protein: 6 g

Elisabeth (Liz) Moore, RD, LDNElisabeth (Liz) Moore, RD, LDN, is our resident guru in heart-healthy nutrition. She is a registered dietitian for BIDMC's CardioVascular Institute (CVI) and sees patients in BIDMC's outpatient nutrition clinic and the CVI's Cardiovascular Health and Lipid Center. Moore received her B.S. degree in human nutrition at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Above content provided by the CardioVascular Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.

Posted August 2012