We attended The Heart of the Matter, Medical Center of Aurora‘s Cardiac Symposium, to speak with doctors, nurses, and other health care providers about food as medicine. Project Angel Heart provides specialized meals for clients living with heart issues, which focus on carbohydrate control, low saturated fat, high fiber, and low salt.
One of the challenges that our registered dietitian, Meghan Perkins, and executive chef, Brandon Foster, face when planning and preparing our meals is one that people who need to watch their sodium intake ask daily: how do you make food taste good without adding salt?
Meghan and Chef Brandon’s answer is to use other methods to bring out foods’ natural flavors. Salt isn’t the only way to enhance a dish- roasting and sauteeing ingredients can do wonders to flavor. Adding fresh or dried herbs, dried spices, and citrus can also make flavor pop- especially for uncooked foods.
To show how we use this strategy in our heart-healthy meals, chef Brandon did a cooking demonstration at The Heart of the Matter, preparing a black bean and corn salsa with no added salt. Here’s the recipe- try it with chips, on top of chicken or fish, in a taco, with rice, or in a salad for a nutritious flavor boost.
Heart-Healthy Black Bean & Corn Salsa
By Brandon Foster, Project Angel Heart executive chef
By including lots of fresh herbs and dried spices, we add flavor to this salsa without the need for salt. The lime juice also plays a key role- citrus is incredible for enhancing flavor. Try finishing other dishes with a squeeze of citrus to bring out the flavors.
- 1 Cup black beans, cooked (or canned- be sure to buy beans with no added salt)
- 1/2 Cup red onion, diced
- 1/2 Cup red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 Cup corn, cut off the cob
- 1 tsp fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 Tbsp lime juice
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and enjoy!
P.S. Feel free to play with the herbs and spices here! If you like things spicy, try adding a bit of chili powder. Coriander could be a good addition. If you don’t have a lime, try lemon.