Heart Friendly Recipes (Spring 2015)

Chocolate Avocado Genache

Coconut Whip

Parchment Salmon

Roasted Butternut Squash & Red Onion with Tahini

Chocolate Avocado Genache

A very rich and dense tart filled with good fats from the avocado, coconut oil and nuts. You can alter the sweetness and intensity of the chocolate to your liking. If you want a delicious complimentary topping make coconut whip. Heart health: researchers have discovered an avocado a day helps boost your healthy cholesterol and lowers your LDL's * .

For the Base:

  • 2 Cups Pecans or Almonds
  • 1 tsp Pink Himalayan Salt, or any other good quality salt
  • 1 Cup Medjool Dates, pitted and packed

For the Filling:

  • 4 Medium sized ripe Avocados
  • 2/3 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 2 Vanilla Pods, seeds only OR 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 1/2 Cups Raw Cacao Powder
  • 1 Cup Coconut Nectar, Maple Syrup or Honey

In a food processor, blend the pecans or almonds (if possible, first soak them for around 6 hours and then dehydrate. The soaking releases the enzyme inhibitors and makes them easier to digest.) Add the salt and medjool dates and blend until you have a 'dough', or until the mix forms a ball.

Press this mixture into the bottom of a mold. I like to use a silicone mold, they are freezer safe and easy to get the tart out once it has set. Cover it in cling wrap and leave to harden in the freezer until you are ready to pour in the filling.

For the filling, blend everything together until smooth then pour onto the base.

Set in the freezer for 1 hour, and then it should be firm enough to slice. Top with fresh berries, edible flowers, a dusting of cacao powder - whatever takes your fancy and looks pretty!

* "Inclusion of one avocado per day as part of a moderate‐fat, cholesterol‐lowering diet has additional LDL‐C, LDL‐P, and non‐HDL‐C lowering effects, especially for small, dense LDL. Our results demonstrate that avocados have beneficial effects on cardio‐metabolic risk factors that extend beyond their heart‐healthy fatty acid profile." American Heart Association Journal. 

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Coconut Whip

  • 2 to 3 Cans of full-fat Coconut Milk
  • Vanilla Extract to taste (ie: 1/2 Teaspoon)
  • Sweetener to taste

Refrigerate 2 - 3 cans of full fat coconut milk for at least 6 hours. Open and pull out solid chunks of coconut milk and place in bowl. Whip with electric blender until the texture of whipped cream. Add vanilla extract and sweetener to your taste if desired.

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Parchment Baked Salmon

This is very simple to make and very tasty! It can be part of a fun family dinner or a fancy dinner party. I have done this with a group where we had a selection of veggies, herbs and oils and everyone made their own parchment packet for their meal. Salmon is high in omega 3's making it a very heart healthy protein!

  • 6 (6-ounce) Salmon Fillets
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 6 (15-square inch) pieces of Parchment Paper
  • 1/4 Cup chopped fresh Basil Leaves
  • 2 TBSN Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Lemons, thinly sliced
  • Kitchen twine

Place a large baking sheet on the bottom rack of oven. Preheat oven to 400°F.

Season salmon with salt and pepper. Cut two half inch slices into flesh of each piece of salmon; roll basil leaves and stuff into slits in the salmon.

Place a salmon fillet in the center of each piece of parchment paper. Drizzle each fillet with 1 teaspoon of the oil, then place lemon slices on top. Gather sides of parchment up over salmon to form a pouch, leaving no openings, and tie tightly with kitchen twine. Place packages directly on hot baking sheet in oven and cook for 20 minutes. Transfer to plates and carefully open packages to release steam before serving.

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Roasted Butternut Squash & Red Onion with Tahini

This is twist on seasonal roasted veggies from a cookbook (Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi) that is getting a lot of playtime in our house this winter. I knew I would like this recipe, but was surprised at how my kids are begging me to make it again! Squash is a lower carb, high fiber vegetable which supports a healthy gut microbiome. The yellow flesh is high in carotenoids which protect against heart disease. These and other anti oxidants are anti-inflammatory as well. Remember all the hype on how red wine is so good for your heart? Onions got it going on too. Onions are a high in quercitin, allicin and chromium. Quercitin is a strong anti-inflammatory, allicin is a strong anti-fungal and also has been shown to help with heart disease. Chromium helps maintain blood sugar levels.

  • 1 Large Butternut Squash (2 1/4 lbs.) cut into 3/4 by 2 1/2" wedges
  • 2 Red Onions cut into 1 1/4" wedges
  • 3 1/2 TBSN Olive Oil
  • 3 1/2 TBSN Light Tahini Paste
  • 1 1/2 TBSN Lemon Juice
  • 2 TBSN Water
  • 1 small clove Garlic, crushed
  • 3 1/2 TBSN Pine Nuts
  • 1 TBSN Za'atar
  • 1 TBSN coarsely chopped Flat Leaf Parsley
  • Maldon Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

Preheat the oven to 475°F.

Put the squash and onion in a large mixing bowl, add 3 tablespoons of the oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and some black pepper and toss well. Spread on a baking sheet with the skin facing down and roast in the oven for 30 - 40 minutes, until the vegetables have taken on some color and are cooked through. Keep an eye on the onions as they might cook faster than the squash and need to be removed earlier. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

To make the sauce, place the tahini in a small bowl along with the lemon juice, water, garlic, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Whisk until the sauce is the consistency of honey, adding more tahini or water if necessary.

Pour the remaining 1 ½ teaspoons oil into a small frying pan and place over medium-low heat. Add the pine nuts along with ½ teaspoon salt and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often, until the nuts are golden brown. Remove from heat and transfer the nuts and oil to a small bowl to stop the cooking.

To serve, spread the vegetables out on a large serving platter and drizzle over the tahini. Sprinkle the pine nuts and their oil on top, followed by the za'atar and parsley.

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