Lettuce wraps. Photo by Micheile Henderson via Unsplash
February is American Heart Month and the American Heart Association (AHA) urges everyone “to focus on their hearts and take care of their health.”
As noted on the AHA website, “approximately 2,200 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day – that’s an average of one death every 40 seconds,” and “while you can’t change factors like age and family history, even modest changes to your diet and lifestyle can improve your heart health and lower your risk by as much as 80 percent.”
Eating well, getting active, controlling cholesterol, managing blood pressure, reducing blood sugar, losing weight, and quitting smoking are all recommended by the AHA to help keep hearts healthy.
On February 5th this year, AHA’s Go Red for Women initiative raises awareness about cardiovascular disease which claims the lives of 1 in 3 women.
So wear red and try the following Greek-inspired recipes to help keep your heart healthy this month.
Greek-Style Lettuce Wraps
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup Greek extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Greek honey
1/2 teaspoon Greek sea salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1/2 cup sliced jarred roasted red peppers, drained
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onions
12 large Bibb lettuce leaves
1/4 cup toasted almonds, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Whisk the tahini, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, honey, salt and paprika in a large bowl. Add chickpeas, peppers, and onions. Toss to coat. Divide the mixture among lettuce leaves (about 1/3 cup each). Top with almonds and parsley. Wrap the lettuce leaves around the filling and serve.
Salmon with Vegetables
Salmon served with vegetables. Photo by Caroline Attwood via Unsplash
1 pound fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
3-4 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 teaspoon Greek sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 5-6-ounce fresh or frozen skinless salmon fillets
2 medium red, yellow and/or orange peppers, sliced into rings
2 cups cherry tomatoes
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
1 tablespoon Greek dried oregano
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place potatoes in a large bowl. Drizzle with half of the oil and sprinkle with garlic and a pinch of the salt and black pepper; toss to coat. Transfer to a 15×10-inch rimmed baking pan; cover with foil. Roast 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, thaw salmon, if frozen. Combine, in the same bowl, peppers, tomatoes, parsley, olives, oregano and a pinch of the salt and black pepper. Add the remaining olive oil and toss to coat.
Rinse the salmon and pat dry with paper towel. Sprinkle with remaining salt and black pepper. Spoon pepper mixture over potatoes and top with salmon. Roast, uncovered, 12-15 minutes more or until the salmon flakes with a fork.
Zest the lemon with a fine microplane grater. Squeeze the juice from the lemon over the salmon and vegetables. Sprinkle with the finely grated lemon zest. Serve immediately.
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