This recipe is an ideal staple for a heart-healthy meal plan because it packs in the flavor and has more fiber and vegetables and less saturated fat and sodium than the original comfort food classic. “The main premise for eating heart healthy is to eat real food, rather than food that is processed,” says Nieca Goldberg, MD, a cardiologist at NYU Langone Health and spokesperson for the American Heart Association. Turkey meatballs are lower in fat than traditional meatballs, especially if you use white meat turkey, she explains, but because you are using low-fat turkey, you want to give the meatballs some volume. “I like to add whole wheat bread crumbs or half a cup of multigrain cereal.” You can give the marinara sauce an added heart-healthy boost by adding more vegetables, such as parsley, chopped celery, or carrots for sweetness, she says. This allows you to reap the proven benefits of the DASH Diet, which includes lowering blood pressure and bad cholesterol.
1 pound of extra-lean or fat-free ground turkey breast
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup multigrain cereal (smashed) or whole wheat bread crumbs
1 pound of whole wheat spaghetti
57-ounce can of no-salt-added, low-sodium tomatoes
14-ounce can of low-sodium carrots
14.4-ounce package of frozen stir-fry peppers and onions
1 medium zucchini (chopped)
4 cloves fresh garlic (minced)
2 tablespoons of salt-free dried Italian spices
1. Mix the turkey, cereal, pepper, and fresh parsley and form into meatballs.
2. In a large pot over medium heat, mash the carrots and add the vegetables and spices, bring to a boil, and then cover and simmer.
3. Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Make the spaghetti according to the directions, serve with the marinara and meatballs.