Heart-healthy recipes

The following original recipes were created by a registered dietitian. They are easy to make (even for a beginner cook), delicious (even for picky eaters), and healthy—they adhere to the healthy eating guidelines outlined in Healthy Eating for a Healthy Heart, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School. Bon appetit!

Oat Bran and Cranberry Muffins

Nutrition information per serving
Calories 130
Total fat 3.5 g
Saturated fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 90 mg
Total carbohydrates 28 g
Fiber 4 g
Protein 4 g

Makes 12 servings, 1 muffin each

2¼ cups oat bran
¼ cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons safflower oil
2 large egg whites
½ cup nonfat milk
¾ cup natural unsweetened applesauce
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 425° F. Mix the bran, brown sugar, baking powder, white sugar, and cinnamon together in a bowl. Stir in the oil, egg whites, milk, and applesauce until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the cranberries. Drop the batter into 12 lightly greased muffin cups. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool about 10 minutes. Refrigerate for up to a week, or freeze for up to three months.

Apple Cinnamon Steel-cut Oatmeal

Nutrition information per serving
Calories 200
Total fat 3 g
Saturated fat 0.5 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 25 mg
Total carbohydrates 35 g
Fiber 5 g

9 g

Makes 4 servings

1 cup steel-cut oats
1 medium apple, cored, with skin
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
(or to taste)
1 cup nonfat milk, divided

In the top half of a double boiler, place the oats and 4 cups water. Fill the bottom half
with water. Be sure not to overfill. Turn the heat to medium-high. Cook, covered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cut the apple into ½-inch wedges and add to the oats. Stir together and cook for another 15 minutes at medium heat. Add the cinnamon to taste. Divide the oatmeal into 4 bowls, adding ¼ cup nonfat milk to each serving right before eating. You can stir the milk in or leave it on top, whichever you prefer.

Black Bean Chili

Nutrition information per serving
Calories 270
Total fat 5 g
Saturated fat 0.5 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 90 mg
Total carbohydrates 42 g
Fiber 14 g

15 g

Makes 6 servings

6 cups canned black beans (see Note)
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons chili powder
16 ounces canned whole plum tomatoes, no added salt
2 tablespoons white vinegar

Pour the beans into a colander. Rinse under cold water for 5 minutes. Dice the garlic cloves. In a 4-quart pot, brown the garlic in the olive oil on low heat. Add the chili powder, beans, tomatoes, and vinegar. Cook on high heat for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Lower to simmer and cook for another 30 minutes.

Optional: Add fresh cilantro, hot pepper sauce, reduced-fat sour cream, or reduced-fat Cheddar cheese as desired and if your diet allows. (These additions are not included in the nutritional data above.)

Note: You can use dried beans that have been soaked overnight and cooked. Follow the package instructions for soaking and cooking.

Quinoa, Shrimp, Avocado, and Edamame

Nutrition information per serving
Calories 270
Total fat 5 g
Saturated fat 0.5 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 90 mg
Total carbohydrates 42 g
Fiber 14 g

15 g

Salad Makes 4 servings

1 cup Inca Red quinoa (see Note)
1 tablespoon diced green onion
5 cherry tomatoes, diced 1 red sweet bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, peeled and diced ½ avocado, peeled and diced
3 ounces raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup shelled edamame beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro

Place the quinoa and 2 cups water in a 1½-quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the water is absorbed (about 15 minutes). Add the green onion, tomatoes, pepper, garlic, avocado, and edamame to the cooked quinoa. Cook the prepared shrimp in 1 inch of water in a shallow pan on high heat. The shrimp are done when they turn pink, about 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and add to the quinoa. Add the olive oil, vinegar, and cilantro, and mix.

Note: Inca Red is a form of quinoa that is found in the rice section of specialty grocery stores or health food stores. It is a beautiful red color, so it makes this dish more attractive. If you have trouble locating this form of quinoa, you may substitute regular quinoa.

Broiled Salmon

Nutrition information per serving
Calories 180
Total fat 9 g
Saturated fat 1.5 g
Cholesterol 65 mg
Sodium 75 mg
Total carbohydrates 2 g
Fiber <1 g

23 g

Makes 4 servings

1 pound salmon fillet (preferably wild salmon)
1 tablespoon light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon paprika
2 ounces lemon juice or 4 lemon wedges (optional)

Preheat the broiler. Add 1 cup water to the bottom of a broiling pan. Place salmon on the top of the broiling pan. Spread the mayonnaise evenly over the salmon. Sprinkle the paprika over the prepared salmon. Broil in the upper half of the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through. Serve with lemon if desired.

Marinated Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Nutrition information per serving
Calories 170
Total fat 3.5 g
Saturated fat 1 g
Cholesterol 60 mg
Sodium 50 mg
Total carbohydrates 11 g
Fiber 0 g

22 g

Makes 4 servings

4 ounces orange juice
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 medium-sized pork tenderloin
Oil for coating the grill
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Prepare the grill. To make the marinade, place the orange juice, garlic, honey, and brown sugar in a large zipper-closure plastic bag. Add the tenderloin and refrigerate up to 6 hours. Lightly oil the grill so the pork does not stick. Grill the pork on medium-to-high heat, turning and basting with the marinade occasionally, for 15 minutes or until a meat thermometer shows an interior temperature of 160° F. Add ground pepper.

Red Rice with Scallions and Corn

Nutrition information per serving
Calories 210
Total fat 4 g
Saturated fat 0.5 g
Cholesterol 10 mg
Sodium 50 mg
Total carbohydrates 41 g
Fiber 3 g

4 g

Makes 4 servings

1 cup red rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
¹⁄8 teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ cup scallions, thinly sliced (white ends only)
½ cup corn
1½ cups no-salt-added chicken broth

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Rinse the rice. In an oven-safe, 12-inch round pot, heat the olive oil on medium. Add the pepper, scallions, and corn and cook for 10 minutes. Add the rinsed rice and chicken broth, and bring to a rolling boil. Do not stir. Turn the heat off, cover the pot, and place it in the oven for 35 minutes or until all of the liquid has evaporated.


Nutrition information per serving
Calories 190
Total fat 17 g
Saturated fat 2.5 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 10 mg
Total carbohydrates 12 g
Fiber 7 g

2 g

Makes 4 servings

6 cherry tomatoes
1 small clove of garlic, finely chopped
¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
3 ripe avocados, peeled
3 ounces lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil

Cut each tomato into 4 small sections. Put the garlic, tomatoes, cilantro, avocados, lime juice, and olive oil in a bowl. Using a potato masher, mash until the avocado is chunky (not smooth) and the ingredients are well mixed. Serve with grilled chicken or fish, on sandwiches, with eggs, or as a dip with raw vegetables.

Optional: If you prefer a spicy guacamole, add ¼ teaspoon chopped jalapeño pepper.


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.

No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

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