Chocolate adds a sweet — and healthy — twist to vegetable favorites
By Liz Moore, RD, LDN
Having just celebrated Valentine’s Day, it’s only natural to be tempted by
even just the thought of richly decadent chocolate treats. But did you know
that chocolate has many heart-healthy benefits as well?
The antioxidant-rich flavonoids in chocolate help protect the body from
free radicals, which are harmful molecules that have been implicated in the
development of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), cancer and
Flavonols — the main type of flavonoid found in cocoa — contribute to
vascular health by improving blood flow to the heart and brain, lowering
blood pressure and making blood platelets less sticky.
From tangy balsamic vinaigrette to savory eggplant and spicy chili, we’re
taking our three healthy recipes in a new direction with the addition of
chocolate and cocoa. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at just how well these
seemingly opposite ingredients complement each other!
Sweet Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 cup olive oil
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
5 Tbsp cocoa powder, unsweetened
Whisk oil, vinegar, mustard and honey together. Add cocoa powder and blend.
Total calories per serving: 180; Total fat: 17g; Saturated fat: 2.5g; Total
cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 13mg; Total carbohydrates: 6g; Total fiber: 0.5g;
Sugar: 2.5g; Protein: 0.5g
Sweet and Savory Eggplant
1 medium onion, cubed
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp olive oil
1.5 lb. eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes, no salt added
3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp drained capers
1/2 cup golden raisins
3 Tbsp sugar
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate, grated
1/2 cup fresh basil, shredded
Saute onion and garlic in oil over medium heat until they begin to soften
and become fragrant. Add cubed eggplant and continue to saute until the
eggplant softens, about 10-15 minutes.
Add can of diced tomatoes (with juice), vinegar, capers, raisins, sugar and
chocolate. Allow to simmer together for an additional 15 minutes.
Transfer out of pan into a serving dish. Mix in fresh basil and serve.
Total calories per serving: 190; Total fat: 9.5g; Saturated fat: 2.5g;
Total cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 40mg; Total carbohydrates: 28g; Total
fiber: 7g; Sugar: 15g; Protein: 3.5g
Vegetarian Chocolate Chili
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 28-oz. can tomato puree, no salt added
1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 oz. dark chocolate
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Brown onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until soft. Transfer
to slow cooker.
Add diced tomatoes, tomato puree, black beans and cannellini beans to slow
cooker. Mix all together. Stir in dark chocolate, chili powder and cumin.
Cook on low for 4 hours. (Add water if you prefer chili to be thinner.)
Serve garnished with fresh cilantro.
Total calories per serving: 185; Total fat: 5g; Saturated fat: 1.5g; Total
cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 20mg; Total carbohydrates: 29g; Total fiber: 10g;
Sugar: 4g; Protein: 8g
Elisabeth (Liz) Moore, RD, LDN, is our resident guru in heart-healthy
. 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 BS degree in
human nutrition from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
Above content provided by the CardioVascular Institute at Beth Israel
Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult