Heart Healthy Recipes: 3 Tasty Dishes for Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

By: Victor Padilla | Meredith Witthar Posted: 12:01 PM, Apr 18, 2019 Updated: 4:26 PM, May 22, 2019

Looking for heart healthy recipes? Dr. Dean Ornish has you covered! The acclaimed physician has a new book called Undo It which covers four simple lifestyle changes to help reverse damage to your body – including eating healthier! To help you adopt better eating habits, here are three of Dr. Ornish’s heart healthy recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.


How to Incorporate Heart Healthy Recipes into Your Life


Before we dive into these heart healthy recipes, let’s start with a few tips on how to develop better eating habits in your life. “An optimal diet for most people is really a whole foods, plant-based diet,” Dr. Ornish tell us. But he says the most important thing is to eat foods as close to their natural form as possible – meaning no processed foods. For many, implementing diet changes like these can be hard, but they’re well worth it! “The more you change, the more you improve, and so you decide how much you want to change,” adds Dr. Ornish. Luckily, he has a simple trick for being healthier when eating out. “Ask when the waiter comes by, can you ask the chef to just make me a plate of the freshest vegetables? Let the chef prepare them in whatever way. And you’ll be amazed at what comes out.”


1. Breakfast: Egg White and Vegetable Frittata


Let’s kick off our list of heart healthy recipes with a breakfast dish! A lighter twist on traditional frittatas, this version skips the egg yolk and fuels you with egg white proteins and fresh veggies.



2 cups white mushrooms thinly sliced

1 cup zucchini coarsely chopped

1 cup yellow onion diced

1/2 cup dried tomatoes cut into thin strips

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, divided chopped

2 teaspoons garlic pressed or minced

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided

1/2 cup water

2 cups kale finely chopped

2 cups egg whites (from 18 eggs) or 16 oz prepared liquid egg whites

3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1 1/2 teaspoons sweet rice flour or cornstarch

1 teaspoon onion powder

Nonstick cooking spray, optional

1/2 teaspoon paprika for garnish

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes halved for garnish



Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a large, heavy-bottomed sauté pan over high heat, combine mushrooms, zucchini, yellow onion, dried tomatoes, 2 teaspoons of the thyme, garlic, 1/4 of the salt, 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are soft and onions are translucent, 8–10 minutes.


Add kale. Cook, stirring frequently, until kale is tender, about 5 minutes. Add up to 2 more tablespoons water if necessary, if vegetables seem dry or are starting to brown. Any extra water should evaporate by the time the kale is tender.


In a large bowl, whisk together egg whites, nutritional yeast, sweet rice flour or cornstarch, onion powder, remaining 1 teaspoon thyme, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper until well mixed.


Lightly spray an 8 x 8-in glass baking pan with nonstick spray, or use a nonstick baking pan. Spread vegetables evenly over bottom of baking pan. Pour egg mixture evenly over vegetables. Sprinkle lightly with paprika.


Cover pan with aluminum foil. Bake frittata for 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until frittata is set in the middle and edges are lightly browned, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove frittata from the oven. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.


Cut frittata into four 4 x 4-in squares. Garnish each square with tomato halves.


2. Lunch: Lentil Chili


Now this is one of those heart healthy recipes that tastes so good, you won’t even realize you’re eating healthy! Give this lentil chili a whirl with some Smoky Chipotle Sauce as a topping.



1 1/2 cups onions coarsely chopped

1 1/2 cups red bell pepper seeded and diced

4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, divided

1 tablespoon fresh jalapeno pepper seeded and minced

1 tablespoon garlic minced

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

4 cups butternut squash peeled and cut in small cubes

1 cup red lentils

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, plus more to taste

2 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 cup cilantro, divided chopped, optional

6 small corn or whole-wheat tortillas, optional



In a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, combine onions, red pepper, 1/2 cup of the broth, jalapeno, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until liquid is evaporated and onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.


Add remaining 3 1/2 cups broth, squash, lentils, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and oregano. Bring to a boil.


Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove lid and cook, stirring frequently, for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, until lentils are thoroughly cooked and squash is tender but still holds its shape. If mixture seems too thick, add a little water as needed. Chili is done when most of the liquid has been absorbed.


Stir in 1/4 cup of the cilantro, if using. Taste for seasoning and add more lime juice and/or spices as needed.


Divide into 6 bowls. Garnish each bowl with a sprinkle of the remaining cilantro, if desired. Serve each bowl with a warmed whole wheat or corn tortilla, if desired.


3. Dinner: Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna


If you’re a fan of lasagna, this is definitely one of those heart healthy recipes you’ll want to try for dinner. Dr. Ornish’s heart healthy version of this classic comfort food is rich in vitamins from spinach, mushrooms and roasted garlic.




For filling

2 lbs frozen chopped spinach, thawed

1 lb crimini or white button mushrooms

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2/3 cup roasted garlic puree (see recipe here)

1 1/2 lbs firm tofu, blotted dry and finely crumbled

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1/2 cup firmly packed fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh oregano chopped or 1 teaspoon dried

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional


To assemble lasagna:

One 13.25-oz package whole-wheat or brown rice noodles
14 to 16 noodles

Two 26-oz. jars of low-fat marinara sauce (less than 3gms fat per serving)

1/3 cup flat-leaf (Italian) parsley chopped for garnish, optional



Preheat oven to 375ºF. To make the filling, place thawed spinach in a colander in the sink or over a deep bowl. Using your hands, squeeze or press spinach vigorously to remove excess liquid. Continue to squeeze and press spinach until it is almost dry; excess liquid left in the spinach will make a soggy lasagna. Once drained, you should have about 3 cups spinach. Set aside.


Working in batches as necessary, place mushrooms into a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse 6–8 times, until mushrooms are finely diced but not pureed. Place diced mushrooms in a bowl. Repeat with remaining mushrooms until all mushrooms are diced .


In a large saute pan over medium heat, saute diced mushrooms with 1/8 teaspoon of the salt and pepper, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms release their liquid and liquid evaporates, 15–20 minutes.


In a medium bowl, combine mushrooms, drained spinach, roasted garlic puree, tofu, nutritional yeast, basil, oregano, remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and cayenne, if using. Season to taste with more basil, oregano, and/or cayenne as needed.


In a 5- to 6-quart pot over high heat, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. When water is boiling, add lasagna noodles one at a time, criss-crossing the layers of noodles so they don’t stick.


Turn off heat and let noodles soften in hot water for 6 minutes. (They will seem undercooked.) Drain. If you need to hold the noodles before assembly, return noodles to pot and cover with cold water. Drain and pat dry thoroughly before using.


To assemble the lasagna, spread 1 cup of marinara sauce over the bottom of a 9 ½ x 13 x 2–in baking pan. Cover sauce with 3 to 4 noodles. Spread one-quarter (about 2 cups) of the spinach-tofu filling over the noodles.


Repeat 3 times, using the same amounts of sauce, noodles, and filling each time. Top finished lasagna with 1 cup of marinara sauce. (Any remaining marinara sauce can be spooned over the lasagna at serving time, or reserved for another use.)


Place lasagna on middle rack of the oven and bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes. Cover lasagna with foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes.


Remove from oven and discard foil. Let lasagna rest for 10 minutes before serving. While lasagna is resting, reheat remaining marinara sauce, if desired. Cut into squares with a serrated knife. Serve with extra warmed marinara sauce and garnish each serving with chopped parsley, if desired.


Is your mouth watering yet?! Get more of Dr. Ornish’s heart healthy recipes by visiting his website here. Also, make sure to follow him on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter – and don’t forget to pick up a copy of his book Undo It here!


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