They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, so this Valentine’s Day, tempt him with a meal that will not only win over his ticker, but also keep it in tip-top shape for the long haul.
Pair this simple three-course themed menu with a selection of resveratrol-rich red wine, which is a natural antioxidant known to protect against heart disease, and you’ve got a red-hot dinner for two that’s cause for celebration!
Appetizer: Easy Caprese Salad
Heart-healthy hint: The olive oil in this appetizer helps to lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, while the tomatoes are packed with lycopene, another heart-friendly antioxidant.
- 2 vine-ripe tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
- 1 package fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
- 10 to 20 leaves fresh basil
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
- Coarse salt and pepper
- On a large plate, layer alternating slices of tomatoes and mozzarella, adding a basil leaf between each.
- Drizzle with equal parts extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Entrée: Simple Grilled Salmon
Heart-healthy hint: Salmon provides an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which protect the heart by reducing both inflammation and the risk of blood clots.
- 1 pound salmon fillets
- garlic powder to taste
- salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- Season salmon fillets with garlic powder and salt. Grate fresh ginger.
- In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, ginger and brown sugar until sugar is dissolved.
- Place fish in a large resealable plastic bag with the soy sauce mixture, seal, and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least two hours.
- Preheat grill for medium heat, and lightly oil grill grate and place salmon on the preheated grill, discarding the marinade.
- Cook salmon for about six to eight minutes per side, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
Side: Berry Delicious Spinach Salad
Heart-healthy hint: Leafy greens offer a one-two punch of vitamin E, iron and folate, which helps keep homocycteine levels down, while the berries provide lots of good antioxidants.
- 2 packed cups torn fresh spinach
- 1/2 cup sliced fresh strawberries
- 1/2 cup fresh, or frozen, blueberries
- 1/2 small sweet onion, sliced
- 1/8 cup slivered almonds, toasted
- 1oz gorgonzola cheese
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Pinch pepper
- In a large salad bowl, toss together spinach, strawberries, blueberries, onion and almonds.
- In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine dressing ingredients. Shake well; pour over salad and toss to coat.
- Sprinkle with cheese, and serve immediately.
Dessert: Heart-Shaped Chocolate Valentine Cake
(Adapted from Jean Carper, USA Weekend magazine)
Heart-healthy hint: As the grand finale, this cake features a hidden ingredient: Chickpeas. Odd, yes, but delicious nonetheless, and using legumes instead of flour adds fiber and protein and reduces unhealthy spikes in blood sugar.
- 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- 2 cups (or 19oz can) cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
- 4 eggs or 1 cup egg substitute
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 pint fresh raspberries
- In a small bowl, melt chocolate in microwave (two minutes on medium power).
- In a blender or food processor, combine beans and eggs. Add sugar, baking powder and chocolate; process until smooth.
- Pour batter into non-stick nine-inch heart-shaped cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Microwave jam in a small bowl until melted (about 45 seconds), and then stir in juice and berries to make the sauce.
- When cake is cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut cake into 10 wedges and drizzle with sauce before serving.
I love the entire meal and the dessert is adorable!! Beautiful table setting!
Yeah, I thought that table was pretty cute!
Yummy!! I can’t wait to try the chocolate cake recipe. Thanks for sharing!!
You’re very welcome! Let me know how you like it if you try it.
Well you said exactly what I said when I told my patients to eat especially for nutrients, not food groups or calories! Meaning when you look at a food, consider you are drinking a “calcium-potassium shake” which will ensure strong bones and a healthy heart, etc. All these recipes are scrumptious and the salad dressing I can’t wait to try! Thank you so much, blessings,
Thank you for the great feedback – I definitely agree! That kind of thinking helps me get more variety into my meals, for sure.
Love all of these–so delicious and healthy–these are some of our favorites–must try the dessert—way to go Jenny!
Thanks! Let me know if you guys try the dessert 🙂