Embarking on a journey of heart-healthy eating doesn’t mean bidding farewell to the foods you love. Safeguard your ticker while relishing delectable heart-healthy recipes spanning breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.

In our ever-health-conscious world, the shadow of heart disease looms large, reaching an all-time high in many Western countries. But the key, often overlooked, lies in the daily choices we make on our plates.

Table of Contents

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The heart-health dialogue

Heart diseases like atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease aren’t always conquered by medication alone. As a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, I emphasize that the food we consume plays a crucial role, either bolstering or undermining our heart health.

This guide endeavours to unravel the intricacies of maintaining heart health through a blend of informative insights and a delectable array of heart-smart recipes, thoughtfully crafted to cater to both you and your family. And here’s an extra perk: A substantial number of these recipes are tailored to fit within the heart-healthy diabetic recipes bucket.

Heart disease, with its complex web of risk factors, presents a challenge. Age, gender, and ethnicity, the factors beyond our immediate control, contribute to this intricate condition. The silver lining? An astounding 80% of premature heart disease can be prevented by embracing a healthy and balanced lifestyle – through mindful eating, regular exercise, limiting alcohol intake, quitting smoking, and mastering stress management. All important habits for a healthy heart.

What foods will clog your arteries?

Ever wondered about the foods capable of clogging your arteries? The debate rages on, but one consensus emerges: industrially produced trans fats, lurking in ultra-processed foods, pose a significant risk. Packaged baked goods, fried fast foods, and processed delights – these culprits are under scrutiny. There is strong evidence that industrially produced trans fats are linked to heart disease.

Trans fats are present in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, which are used in ultra-processed foods, like:

  • Packaged baked goods – cakes, muffins, donuts, cookies made with shortening and vegetable margarine
  • Fried fast foods
  • Processed peanut butter
  • Non-dairy coffee creamers
  • Pies
  • Pizza
  • Potato chips

Thankfully, Canada has taken a stand, banning trans fats and steering our food supply toward a healthier future.

Amidst the dietary commotion, the saturated fats controversy unfolds. Found in:

  • Red and processed meat
  • Higher-fat poultry
  • Higher-fat dairy
  • Animal fats like butter, ghee, lard, cream
  • Coconut and palm oil
Variety of vegetarian healthy eating food ingredients. Green asparagus, herbs, tomatoes, nuts, wheat corns, dandelion leaves, glass of juice on wood tray over grey texture background. Top view, space.

Saturated fats, according to the best available evidence, lead to a rise in “LDL” or lousy cholesterol, and increase the risk of heart disease. Yet, recent studies stir the pot, questioning this association. The crux? Incomplete research and varying opinions cloud the saturated fat saga. For instance, this study shows no association between eating saturated fats and heart disease.

Let’s delve further into this complex web of information.

The existing research falls short of providing a conclusive judgment. Furthermore, some of these studies may not meet the highest standards of quality. Another perspective suggests that relying solely on LDL levels may not be the optimal approach to gauge the risk of heart disease. It underscores the necessity of delving deeper into the intricate biological mechanisms governing the formation of arterial blockages—a viewpoint not supported by others.

It’s crucial to acknowledge that not all fats categorized as saturated fats are created equal. Take butter and coconut oil, for instance—they boast distinct chemical structures and undergo varied metabolic processes in the body. Interestingly, both have demonstrated an ability to elevate LDL levels.

Deciphering the saturated fat enigma

The confusion surrounding saturated fats doesn’t herald the return of “butter is back.” Instead, research nudges us toward unsaturated fats from plant sources – olive oil, avocados, and nut and seed oils. Despite the debates, the counsel to limit saturated fat endures.

The key? Relish fats like butter and coconut oil mindfully and in moderation. Opt for olive oil as your primary cooking fat, adding a dash of coconut oil for that desired flavour profile.

What is the healthiest diet for the heart?

In the quest for the healthiest heart, shift your focus from isolated nutrients to an overall dietary pattern. Extensive research consistently points to predominantly plant-based diets as heart disease deterrents.

Tofu, kale, and carrot soup in a shallow pan. It is located on a light gray background next to a golden spoon and a cloth napkin.

Food for thought: Delving into the heart-smart realm of dietary choices, it’s essential to recognize that the healthiest diet isn’t a one-size-fits-all prescription. Instead, it’s about adopting a balanced and heart-conscious approach tailored to individual preferences and cultural backgrounds.

Embracing a heart-healthy diet doesn’t necessitate abandoning one’s cultural culinary heritage. On the contrary, every cultural diet can seamlessly integrate into a heart-smart eating pattern. It’s a misconception that only certain diets align with heart health, potentially isolating individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds.

The truth is, no culture should ever feel compelled to conform to a Westernized ideal to promote heart wellness. By understanding how traditional foods can be part of a heart-healthy lifestyle, individuals can enjoy the best of both worlds – nourishing their hearts while savouring the rich tapestry of their cultural culinary traditions.

Real-world examples, like the Blue Zones, where longevity meets vitality, emphasize plant-centric diets with animal foods in moderation. The Mediterranean Diet, a beacon of heart health, echoes this sentiment, boasting a rich tapestry of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, olive oil, and fish.

Let’s delve deeper into the Mediterranean Diet.

The Mediterranean Diet

Widely acclaimed as one of the most extensively researched diets in promoting heart health, the Mediterranean diet gained recognition through the groundbreaking “Seven Countries Study” conducted in the 1950s. This pioneering research aimed to unravel the intricate links between heart disease, dietary habits, and lifestyle.

The insightful findings emerged as the researchers compared heart disease rates among different populations. Notably, the inhabitants of Crete, Greece, exhibited lower instances of heart disease compared to their counterparts in other countries. The credit, it seems, goes to the Mediterranean-style diet adopted by the residents of this picturesque Greek island.

Greek style vegan mediterranean hummus with fresh vegetables, olives, olive oil and feta cheese

What do you eat on the Mediterranean diet?

So, what’s on the menu for the Mediterranean diet?

Embrace a primarily plant-based feast featuring anti-inflammatory ingredients:

  • An abundance of fruits and vegetables
  • Nutrient-packed nuts and seeds
  • Protein-rich legumes such as beans, chickpeas, lentils, and split peas
  • Heart-healthy olive oil
  • Sustainably sourced fish, enjoyed 2-3 times weekly

While this diet emphasizes plant-based goodness, it can also include poultry, dairy, and red meat in moderation.

What is a good heart-healthy meal?

The plate method is an excellent way to plan a heart-healthy meal that will give you a good balance of all the foods that promote heart health.

To follow the plate model, choose:

¼ plate whole grains:

  • whole grain bread
  • whole grain pasta
  • brown rice
  • quinoa
  • bulgur
  • barley
  • freekeh
  • oats
  • buckwheat
  • pearl sago
  • Broken wheat
  • Millet
  • Sorghum

¼ plate of protein-rich foods:

  • Fatty fish like salmon, trout, tuna, sardines, and mackerel
  • Plant-based proteins including legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas), edamame, tofu and tempeh
  • Skinless chicken
  • Red meat can also be part of a heart-healthy diet when enjoyed in moderation. Choose leaner cuts of meat more often.

½ plate of vegetables and fruits:

Enjoy a variety of:

  • fresh veggies
  • or frozen fruits and vegetables at every meal

Healthy fats:

Complete your heart-healthy recipes with health-promoting fats from:

  • olive oil
  • avocados
  • nuts
  • seeds

You asked: What are 10 healthy foods for your heart?

It’s difficult to choose just 10 because we’re all unique in our preferences. However, here are some that we consider to be family favourites:

  1. berries
  2. leafy greens
  3. oats
  4. beans
  5. lentils
  6. seeds
  7. nuts
  8. beets
  9. quinoa
  10. salmon

Take-home message

In the grand tapestry of heart health, the most crucial aspect lies in focusing on your overall dietary pattern. It’s about crafting a relationship with food that thrives on a variety of whole plant foods, interspersed with animal foods in moderation. The plate method is your artistic guide, ensuring each meal is a celebration of heart-healthy goodness.

Embark on this culinary adventure and savour the experience with this collection of heart-healthy recipes. These are more than just meals; they’re shared moments that the entire family can enjoy. After all, heart-healthy living should be as delightful as it is nourishing.

Heart healthy recipes


homemade granola parfait layered with yoghurt and dried prunes

Homemade Granola

Now you can easily create your own homemade granola – minus the preservatives. A plant powered recipe, made with real pumpkin and fiber rich oats, heart healthy almonds and sunflower seeds, and naturally sweetened with maple syrup – this recipe is the perfect choice as a healthy breakfast or nourishing snack.
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mason jars of chocolate chia pudding topped with chopped strawberries

Zero Added Sugar Chocolate Chia Pudding

On the lookout for healthy chocolate desserts? Check out this chocolate chia pudding recipe that's sweetened with Medjool dates. It's perfect for breakfast, snack or dessert. Just top it with some fresh berries, and you're good to go! Vegan, diabetes diet friendly and gluten free.
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A red cast iron pan filled with scrambled eggs and vegetables, beautifully styled with a bunch of cilantro stems, all presented on a yellow placemat.

Egg Bhurji (Indian Scrambled Eggs)

This 30-minute breakfast recipe for egg bhurji, or Indian-style scrambled eggs, is spiced with curry powder, cumin and coriander and pan-cooked with wholesome fresh vegetables, such as bell pepper, tomatoes and spinach. Enjoy a delicious plate of hot egg bhurji with toast, soft Indian roti, bread, homemade paratha or potatoes.
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Perspective shot of a green smoothie bowl topped with chopped peached, berries and seeds.

5 Minute Green Smoothie With Chia Seeds

A green smoothie with added chia seeds is a terrific addition to your morning smoothie routine! This easy smoothie blends healthy ingredients like fresh, raw spinach, peach slices, frozen banana slices, soy milk and chia seeds. It’s a great way to get fruits and greens into your day first thing. Ready in 5 minutes, with the help of a high-powered blender.
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vegan chia pudding in a glass topped with strawberry nice cream and fresh strawberries

How To Make Chia Pudding With Strawberry Nice Cream

A cold and creamy dessert, this Vegan Chia Pudding with Strawberry Banana Nice Cream will make your taste buds dance. Frozen strawberries and bananas are blitzed into a delicious soft serve ice cream, that's dolloped over a thick and creamy chia pudding – all without any added sugar. You're welcome!
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Perspective image of bowls of yellow smoothie bowls topped with coconut shreds, banana and strawberries.

5 Minute Pineapple Mango Turmeric Smoothie

Follow these instructions to make this nourishing pineapple-mango smoothie with turmeric powder at home. Made with unsweetened coconut milk, this sunshine-in-a-glass smoothie is easy to make with the help of a high-powered blender. Ready within 5 minutes using frozen chunks of fruits!
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A pan of scramble with red pepper cubes topped with cilantro and green chilli and two slices of pumpernickel bread placed on top. There is a brown scarf and flowers in the background.

30-Minute Curry Tofu Scramble

Bursting with south asian spices, this healthy breakfast tofu scramble is madein just 30 minutes, and packed full of plant-based protein. For best results, usedry extra-firm tofu — the combination of curry powder, garam masala, and cuminseason thevegan tofu scramble wonderfully.
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Lunch & Dinner

plate of quinoa pilau with tomato, water and empty plates and forks on the side

Vegetarian Quinoa Pilau Recipe

Inspired by the traditional rice pilau, this enticing and super-healthy gluten free Vegetarian Quinoa Pilau Recipe, aka "qui-lau" is bursting with flavour, and so simple to pull off. Infused with the aroma of cumin, coriander and garam masala, this recipe is one you will want to add to your repertoire. Satisfying and finger-licking good!
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Two Desi Pumpkin Bean Burgers on a bed of alfalfa microgreens topped with guacamole in burger buns on a black tray

Desi Pumpkin Bean Burger

Just in time for Fall, these easy and healthy Desi Pumpkin Bean Burgers are an excellent alternative to store bought vegan burgers. Kidney beans, pumpkin and oats infused with curry powder and cumin, to create a healthy ethnic recipe – that'll knock your socks off! Served on a bed of alfalfa microgreens and topped with creamy guacamole. Just tuck in! 
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bowl of green grain salad topped with charred tofu cubes.

Mediterranean Style Crispy Tofu Recipe

Switch up your meatless meal routine and learn how to make this healthy crispy tofu recipe, Mediterranean style. These tofu bites are bathed in a zesty and delicious marinade, and the intense flavour of oregano and thyme elevates the tofu to new heights! This tofu recipe is perfect for an easy weeknight dinner.
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Tray with three corn cauliflower tacos with purple cabbage and avocado cubes

Tandoori Style Spicy Cauliflower Tacos (Vegan)

Get ready for a flavour-packed adventure with Tandoori-style Spicy Cauliflower Tacos! Easy, delicious, and vegan, these tacos bring playful flavours to your plate. Enjoy a plant-based feast that's diabetes-friendly and heart-healthy. Let the fiesta begin!
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A colourful layered mason jar salad with peppers, quinoa, canned salmon, and spinach leaves on top, creating a vibrant salad.

20-Minute Salmon Quinoa Meal Prep Salad

If you're looking for lunch salad ideas, this quick and easy mason jar meal prep salad is the best! Inspired by a heart-healthy diet plan, including wholesome quinoa, canned salmon, and colourful veggies. A tangy lemon and olive oil dressing seals the deal!
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plate of tuna potato cutlets with white dip and carrots and lemon

Canned Tuna Fish Cakes

A delicious and super-simple lunch or light supper option, this tuna cakes recipe is one to add to your arsenal. Using simple and readily available ingredients, this one is ready and on your table in just 30 minutes.
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jars filled with layered quinoa chickpea salad

Lunch in a Jar: Mediterranean Quinoa Chickpea Salad

On a hunt for a simple and easy way to enjoy lunch at the office? Try this gluten free, low GI and portable Mediterranean Quinoa Chickpea Salad in a jar. It’s delicious, nourishing and oh so satisfying – minus the sogginess!
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A tray of

Easy Lemon Pepper Salmon

In just 20 minutes, you can have this succulent lemon pepper salmon on your dinner table. The zesty flavour of lemon pairs perfectly with the pungent bite of pepper, creating a delightful dish sure to please your taste buds. And best of all, this recipe pairs wonderfully with a variety of sides to create balanced nutritious meals. High protein, diabetes diet friendly, and heart healthy.
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Asparagus Frittata topped with colorful tomatoes in a red pan on a table cloth

Tomato Asparagus Frittata

Eggs mixed with a variety of colourful vegetables, cooked to perfection and topped with fresh cilantro. This Tomato Asparagus Frittata is infused with cumin, fenugreek and chilli flakes, to create an easy Desi-licious low carb breakfast or lunch! Dairy-free.
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two bowls of black chickpeas salad with potatoes, orange segments, onion and peppers.

Quick Kala Chana Chaat (Black Chickpea Salad)

One loaded kala chana chaat coming at ya! A popular South Asian street food, here kala chana, aka black chickpeas, are tossed in a delicious blend of Indian spices, citrus fruit, and fresh herbs to create a simple, irresistible chickpea salad. This quick 30-minute recipe is perfect for a healthy, high-protein nutrient-packed breakfast, lunch, or anytime really! Vegan and gluten free.
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bowl of cranberry and apple salsa with filo cups on a wooden board with dried cranberries

Filo Cups with Apple Cranberry Salsa

One of my favourite party tricks is filo cups! These elegant cranberry and apple cups are a cinch to make and perfect for entertaining.Tangy cranberry salsa made with green apple, fresh cilantro, and squeeze of lime juice. A light dessert idea that’s super delicious!
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3 strawberry popsicles on ice on a round plate decoratd with fresh watermelon and flowers

Healthy Watermelon Strawberry Popsicles

Stay hydrated with these bright and cooling no-added sugar watermelon strawberry ice lollies. The perfect healthy treat for a hot Summer’s day. Its not only the kids who will devour these!
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colourful platter of vegetables and crackers centred around a green avocado dip - flatlay

15-Minute Spicy Herb Avocado Dip

Bright and refreshing, this avocado dip or chutney is infused with the aromatic scent of cilantro and mint. It’s creamy, spicy, tangy and will certainly incite double dipping with your favourite veggie snacks. Gluten free, vegan and done in 15 minutes!
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Desi~liciously Yours, Shahzadi
Tray with three corn cauliflower tacos with purple cabbage and avocado cubes
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Get the Recipe:

Heart Healthy Recipes: Cauliflower Tacos

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 people
Heart-healthy eating doesn't mean skimping on the foods you love. Protect your ticker while enjoying these heart healthy recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.


  • 1/2 cup cashews, plain, unsalted, unroasted
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, cold pressed, virgin, melted
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice, fresh
  • 1 green chili, washed, whole
  • 3 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 cauliflower, medium head, washed and cut into bite sized chunks


  • Preheat oven to 380°F/193°C with oven rack near the top
  • In a small food processor, add all the ingredients, except cauliflower
  • Place the cauliflower florets on a large oven tray, lined with parchment paper. Pour the marinate on top of the florets.
  • Mix well, to ensure all the cauliflower pieces are coated
  • Bake (top rack) for 15 minutes. Then broil for 3 minutes, turn the cauliflower florets and broil for 2 minutes, until charred. 
  • Garnish with generous amounts of lemon juice and serve immediately in tacos. Add your favorite fillings. See suggestions in blog.


  • Remember to preheat your oven to 380 degrees F (193 degrees C)
  • Trim the florets of the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces
  • Make sure the cauliflower florets are similar in size – to ensure even cooking. I like to keep them medium so they’re mouth-friendly
  • Wear gloves when rubbing the curry powder mixture onto the florets. The color of the spices will transfer onto your nails and hands
  • Place the oven rack near the top-middle to speed up the cooking, and to give the florets that beautiful charred colour. Keep a close eye to prevent burning.
  • You don’t want to cook for too long, otherwise, the florets will be mushy. I like to keep them a bit on the crunchy side
  • Enjoy whilst hot and don’t forget to warm those tacos before assembling
  • Cauliflower tacos can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days
  • Be sure to serve this cauliflower filling in your tacos right away. It’s best when fresh, rather than storing it for later.
  • Dress the cauliflower taco filling with lemon juice to make this vegan cauliflower recipe even more delicious

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 194kcal (10%)Carbohydrates: 14g (5%)Protein: 5g (10%)Fat: 14g (22%)Saturated Fat: 7g (35%)Sodium: 664mg (28%)Potassium: 559mg (16%)Fiber: 4g (16%)Sugar: 4g (4%)Vitamin A: 15IUVitamin C: 73.5mg (89%)Calcium: 45mg (5%)Iron: 2.1mg (12%)

Keep in mind that the nutritional values provided are approximations and suggestions, and might fluctuate depending on ingredient variations, portion sizes, and recipe adjustments. This nutrition facts table cannot account for your individual needs. Your body — including your hunger and satiety cues — change daily. It’s perfectly fine to eat more or less on different days. Instead of letting food guilt take over, consider mindful eating.

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Cuisine: Desi, ethnic, Indian, Mexican, South Asian
Course: Main, Side
Did you make this recipe?Mention @desiliciousrd on Instagram or tag #desiliciousrd.

By Niloufar Deilami RD & Shahzadi Devje RD CDE MSc

Niloufar is a Toronto-based Registered Dietitian, who works with people living with heart disease and diabetes. She is passionate about using the power of food to prevent and manage chronic disease. Niloufar’s philosophy is that there are many ways to eat well and encourages people to explore new foods, eat mindfully and to bring back fun and enjoyment to mealtimes!