10 Heart-Healthy Valentine’s Day Recipes for Seniors

Valentine’s Day calls to mind romance and decadent desserts, but matters of the heart aren’t always so romantic. For many seniors, heart disease and high blood pressure are serious health concerns. Thankfully, you can have both a delicious meal and one that will make your cardiologist proud. Cooking your own food is nearly always a healthier choice than eating at a restaurant, because you can control the amount of salt and fat used. Extra butter and salt is a restaurant secret for food that keeps you coming back for more, but your heart won’t thank you! Keep reading for 10 amazing heart-healthy recipes that are perfect for Valentine’s day. Have a meal with a friend or group of friends, make a special dinner for a significant other, or just celebrate yourself with these great Valentine’s Day recipe ideas for seniors.


Valentine’s Day Recipes for Seniors: Meatless & Vegetarian

Many fantastic dinner options don’t include meat at all. These can be a great choice for those worried about their cholesterol levels, or just a fun new meal to try with that special someone. 


Vegetable and Goat Cheese Phyllo Pie

This fancy phyllo pie is low in calories and still packs a great protein punch!

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil (extra virgin preferred)
  • 4-5 medium green onions (about 1 cup), chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini (thinly sliced)
  • 10 oz. frozen, chopped spinach (thawed, squeezed dry)
  • 1/4 cup chopped, fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped, fresh mint
  • 2 medium garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 cup fat-free evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup egg substitute
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 6 phyllo dough sheets (each 14 x 9 inches), thawed
  • 1 1/2 oz. soft goat cheese

First, preheat the oven to 375°F. Then, lightly spray a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Next, cook the green onions for 2 minutes, or until softened, stirring frequently.

Stir in the zucchini. Cook for 4 minutes, or until beginning to brown, stirring frequently.

Stir in the spinach, parsley, mint, and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

In a small bowl, whisk together the evaporated milk, egg substitute, pepper, and nutmeg. Set aside.

Working quickly and keeping the unused phyllo covered with damp paper towels to prevent drying, place one sheet of phyllo in the pie pan, gently pressing on the bottom and side of the pan, letting the ends overhang the pan. Repeat with the remaining phyllo, placing the sheets in a crisscross pattern.

Spoon the green onion mixture over the phyllo. Pour in the milk mixture, swirling if needed to cover the surface. Dot with the cheese.

Fold the ends of the phyllo toward the center of the pan, leaving a circle of the filling showing. Lightly spray the phyllo with cooking spray. Gently press the phyllo on the filling so the phyllo will hold its shape.

Finally, bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Cut into wedges. Serve warm.


Lightened-Up Fettuccine Alfredo

A fresh, lower-sodium take on this classic Italian dish from the American Heart Association Low-Salt Cookbook.


  • 16 oz. dried, whole-grain fettuccine
  • 1/4 cup fat-free milk and 1 1/4 cups fat-free milk, divided use
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. grated or shredded Parmesan cheese, divided use
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper (white preferred)
  • 2 Tbsp. finely snipped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 medium cut lemon (cut into 4 wedges, optional)


First, prepare the pasta using the package directions, omitting the salt. Then drain well in a colander. Cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup milk and the flour until smooth. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Pour the mixture into the saucepan.

Whisk in the remaining 1 1/4 cups milk. Next, bring to a boil. Cook for 15 minutes, or until thickened, stirring constantly with a flat spatula to keep the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Stir in 1/4 cup Parmesan and the lemon juice and pepper.

Transfer the pasta to a platter. Pour the sauce over the pasta. Sprinkle with the parsley, salt, and remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons Parmesan. Lastly, garnish with the lemon wedges.


Whole-Grain Margherita Pizza

This gorgeous pizza is sure to be well-received no matter who you’re celebrating with.

Pizza Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (for dusting), divided use
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or canola or corn oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary OR 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon minced garlic


Sauce and Toppings

  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 1 8-ounce can no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil and 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil, divided use (OR
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil and 2 teaspoons dried basil, divided use)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup low-fat, part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh diced tomatoes OR 1 14.5-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes


Make the Crust


In a large bowl, whisk together the water, yeast, and sugar, stirring until the yeast and sugar are dissolved. Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, the whole-wheat flour, 1 tablespoon oil, and salt until well combined.

Then, lightly dust 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour on a flat work surface. Turn out the dough. Knead for about 10 minutes, gradually adding some of the flour to make the dough smooth and elastic. (The dough shouldn’t be dry or stick to the surface.)

Lightly spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Put the dough in the bowl. Sprinkle the rosemary and garlic over the dough. Lightly knead to incorporate the rosemary and garlic, shaping the dough into a ball. Lightly spray with cooking spray. Cover with a slightly damp dish towel. Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place (about 85°F) for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until almost doubled in bulk, or when, if pressed with two fingers, an indentation remains in the dough.

Punch down the dough. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Divide in half.

Lightly spray a large baking sheet. Lightly dust a flat work surface with the remaining flour. Roll one half of the dough into a 12-inch circle. Place on the baking sheet. Wrap the other half of the dough tightly with plastic wrap and place in an airtight container. Freeze for a future use.

Next, preheat the oven to 450˚F.


Make the Sauce & Toppings


While the oven is preheating, make the sauce and toppings. In a small saucepan, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Then cook the onion and garlic for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the onion is soft. Stir in the tomato sauce, 2 tablespoons fresh basil, and crushed red pepper flakes. Reduce the heat. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Spread the sauce over the dough. Spoon 1 tablespoon mounds of the ricotta over the sauce. Using a spatula, flatten each mound slightly to spread. Sprinkle the mozzarella all over. Next, top with the tomatoes and remaining 2 tablespoons fresh basil.

Last, bake for 10 to 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly.


Caprese Kebabs with Balsamic Drizzle

For a lighter dinner (maybe with an indulgent dessert!), try these caprese kebabs. Serve alongside grilled chicken for a more protein-heavy option. 


For the Balsamic Drizzle:

  • 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil


For the Kebabs:

  • 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes (red or yellow)
  • 1 bunch fresh basil leaves (washed)
  • 2 part-skim mozzarella string cheese sticks OR 1 container mozzarella cheese pearls
  • 8 wooden skewers


First, cut each string cheese stick into 12 rounds (24 cubes total). Skip this step if using mozzarella cheese pearls.

Then, assemble each kebab with 3 tomatoes, 3 mozzarella slices and 3 basil leaves (tomato, basil, cheese, tomato, basil, cheese, tomato, basil, cheese). Gently fold the basil leaves 2-3 times before skewering, larger leaves may be torn in half.

In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Then just lightly drizzle over skewers before serving!


Valentine’s Day Dinner Recipes for Seniors: Chicken

Chicken is a classic low-fat, high-protein powerhouse for a healthy Valentine’s day dinner. 


Lemon-Thyme Roasted Chicken with Fingerlings

This hearty recipe from Better Homes and Gardens looks fancy, but comes together quickly in one pan!


  • 4 teaspoon canola oil or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt or 1/4 teaspoon regular salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise, or tiny new red or white potatoes, halved
  • 4 small skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (1 to 1 1/4 pounds total)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • Snipped fresh thyme (optional)


To begin, in a very large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil over medium heat. Stir 1/2 teaspoon of the dried thyme, the salt, and pepper into oil. Add potatoes; toss to coat. Then cover and cook for 12 minutes, stirring twice.


Stir potatoes; push to one side of skillet. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the other side of skillet. Arrange chicken in skillet alongside the potatoes. Cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes.


Turn chicken. Sprinkle garlic and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme over chicken. Arrange lemon slices on top of chicken. Cover and cook for 7 to 10 minutes more or until chicken is no longer pink (170°F) and potatoes are tender. Last, if desired, sprinkle with snipped fresh thyme.


Snappy Chicken Stir-Fry

This quick and easy protein-packed dish with whole pea pods is a no-brainer this Valentine’s day!


  • 1 6 ounce package frozen pea pods
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • Hot cooked rice
  • Chopped peanuts (optional)


First, let pea pods stand at room temperature to partially thaw. Meanwhile, cut chicken into 1-inch pieces. In a small bowl stir together the orange juice, water, soy sauce, and cornstarch.


Preheat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add cooking oil. Then, stir-fry chicken, half at a time, for 2 to 3 minutes or until no pink remains. Add more oil as necessary. Next, return all chicken to wok. Push chicken to the sides of the wok. Stir orange juice mixture and add to center of wok. Cook and stir until orange juice mixture is thickened and bubbly.


Add partially frozen pea pods to wok and stir in chicken until all is coated with sauce. Cover and simmer the mixture for 1 minute. Serve with rice. Finally, sprinkle with peanuts, if desired. Makes 4 servings.


Valentine’s Day Dinner Recipes for Seniors: Beef

Beef is full of protein and iron, and can be a great part of a healthy diet. These beef-based dishes are sure to satisfy this Valentine’s day.


Sirloin Steak with Portobello Mushrooms

This recipe from the American Heart Association is a quick and easy dinner that feels like something from a fancy steakhouse!


  • 1 lb. boneless sirloin steak (cut into 1-inch cubes)
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme (crumbled)
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper (coarsely ground preferred)
  • 8 oz. portobello mushrooms (cut into 1-inch cubes)
  • 1 large red onion (sliced)
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, no-salt-added beef broth
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce (lowest sodium available)
  • 2 Tbsp. brandy (optional)


Before cooking, discard all visible fat from the steak. Then cut into 4 pieces. Sprinkle both sides with the thyme and pepper.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the steak for 4 to 6 minutes on each side, or to the desired doneness. Transfer to a platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.

In the same skillet, cook the mushrooms and onion over medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the onion is tender-crisp, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the remaining ingredients. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the mushrooms are tender and the liquid is reduced by half, stirring occasionally. Finally, spoon the sauce over the steak.


Carne Asada with Chimichurri Sauce

Bring some Latin American flair to your Valentine’s day with this delicious take on steak. With zucchini and green beans on the side, you’ve got a delicious and nutritious meal full of flavor.


Steak & Veggies

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 pound unpeeled zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed, cut in half
  • 1 1/2 pounds strip, skirt, or flank steak (1/2 to 3/4 inch thick), all visible fat discarded
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon (freshly ground preferred)
  • Cooking spray


  • 1 1/2 cups Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper (freshly ground preferred)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


To begin, pour 1/4 cup water into a medium saucepan. Next, add the zucchini and green beans. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low. Steam, covered, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and easily pierced with a fork. Then drain in a colander. 

Meanwhile, pat the beef dry with paper towels. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper over the beef. 

Lightly spray a heavy skillet with cooking spray. Heat the skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the beef. Cook for 2 minutes without turning so it browns. 

Using a spatula, loosen, lift, and turn over the beef. Cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Let stand under a loose tent of aluminum foil for 5 minutes. 

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients.

Spoon the sauce over the beef. Finally, serve with the zucchini and green beans. 


Cooking Tip: Strip, skirt, and flank are lean cuts of beef, so don’t overcook them or they’ll get tough.

Keep it Healthy: Don’t have fresh zucchini or green beans on hand? You can steam fresh broccoli or cauliflower instead.

Tip: Serve with warm corn tortillas, brown rice, or other whole grain if desired.


Heart-Healthy Valentine’s Day Dessert Recipes for Seniors


Dessert is an essential part of any Valentine’s day meal. Don’t worry, heart disease doesn’t mean you need to give up dessert forever! You still want to enjoy life, and these recipes mean you can enjoy a delicious heart-healthy dessert without guilt. Please note that there’s also nothing wrong with a more indulgent Valentine’s Day dessert. Living your best life is all about balance, not deprivation.


Chocolate Drizzled Fruit Cups with Almonds

This dessert from the American Heart Association is low-fat, low-calorie, and contains lots of good-for-you ingredients.


  • 1 1/4 cups sliced, fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup chopped, fresh pineapple OR 1 cup canned pineapple chunks in own juice
  • 1 large banana (peeled, chopped)
  • 2 tablespoon semi-sweet chocolate chips (divided)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoon sliced, unsalted almonds
  • 1 large red or green apple, chopped


First, prepare the fruit: chop apple, slice strawberries, chop pineapple, and slice banana. Then add into a medium bowl, stirring to combine. Next, portion fruit mixture into 4 small bowls.

Into a small, heat-proof bowl, add 1 tablespoon chocolate chips and water. Heat in microwave in 10 to 15 second intervals, depending on the microwave’s power. Stir chocolate after each stint in the microwave and continue heating until chocolate is melted. Stir in reserved 1 tablespoon chocolate chips, mixing until melted.

Use a spoon to drizzle chocolate over fruit cups. Finally, top with almonds and serve.


Quick Tips

Cooking Tip: When melting the chocolate in the microwave, doing it in intervals is required because the chocolate will ruin if heated too high or too much. This is why it pays to be patient.


Keep it Healthy: A combination of any fruit can be used for these fruit cups—mangos and blueberries; peeled citrus foods and pomegranate seeds—the sky’s the limit depending on your taste.


Tip: Only chop the fruit right before you’re ready to eat it. Otherwise, it will brown if sitting out too long, although a spritz of lemon juice can delay the browning.


Frozen Yogurt Bark


This frozen yogurt bark is a fun no-sugar added dessert for a lighter Valentine’s day dessert.


  • 1 1/2 cups low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons honey or pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons chopped unsalted almonds
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped mango
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup blackberries or raspberries, chopped if large

First, in a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt and honey until combined.

Line a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish with parchment paper. While using a spatula or knife, spread the yogurt mixture over the paper as thinly as possible.

Sprinkle the almonds over the yogurt mixture. Then, using your fingertips, gently press the almonds into the yogurt mixture.

Sprinkle the mango, blueberries, and raspberries over all. Again using your fingertips, gently press the fruit into the yogurt mixture. 

Cover the dish with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Freeze overnight. 

At serving time, remove the baking dish from the freezer. Gently lift the parchment paper from the dish and transfer to a cutting board. Using your hands, break the bark into pieces (or you may need to hit it lightly on the surface of the cutting board). It’s best to eat the bark immediately, because it begins to melt 15 minutes after being removed from the freezer. 



Make this Valentine’s day memorable and healthy with these 10 heart-healthy recipes for seniors! Don’t want to cook this year? Make V-day even easier by celebrating at a Senior Living Community. At Stellar Living Senior Living Communities, a chef will prepare delicious healthy meals for you every day. 


Stellar Living wishes you a wonderful Valentine’s Day!