Comfort Your Heart this Winter with Hearty and Healthy Entrées
Simple Ingredient and Technique Swaps Put Heart-Healthy Spin on Comfort Foods
CHICAGO Hearty comfort foods are always popular during the winter months. They may be delicious, but not always the healthiest to eat. The Comfort Your Heart Recipe Collection from CanolaInfo showcases how you can make these foods heart-healthy with simple ingredient changes and healthier cooking techniques.
I love these recipes because they are both hearty and heart-healthy, says Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D., C.S.S.D., L.D.N., author of The Flexitarian Diet and developer of the recipe collection. Our heart is one of the most important organs in our body, and if we treat it right, our entire body can function at a more optimal level.
To make her comfort foods heart-healthy, Blatner uses a blender to thicken soup instead of heavy cream and bake-frying to make food crispy instead of deep-frying. She upgrades grains, using whole grain versions of breads and gnocchi. She also pumps up produce, making pesto from kale, fries out of carrots and parsnips, chips from zucchini and pasta from spaghetti squash. Such ingredient swaps keep calories and saturated fat in check while optimizing nutritional value.
The emphasis lately has been more on what to add to your diet for heart health as opposed to what to subtract, says Blatner. It used to be eat less salt, eat less cholesterol and eat less fat. Now its more about eating whole grains, plant proteins, lots of produce and heart-smart fats like canola oil.
Each heart-warming entrée contains less than 500 calories per serving and is low in saturated fat. All recipes are made with canola oil, which has the least saturated fat and most omega-3 fat of all common culinary oils and is free of trans fat. Recipes include:
- Rustic Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Crostini
- Skillet Gnocchi with Butternut Squash and Kale Pesto
- Chicken Parmigiana with Spaghetti Squash
- Turkey Burger Casserole with Parsnip and Carrot Frites
- Cornmeal-Crusted Fish and Zucchini Chips
- Beef Ragout with Grilled Bread
Comfort food not only tastes good, but can evoke fond memories and emotions, says Blatner. When putting together these recipes, I thought about foods that seemed hearty and warm something I would like to eat on a winter night. I also wanted these dishes to be quick and easy since comfort food should be comforting to prepare as well as eat.
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