Eat to Your Heart's Content

Looking for a delicious and healthy way to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year? Whether you’re looking to skip the busy restaurants or prefer to spend an evening at home, here’s a simple yet delicious meal for two to help you treat your loved one to a heart-healthy meal that will warm his/her heart and improve the health of it, too.

Appetizer: Roasted beet salad with arugula and walnuts
This salad is as delicious as it appears. The dark colour of the beets gives the salad extra anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The added fibre from the arugula and walnuts gives this salad a distinguishing flavour that makes it the perfect beginning to any meal.

What you’ll need:

    • 4 freshly-roasted beets, cut into quarters
    • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    • 1 cup arugula
    • 1/8 cup walnuts or almonds, chopped
    • Salt and pepper to taste

How to assemble:
1. In bowl, whisk together the vinegar and olive oil, mustard and salt and pepper to taste.
2. Pour half of the vinaigrette over quartered beets.
3. In a separate bowl, add the arugula with the other half of the vinaigrette.
4. Add the beets to the arugula, sprinkle the walnuts or almonds on top and add addition seasoning to taste.

Main Course: Baked salmon with pomegranate salsa
A 3-oz. serving of 75 percent lean ground beef contains 15 g of fat compared to 4 g of fat in the same amount of salmon. Plus, salmon and other large, cold water fatty fish contain large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, unsaturated fats that benefit the heart rather than increasing the risk of heart disease. Plus, studies reveal that the high antioxidant properties in pomegranates can help reduce cholesterol for an added heart-health benefit.

What you’ll need for the salmon:

    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
    • 2 tbsp lime juice
    • 2 tbsp lemon juice
    • 1/4 tsp fresh, minced ginger
    • Pinch cayenne pepper
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 2 salmon fillets, deboned

For pomegranate salsa:

    • Pomegranate seeds from one pomegranate
    • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
    • 1/2 cup chopped mint
    • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
    • 1 minced scallion
    • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • Sea salt to taste

For the Pomegranate salsa;
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, gently mix, cover and let it sit as you prepare the salmon.

For the baked salmon:
How to prepare:
1. Preheat oven to 400°C.
2. Whisk together the lime juice, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, olive oil and ginger.
3. Place salmon on a piece of foil and in a baking dish.
4. Pour half the above marinade over the salmon, cover with the foil to hold the marinade in place.
5. Marinate in refrigerator for half an hour. Remove from foil, and place the salmon in a baking dish in preheated oven.
5. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the salmon can easily flake off with your fork.
6. While the salmon is baking, combine the other half of the marinade in a small saucepan over medium heat and simmer until reduced by half.
7. Pour the reduction over the cooked fillets.
8. Place 1/4 cup of the salsa on top of each fillet.

Dessert: Avocado chocolate mousse—ready in minutes!
Dessert doesn’t have to be high in sugar and fat to be delicious. The omega-3-rich avocado in this dessert gives it the consistency of mousse but without the eggs and cream, and this recipe doesn’t have the extra sugar commonly found in store-bought chocolate mousse.

What you’ll need:

    • 2 ripe avocados
    • 1/4 cup milk of your choice
    • 1/3 cup cacoa powder
    • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • 3 tbsp sweetener of your choice
    • Pinch of salt

How to assemble:
1. Blend all ingredients in a food processor.
2. Spoon into a bowl and for an added touch, garnish with a raspberry.

Remember, a diet high in processed foods and unhealthy fats has been linked to obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease. A diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables, fibre, antioxidants and omega-3s is high in anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce the risk for heart disease. To read more about a heart-healthy diet, click here.