Valentine's Day Heart Health Menu

The Physicians Committee

Food for Life

PCRM has a variety of delicious, high-fiber, low-fat recipes designed to keep you and your loved ones healthy all year round. In celebration of Valentine’s Day and American Hearth Month, we’ve put together a day’s worth of recipes to wow family, friends, and significant others. The key is to incorporate fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables into your recipes and to keep your recipes simple. Tips like using vegetable broth in place of oil or creamed cashews in place of dairy products in soups make for tasty, yet healthy versions of traditional favorites. For more tips like this, click here.


Breakfast: Cinnamon-Raisin French Toast or Huevos Rancheros
Lunch: Quinoa and Carrot Salad with Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Chowder
Snack: Curry Popcorn
Dinner: Veggie Parmesan
Dessert: Orange-Applesauce Date Cake or Berry Mousse

Cinnamon-Raisin French Toast

This French toast recipe is a comforting way to show your loved ones how much you really care. It is a healthier alternative to your conventional French toast recipe as it is low in fat, cholesterol-free, and adds beneficial soy and whole wheat to your diet. Top with fresh fruit or maple syrup.

Makes 6 slices

1 cup fortified plain or vanilla soy- or rice milk
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
6 slices cinnamon-raisin bread
vegetable oil spray

Combine nondairy milk, flour, maple syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon in a blender. Blend until smooth, then pour into a flat dish.

Soak bread slices in batter until soft but not soggy. The amount of time this takes will vary depending on the bread used.

Cook in a vegetable oil sprayed nonstick skillet until first side is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Turn carefully with a spatula and cook second side until brown, about 3 minutes.

Per slice: calories: 122; fat: 1.9 g; saturated fat: 0.4 g; calories from fat: 14.2%; cholesterol: 0 mg; protein: 4.2 g; carbohydrates: 22.6 g; sugar: 7.7 g; fiber: 2.3 g; sodium: 125 mg; calcium: 74 mg; iron: 1.5 mg; vitamin C: 0.2 mg; beta-carotene: 1 mcg; vitamin E: 0.7 mg

Recipe from Jennifer Raymond, found in Kristine Kieswer’s book Healthy Eating for Life for Women

Huevos Rancheros

A good-quality salsa and tostada make all the difference in this Mexican treat. They’ll take this recipe from good to spectacular!

Makes 4 servings

1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 cup salsa
3-4 tostadas
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Roma tomato, diced

Follow the directions for the Breakfast Scramble, adding the chili powder when you add the turmeric. After the scramble has fully cooked, stir in the salsa. Place equal portions of the scramble on each tostada, then top with the cilantro and tomato.

Leftovers: Warm the scramble over medium heat for about 3 minutes, adding the chili powder and salsa to the scramble about 1 minute after you start warming it. Cook for another 2 minutes and then top with the other ingredients.

Per serving (1/4 recipe): calories: 153; fat: 5 g; calories from fat: 24%; cholesterol: 0 mg; protein: 8 g; carbohydrates: 19 g; sugar: 1 g; fiber: 3 g; sodium: 119 mg

Breakfast Scramble

8 ounces extra-firm tofu
1 Yukon Gold potato, diced
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground turmeric

Crumble the tofu in a mixing bowl with a whisk or by hand.

Steam the potato for about 5 minutes. While it is steaming, heat a sauté pan up to medium heat. Add the tofu and salt, gently and slowly stirring it while it is in the pan, and cook it for about 3 to 4 minutes.

Stir the turmeric and potato into the scramble, cooking for one more minute.

Recipe from Jason Wyrick found in 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart: Boost Metabolism, Lower Cholesterol, and Dramatically Improve Your Health by Neal Barnard, M.D.

Quinoa and Carrot SaladQuinoa and Carrot Salad

This light, spicy-sweet salad will tease your taste buds. Try adding any leftover beets, broccoli, or other vegetables you have on hand. Paired with a hearty soup, it makes for a light, yet filling lunch. The carrots in this recipe provides beta-carotene, an antioxidant that has a measurable immune-boosting effect with as little as 30 milligrams of beta-carotene per day—the amount in two large carrots.

Makes 4 servings

1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 pounds carrots, thinly sliced
juice of 1 1/2 lemons
1 1/2 teaspoons agave nectar
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3 pinches of cayenne pepper
kosher or sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup golden raisins

Rinse quinoa in a fine sieve under running water for about 1 minute. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Pour in the quinoa and return to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring 2 quarts water to a boil in a large saucepan. Drop in the carrots and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the lemon juice, agave nectar, garlic, cinnamon, cumin, cayenne, salt, and black pepper. Add the quinoa, carrots, and raisins. Toss. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Per serving (1/4 of recipe): calories: 273; fat: 3 g; saturated fat: 0.4 g; calories from fat: 9.8%; cholesterol: 0 mg; protein: 7.8 g; carbohydrate: 56.6 g; sugar: 19.6 g; fiber: 8.2 g; sodium: 240 mg; calcium: 88 mg; iron: 3.1 mg; vitamin C: 8.6 mg; beta-carotene: 11628 mcg; vitamin E: 2.5 mg

Recipe from The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook by Dr. Neal Barnard and Robyn Webb

Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Chowder

There’s nothing better than soup gone chowder, with great textures and flavor. In this delicious recipe, fresh basil pairs with sweet potato and cauliflower, a delightful combo. Cauliflower is readily available in the winter season, but this chowder is great year-round. Cauliflower is part of the cruciferous family of vegetables, which contain phytochemicals that have demonstrated the ability to arrest the growth of cancer cells.

Makes six 1 1/2-cup servings

3 1/4 cups vegetable broth
4 large shallots, minced
1/2 cup celery, chopped
6 cups cauliflower florets (about 1 medium head)
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 bay leaf
1 cup unsweetened soymilk
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
kosher salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat 1/4 cup of the vegetable broth in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and celery and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the remaining 3 cups broth and 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Add the cauliflower, bell pepper, sweet potato, and bay leaf and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.

Add the soymilk. For a heartier consistency, purée all the soup in batches or just half the soup. Add the basil and season with salt and black pepper.

Per serving (1/6 of recipe): calories: 92; fat: 1.1 g; saturated fat: 0.2 g; calories from fat: 9.8%; cholesterol: 0 mg; protein: 4.4 g; carbohydrate: 18.5 g; sugar: 8.6 g; fiber: 4.2 g; sodium: 723 mg; calcium: 94 mg; iron: 1.4 mg; vitamin C: 90.5 mg; beta-carotene: 3857 mcg; vitamin E: 0.9 mg

Recipe from The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook by Dr. Neal Barnard and Robyn Webb

Curry Popcorn

This snack packs crunch and spice. Curry powder is usually a combination of tumeric, cumin, coriander, fenugreek, and a variety of other spices – all known to contain antioxidants and provide health benefits like reduced inflammation.

Makes 4 servings

1/2 cup popcorn kernels
2 teaspoons curry powder
vegetable oil cooking spray

Pop popcorn kernels in air popper. Transfer the popcorn to a large bowl. Spray with cooking spray, sprinkle with curry powder, and mix evenly.

Per serving (1/4 of recipe): calories: 96; fat: 1.2 g; saturated fat: 0.2 g; calories from fat: 10.7%; cholesterol: 0 mg; protein: 3.2 g; carbohydrate: 19.3 g; sugar: 0.2 g; fiber: 3.8 g; sodium: 2 mg; calcium: 7 mg; iron: 1.1 mg; vitamin C: 0.1 g; beta-carotene: 28 mcg; vitamin E: 0.3 mg

Recipe from The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook by Dr. Neal Barnard and Robyn Webb

Veggie Parmesan

This recipe is loaded with a variety of delicious vegetables, interesting textures, and strong flavors—perfect for a memorable meal like this.

Makes about 12 one-cup servings

1 12.3-ounce package firm silken tofu
1 cup bread crumbs or panko Japanese-style bread crumbs
3 cups fresh baby spinach
1 12-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1 8-ounce package sliced mushrooms
1 zucchini, sliced in circles
1 large eggplant, sliced in circles
1 26-ounce jar spaghetti sauce
1 cup nutritional yeast, divided
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a bowl, mix tofu, garlic, and 1/2 cup nutritional yeast well, until smooth.

Layer as follows in a large casserole dish:

1/3 of the spaghetti sauce
all eggplant slices
1/2 of the tofu mixture (spread well)
all zucchini slices
1/3 of the spaghetti sauce
all sliced mushrooms
1/2 of the tofu mixture
all diced tomatoes
all spinach
1/3 of the spaghetti sauce

Spread remaining 1/2 cup nutritional yeast over top. Cover with bread crumbs and basil.

Bake for about 40 minutes, until sauce is bubbling and veggies are soft.

Serve with warm, soy-buttered bread!

Per 1-cup serving: calories: 192; fat: 4.3 g; saturated fat: 0.7 g; calories from fat: 19.5%; cholesterol: 0 mg; protein: 11.5 g; carbohydrates: 31.4 g; sugar: 10.1 g; fiber: 6.5 g; sodium: 426 mg; calcium: 76 mg; iron: 2.9 mg; vitamin C: 10.7 mg; beta-carotene: 704 mcg; vitamin E: 1.9 mg

Recipe from Isis Israel, at Saladmaster

Orange-Applesauce Date Cake

This cake is moist and delicious—and even better the next day. The applesauce replaces both eggs and fat, making this a dessert that is naturally sweetened guaranteed to impress your Valentine.

Makes 9 servings

1 cup smooth unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup oat flour (oatmeal ground in a dry blender or electric coffee mill) or barley flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (not regular whole-wheat flour)
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup chopped pitted dates

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Place applesauce, lemon juice, and water in a small saucepan over medium heat and warm slowly. Add orange peel.

Mix pastry flour, brown sugar, oat or barley flour, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and allspice in a medium bowl.

Stir baking soda into applesauce mixture (it will foam up). Pour immediately into flour mixture and stir briefly but thoroughly.

Add dates and mix briefly. Scoop the batter into a non-stick 9"×9" cake pan, smooth the top, and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 F and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until it tests done with a cake tester. Transfer to a rack and cool completely. Make 2 evenly spaced cuts through the cake vertically, then horizontally, to make 9 squares.

Per serving (1/9 of cake): calories: 155; fat: 0.5 g; saturated fat: 0.1 g; calories from fat: 3.1%; cholesterol: 0 mg; protein: 2.8 g; carbohydrates: 37.7 g; sugar: 22.7 g; fiber: 4 g; sodium: 211 mg; calcium: 25 mg; iron: 1.1 mg; vitamin C: 1.8 mg; beta-carotene: 6 mcg; vitamin E: 0.2 mg

Recipe from Bryanna Clark Grogan, found in Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes: The Scientifically Proven System for Reversing Diabetes Without Drugs

Berry Mousse

This mousse is a simple, sweet and healthy alternative to cakes and pies. It’s also quick to make with the help of a blender. This can be eaten as a pudding or used as a topping for fruit. The berries in this recipe provide loads of cancer-fighting antioxidants. Take care in purchasing organic berries whenever possible as to avoid the high pesticide content often found on all varieties of berries.

Makes 4 servings

1 12.3-ounce package reduced-fat extra-firm silken tofu, crumbled
2 3/4 cups thawed frozen unsweetened berries of choice
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 tablespoon berry liqueur (optional)

Blend tofu, berries, sugar or agave nectar, and liqueur, if using, in a blender or food processor until smooth. Spoon into 4 pudding dishes and refrigerate until chilled.

Per serving (1/4 of recipe): calories: 122; fat: 0.9 g; saturated fat: 0.1 g; calories from fat: 6.4%; cholesterol: 0 mg; protein: 6.2 g; carbohydrates: 24.2 g; sugar: 16.7 g; fiber: 3.2 g; sodium: 77 mg; calcium: 56 mg; iron: 1.8 mg; vitamin C: 62.6 mg; beta-carotene: 41 mcg; vitamin E: 0.5 mg

Recipe from Bryanna Clark Grogan, found in Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes: The Scientifically Proven System for Reversing Diabetes Without Drugs


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