Heart-healthy Braai Recipes

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Chocolate Dip, Heart-healthy Braai recipes, Cooking from the Heart, Sonia Cabano blog eatdrinkcapetown food wine travel
Chocolate Fondue, Heart-healthy Braai recipes, Cooking from the Heart series of Cookbooks
‘No woman, no cry’, sang Bob Marley. South Africans have a chant of their own at the moment: ‘No beaches but we can still braai!’

And look! There’s even a
cookbook out to help steer you towards a heart- healthy braai! Our health and immune systems are precious, especially now.

During the COVID-19 outbreak South Africans are encouraged
to eat healthily to boost
immunity and lower their risk of lifestyle diseases, such as heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

For braai lovers, Pharma Dynamics has teamed up with food consultant and cookbook author, Heleen Meyer, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation(HSF), to develop Heart-healthy braai recipes as part of its popular Cooking from the
Heart cookbook series.

(HSF), to develop Heart-healthy braai recipes as part of its popular Cooking from the
Heart cookbook series.

Nicole Jennings, spokesperson for Pharma Dynamics, says the Heart-healthy Braai edition contains 30 recipes that cater for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike.

“The recipes include healthy, homemade marinades and seasonings, snacks, sides and salads, as well as vegetarian dishes and even desserts.

“Many of the meals we share are around a braai fire, but it is often accompanied by food that’s not healthy for our hearts. Our aim is to make people a bit more conscious of the nutritional values of food when braaiing.”

The recipes are all easy to make, using affordable essential ingredients, making them ideal for cooking during the lockdown.It even carries Jan Braai’s stamp
of approval!

It even carries Jan Braai’s stamp
of approval!

Try some of these recipes from Cooking from the Heart’s special braai edition:

Vegetable Skewers, Heart-healthy Braai recipes, Cooking from the Heart series Sonia Cabano blog eatdrinkcapetown food wine travel
Vegetable Skewers, Heart-healthy Braai recipes, Cooking from the Heart series

Vegetable Skewers

These skewers are delicious braaied over the coals.


125 g button mushrooms, halved

3 baby marrows, thickly sliced – about 1cm

200 g baby tomatoes, rinsed

1 green, yellow or red pepper, seeded and cut into large (3cm x 3cm) squares

15 – 20 fresh bay or fresh lemon or lime leaves (optional)

8 – 10 metal skewers or wooden
kebab sticks. Soak wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes

¼ cup (60 ml) olive or canola oil

3 tbsp (45 ml) lemon juice

1 tbsp (15 ml) finely grated
zest (the rind, make sure you don’t get any of the bitter white pith with it)

2 tsp (10 ml) each chopped fresh thyme, origanum and parsley

1 clove garlic, crushed

black pepper to taste

½ tsp (2,5 ml) salt


1. Place mushrooms in a shallow dish and cover with boiling water. Soak for no longer than 8 – 10 minutes, to prevent the mushrooms from breaking apart when skewered. Drain well and pat dry with absorbent kitchen paper.

2. Thread mushrooms and vegetables onto skewers/kebab sticks, alternating different vegetables for a colourful result. Intersperse  1 – 2 fresh bay, lemon or lime leaves in between the vegetables.

3. Mix oil, lemon juice and grated zest, herbs and garlic together and season with pepper.

4. Brush oil mixture onto skewers on all sides and marinate for 30 minutes. Season skewers with salt.

5. Grill over medium to low coals or until the veggies are just cooked, but not too soft. Brush with more of the marinade, while braaing as necessary.

6. The kebabs can be served with the Pea & yoghurt dip or Cottage cheese dip on pages 48 and 49 in the cookbook. Serve with a protein-rich vegetarian dish for a balanced meal.

Tips for skewers:

1. Add pineapple chunks to the skewers for a sweet flavour, delicious with pork or chicken.

2. A pinch of cumin or paprika or
a chopped chilli can be added to
the oil mixture if preferred.

3. For a different flavour, add 1
tbsp (15 ml) finely grated fresh
ginger or add 1 tsp
(5 ml) mild
mustard to the oil mixture.

Colourful Coleslaw with Ginger and Peanut Dressing, Heart-healthy Braai recipes, Cooking from the Heart series, Sonia Cabano blog eatdrinkcapetown food wine travel
Colourful Coleslaw with Ginger and Peanut Dressing, Heart-healthy Braai recipes, Cooking from the Heart series

Colourful Coleslaw with ginger and peanut dressing



¼ cup (60 ml) olive or canola oil

3 tbsp (45 ml) red grape or apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp (30 ml) soy sauce

4 tsp (20 ml) finely grated fresh ginger

1 small red chilli, seeded and finely chopped, or to taste (optional)

3 tbsp (45 ml) chopped fresh coriander or parsley

¼ cup (60 ml) finely chopped
unsalted peanuts

lemon juice, salt and black pepper to taste


500 ml (2 cups) each if shredded white and red cabbage (or all white cabbage, if you prefer)

1 large spinach leaf, shredded

2 carrots, peeled and coarsely

¼ cucumber, quartered and
thinly sliced

1 medium pineapple, quartered cut into 1cm thick wedges

1 celery stalk, with leaves, thinly

½ red or green pepper, seeded, quartered and thinly sliced


1. Dressing: Stir all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl.

2. Slaw: Mix all the slaw ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over and toss well. Allow salad to stand for 10 – 15 minutes before serving it. This will allow the salad to marinate.

3. Serve slaw as a side at your heart-healthy braai.

Tips for dressing and slaw:

1. This dressing can be used as a marinade for fish, chicken, pork or vegetables before braaing or roasting.

2. Add toasted coconut to the dressing instead of the chopped peanuts.

3. Serve with steak or leftover braaied chicken in wholewheat rolls or pitas. 

Heart-healthy Braai recipe for Maize Meal and Sweetcorn Bake Sonia Cabano blog eatdrinkcapetown food wine travel
Heart-healthy Braai recipe for Maize Meal and Sweetcorn Bake

Maize Meal, Cheese & Sweetcorn Bake (Paptert)

3 cups (750 ml) coarse maize meal (look for the packets with ‘Braaipap’ on it)

2 cups (500 ml) water

1½ cups (375 ml) low-fat milk

½ tsp (2,5 ml) salt

¼ cup (60 ml) olive or canola oil

1 x 410 g tin cream style sweetcorn

1 small onion, cut into thin wedges

3 tbsp (45 ml) chopped fresh parsley

¼ cup (60 ml) coarsely grated cheddar cheese

1 corn on the cob, kernels cut from the cob or ½ cup (125 ml) frozen whole kernel corn, rinsed


1. Preheat oven to 180 °C. Place the maize meal, water, milk, salt, oil, tinned creamed sweetcorn in a large mixing bowl. Stir well so that no dry maize meal is visible.

2. Lightly grease a 20 x 27 cm oven dish with oil and spoon maize meal mixture into dish.

3. Arrange onion rings on maize meal. Mix parsley, cheese and sweetcorn kernels and spread evenly over onions.

4. Bake for 1 hour or until the maize meal is cooked through. Serve hot.

Tips for serving:

1. Serve with barbecue sauce. (There is a recipe for it on page 46 of the book.)

2. Bake the maize meal mixture without the onion ring and cheese/creamed sweetcorn mixture, until cooked.

3. Mix 1 x 410 g tin onion and tomato mix with the parsley and onion wedges. Spoon onto the bake, sprinkle with cheese and corn and bake for another 10 – 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the tomato layer is heated through. Serve immediately.

Chocolate Fondue, Heart-healthy Braai recipes, Cooking from the Heart series
Chocolate Fondue, Heart-healthy Braai recipes, Cooking from the Heart series


1 cup (250 ml) low-fat milk

½ x 80 g good quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces

2 tsp (10 ml) sugar

1 tbsp (15 ml) cornflour

1 tbsp (15 ml) cocoa powder

¼ tsp (1,2 ml) ground cinnamon or more to taste

1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla essence

2 small fruit skewers per person, made with chunks of firm seasonal fruit, like apple, pear, mango, nectarines, grapes, citrus, banana or strawberries

12 – 18 marshmallows, toasted over the coals, if preferred

12 – 18 tennis or Marie biscuits to dip


1. Place milk, chocolate and sugar in a small pot. Heat over a low heat, stirring constantly, until the chocolate has melted and the sugar dissolved.

2. Mix cornflour, cocoa and
cinnamon with 2 tbsp (30 ml)
water to form a smooth paste
without any lumps.

3. Add some of the warm milk mixture to the paste and stir briskly until smooth well. Add to the milk mixture in the pot and whisk until smooth.

4. Stir continuously over a medium heat for 8 – 10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Spoon into a warmed bowl.

5. Dip fruit or some of the other suggested ingredients in the warm chocolate sauce.


Tips for Chocolate Fondue:

1. The sauce will thicken as it
cools down. Just whisk in a
tablespoon of boiling water to
thin it down again.

2. The chocolate sauce can also
be served over ice cream. Use only 2 tsp (10 ml) cornflour and
prepare as above. The recipe will then serve 8 – 10.

Tips for a heart-healthier braai:

1. Choose proteins wisely by opting for lean meats, such as fish and skinless chicken breast instead of too much red meat. If you do opt for red meat, rather buy loin or tender cuts and remove any visible fat before cooking.

2. Marinate or rub meat with salt-free spices and lemon, which add amazing flavour and will reduce the need for salt, which heightens your risk of hypertension. Use chilli, cumin, garlic, cinnamon, black pepper, paprika, thyme or rosemary for a lip-licking taste.

3. Limit your meat intake (of any type) to 150g per meal.

4. Fill up your plate with grilled vegetables, salads and side dishes. The more colour you add, the better. In SA, we have a great selection of fruit throughout the year so be sure to add these to the braai menu. Meat and veg sosaties (kebabs) are always a hit. Add red, green or yellow peppers, butternut, baby marrows, eggplant, mushrooms and onions to the skewer and brush with healthy oil before grilling.

5. When preparing salads or side dishes, don’t drown them in salty sauces or heavy store-bought dressings. Rather make your own healthier condiments. Refer to the www.cookingfromtheheart.co.za for a variety of healthy salad dressings.

6. Opt for wholegrain breads, rolls or wraps, which provide additional fibre, instead of white carbs.

7. Consider healthy toppings over ice cream, such as chocolate bananas or fruit salad. Grilled fruit is also delicious! The natural sugars caramelise in the high heat, which makes it extra sweet and flavourful.

The Cooking from the Heart initiative forms part of Pharma Dynamics’ overall wellness campaign, to promote healthy eating among the South African public in a practical, affordable and tasty way.

Go to www.cookingfromtheheart.co.za to download any of the 100+ heart-healthy recipes – free of charge!

For more tips on heart-healthy cooking during the lockdown, follow Cooking from the Heart author, Heleen Meyer on https://www.facebook.com/CookingFromTheHeartSA/

Press release by Meropa communications on behalf of Pharma Dynamics.

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Celebrating life with food, wine, friends & happiness! Writer, cook and blogger. Author of four cookbooks. Passionately South African, proudly Capetonian.