This healthy, fresh tasting tomato basil pasta dish provides heart health benefits first with the cherry tomatoes. The cherry tomatoes are fat-
free, cholesterol-free, and low in sodium. They are also an excellent source of vitamins A and C and a great source of vitamin K and potassium. The potassium is an electrolyte mineral which assists the electricity flow throughout the body – thus the steady stream of electricity keeps your heart beating at a healthy, regular rate. Potassium is very important and not enough in the daily diet can lead to cardiac arrhythmia - an abnormal heartbeat. Next, the garlic in this tomato basil pasta recipe assists the heart by reducing and controlling blood pressure. Garlic, also has the ability to lower cholesterol, reduce arterial plaque formation and provide overall heart protection – such as preventing heart attacks and atherosclerosis. This heart healthy recipe calls for a generous amount of the super herb basil as well. Basil promotes cardiovascular health and well-being due to containing powerful antioxidants protecting cells from bad cholesterol and free radical damage. Finally, the olive oil and pasta are classics in the well-known Mediterranean Diet. The olive oil, being known for heart health benefits and decreasing the risk of heart disease assists by dramatically helping the blood vessel walls. Also, the high antioxidant properties of olive oil help balance cholesterol levels and helps keep the arteries clear of blockage. The pasta, especially whole-wheat pasta, provides a great source of dietary fiber - which helps give energy but also helps fight chronic diseases – including obesity, which helps take stress off the heart by making it work not as hard.
12 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti - pasta
2 pounds cherry tomatoes
6 cloves garlic, smashed
3 tablespoons capers
1 tablespoon oregano
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup chopped basil (parsley or chives)
Salt to taste
Heat oven to 400°F.
On baking sheet with a rim – toss tomatoes, garlic, capers and oregano with olive oil. Roast the tomatoes, tossing until they burst – 20 to 25 minutes. In large cooking pot bring water to boil and cook spaghetti according to package instructions. Drain pasta and then toss the pasta with the tomatoes, herbs and remaining tablespoon of oil. Makes 4 servings.
Tip: To easily smash garlic, place cut up garlic in a plastic baggie, such as a sealable sandwich baggie and then smash with rolling pin or similar object.
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