Eat smart for a healthy heart - recipes

CURRIED BARLEY PILAF . Picture: Chris Collingridge 347

CURRIED BARLEY PILAF . Picture: Chris Collingridge 347

Published Sep 18, 2013


Knowing the difference between good and bad fats is one of the keys to eating a healthy diet.

Saturated fats– fats that are solid at room temperature like butter, also found in food derived from animal sources. These are the bad fats that increase the levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) in your blood and decrease the level of HDL (good cholesterol).

Polyunsaturated fats– liquid at room temperature and in the fridge, these are good fats and they help the body get rid of cholesterol. Found in grains, nuts seeds and many vegetable and fish oils.

Monounsaturated fats– these are liquid at room temperature, but start to solidify in the fridge. These help reduce cholesterol and can be found in olive oil, nuts and avocado.

Trans fatty acids– these are bad fats. They are made when unsaturated fats are hydrogenated (adding hydrogen atoms to make a solid product). These products are often used in fast food and store-bought biscuits and cakes. They cause an increase in cholesterol and should be avoided. These fats are often hidden and unless you read labels carefully you may not realise how many trans fats you are consuming.


Ways of reducing fat when cooking

There are a few simple methods of food preparation that will ensure that fat is kept to a minimum when cooking:

* Remove all visible fat and skin from meat and poultry.

* Brush food with oil rather than adding oil to the pan to cook.

* Steam vegetables or cook in a small amount of water.

* Using a non stick pan helps reduce the need for a lot of oil when cooking or frying.

* Using a spray canister to add oil will prevent heavy handedness when adding oil to a pan.

* Bake chips in the oven instead of frying in deep oil.

* Use a non-stick pan too cook and dry fry where possible.



Serves 4 to 6

500g boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes

45ml fresh oregano leaves

2 cloves of garlic, minced

5ml grated lemon rind

45ml lemon juice

a pinch of freshly ground pepper

30ml olive oil


160ml Greek yoghurt

80ml shredded cucumber, squeezed dry

1 clove of garlic, minced

15ml chopped fresh dill

15ml chopped fresh mint

5ml grated lemon rind

Place the chicken cubes into a bowl. Add oregano, garlic, lemon rind and juice and pepper and stir to coat well. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Skewer chicken onto 4 metal or soaked wooden skewers.

Heat a griddle pan until very hot and cook the skewers until done. Can also be done on a braai or under a grill on a baking tray covered with tinfoil. Serve warm with tzatziki.

TZATZIKI: In a bowl, stir together all the ingredients and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.



Serves 6 to 8

300g whole wheat penne pasta

300g spinach, washed and chopped

250ml vegetable stock

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

125ml cashews

400g can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

15ml lemon juice

5ml dry mustard

3ml salt

3ml ground black pepper

60ml whole wheat breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to hot pan. Add spinach, toss to combine. Spoon into an ovenproof casserole dish and set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine the stock, onion and garlic. Bring to the boil and reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for about 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Place cashews in a food processor. Cover and process until finely ground. Add half of the water, blend until smooth. Add onion mixture, beans, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper. Cover and process until smooth. Stir bean mixture into pasta mixture. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake for about 20 minutes or until crumbs are toasted and pasta is heated through. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.



Serves 4 to 6

250ml vegetable stock

250ml water

10ml olive oil

1 onion, finely diced

250ml pearled barley

10ml curry powder

250ml diced butternut

salt and pepper

125ml frozen peas, defrosted

Preheat oven to 180°C.

In a small pot, heat stock and water to boiling. Set aside.

In another pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the curry powder and fry until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add the barley and fry for 2 minutes. Stir in the butternut and mix until combined. Season to taste. Add the stock and mix well. Pour into an ovenproof casserole and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 40 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed and the barley is tender. Remove the foil, add the peas and stir through. Serve immediately.



Makes 24

375ml brown sugar

500ml oats

750ml flour

5ml bicarbonate of soda

15ml baking powder

5ml ground ginger

2ml ground cloves

85ml finely ground flaxseeds

85ml ground almonds

85ml wheat germ

50ml lemon olive oil

125ml apple sauce

50ml water

3 eggs

10ml vanilla extract

125ml dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.

In a large bowl, mix together sugar, oats, flour, bicarb, baking powder, ginger, cloves, flaxseeds, almonds and wheat germ. Make a well in the centre and add the olive oil, apple sauce, water, eggs and vanilla. Mix until well blended. Stir in the cranberries. Scoop out golf ball sized cookies on to the baking trays and flatten with the back of a spoon. These cookies do not spread when baked. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool and store in an airtight container. Can be individually wrapped and frozen for a quick fix in the mornings.



Makes 6

6-8 whole wheat or plain flour tortillas

10ml olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

10ml ground cumin

10ml ground coriander

500g lean ground beef

400g tin chopped tomatoes

a pinch of chilli flakes

salt and pepper

butter lettuce, for garnishing

60ml fat-reduced white cheddar, grated


60g cherry tomatoes, halved

1 avocado, diced

60ml chopped coriander

15ml lemon juice

5ml olive oil

salt and pepper

For the tortilla bowls, warm in the microwave for 10 seconds. Grease a mega-muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. Carefully press 1 tortilla into each cup. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 10 minutes until golden and crisp. Remove and cool.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pot and sauté the onion and garlic until translucent. Add the cumin and coriander and fry for a minute. Add the mince and cook until brown. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, chilli flakes and season. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes. Place tortillas on serving plates. Line each with lettuce. Spoon beef mixture into tortillas. Sprinkle with cheese and top with salsa.

SALSA: Combine all ingredients and mix well. - The Star

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