Heart-Smart Spring Recipes

Spring is such an exciting time. The weather is warming, the days are getting longer, and produce becomes more affordable. You can start including new and fresh foods in your diet, or you can begin to plant your own foods.

It’s also a time when many people renew their vows to exercise and get healthy, so combining healthy foods with springtime recipes can be just the thing.

As more people are becoming concerned with their heart health (and for good reason), recipes that are good for the heart are becoming more sought-after. So this spring, be kind to your heart and try including some of these recipes.

Asparagus

Olive oil is purported to be a heart-healthy fat. One of the simplest ways to combine this healthy oil with this classic springtime vegetable is in this recipe:

Wash 1 pound of asparagus and trim an inch or two off the bottom of the fibrous stems. Steam asparagus spears for 6 to 8 minutes, or until they are crisp-tender. Remove the steamed asparagus to a bowl, and drizzle it with 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Toss to coat, and chill the asparagus spears. Before serving, sprinkle spears with a bit of crunchy kosher salt to taste.

Brussels sprouts

These little cabbage-like vegetables may have a bad reputation with kids, but they can be a part of healthy springtime recipes. Here is a heart-friendly recipe idea for these nutty vegetables.

Trim and wash 1 pound of Brussels sprouts. Steam them for 8 to 10 minutes. In a bowl, whisk together:

  • 2 tablespoons walnut oil (you can use olive oil if you prefer)
  • 1 tablespoon finely-chopped shallots
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

When Brussels sprouts are steamed, toss them into the bowl with the dressing and stir to coat. If you like, grind fresh pepper over the sprouts.

Artichokes, new potatoes, and other spring vegetables

Combine lots of spring veggies in this heart-healthy dish.

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and sauté for 5 minutes:

  • 5 artichokes, trimmed and split in half lengthwise
  • 4 new potatoes, halved
  • 3 large carrots, split in half lengthwise and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 2 leeks, split in half lengthwise and cut into 2-inch chunks (use only the white and light green parts of the leeks)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Then add 3/4 cup water to the pot, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley, and any other herbs of your choice. You can also add a tablespoon of lemon zest. Toss to combine.