February is the month of love, and these tasty treats will make your heart long for more all year long. Whether you make them for your sweetheart or treat yourself, we know you’ll love these recipes as much as we do!
While heart disease is a leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, many of the risk factors associated with the condition can be controlled with dietary and lifestyle changes. By centering your meals around better-for-you ingredients and recipes, you can show your heart some extra love.
Consider walnuts, which are a heart-healthy food certified by the American Heart Association. More than 25 years of research shows walnuts may play a key role in heart health. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved one of the first qualified health claims for a whole food, finding that eating 1 1/2 ounces of walnuts per day as part of a low-saturated fat and low-cholesterol diet while not increasing caloric intake may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
Additionally, walnuts are the only nut significantly high in omega-3s, with 2 1/2 grams of alpha-linolenic acid per ounce. Walnuts can add this essential nutrient to dishes like these American Heart Association Heart-Check Mark certified recipes for Greek Cucumber Walnut Bites and Banana Bread Overnight Oats.
Find more information and heart-healthy recipes at walnuts.org/heart-health.
Greek Cucumber Walnut Bites
Recipe courtesy of Beth Stark, RDN, LDN on behalf of the California Walnut Board
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1 English cucumber, ends trimmed (about 14 ounces)
- 1/2 cup roasted red pepper hummus
- 1/2 cup reduced-fat crumbled feta cheese
- 5 cherry tomatoes, quartered
- Heat oven to 350 degrees
- On small baking sheet, arrange walnuts evenly. Bake 8 minutes, checking frequently, until toasted.
- Slice cucumber crosswise into 3/4-inch thick slices. Using a small spoon, gently scoop out and discard center of each cucumber slice, leaving bottom and sides intact.
- In a small bowl, stir 6 tablespoons of chopped walnuts and hummus. Spoon walnut-hummus mixture into each cucumber slice and top with reserved chopped walnuts, feta cheese and quarted tomatoes
Prep time: 25 minutes
Banana Bread Overnight Oats
Recipe courtesy of Crowded Kitchen on behalf of the California Walnut Board
- ripe bananas, sliced
- 2 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3/4 cup chopped California walnuts, divided
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 3 cups skim milk
- In large container with lid, add sliced bananas. Use potato masher or fork to mash bananas until smooth.
- Add oats, cinnamon, salt, vanilla, half the chopped walnuts, maple syrup and milk. Combine thoroughly and refrigerate overnight.
- To serve, divide among four canning jars or glass containers with lids. Top each with remaining walnuts before serving.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies
Valentine’s Day is always a great opportunity to get creative with the treats you bake. I saw this recipe originally posted by Laura Rege on delish.com and wanted to give it a try. They turned out pretty great!
My Tip? Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter for a Valentine’s Day twist!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) Country Crock Baking Stick
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon red food coloring
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and use parchment paper to line your baking sheets.
- Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cream of tartar.
- In a separate bowl, use a hand mixer to beat the Country Crock Baking Stick and sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs one at a time and beat after each addition then add vanilla and red food coloring.
- Add dry ingredients and mix until combined.
- Roll one tablespoon of dough into a ball, then roll ball in powdered sugar or flatten and cut with cookie cutter.
- Repeat with remaining dough and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
- Arrange balls or cut outs about an inch apart on the baking sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes.
- Cool for about 5 minutes and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.