Heart-Healthy Lockdown Braai Recipes

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In order to stay well, healthy and boost immunity, the country is encouraged to eat healthily to lower their risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Which means we'll need to make healthier choices when it comes to South Africa's favourite pastime – braaing. braaing asparagus, chicken and sausages on a weber outdoors with smoke

To help you with healthier braai delights, Pharma Dynamics has teamed up with well-known food consultant and cookbook author, Heleen Meyer and the Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSF) to develop heart-healthy braai recipes as part of the Cooking from the Heart cookbook series.

Nicole Jennings, spokesperson for Pharma Dynamics says the series consists of 30 recipes that cater for both meat-eaters and vegetarians. “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 faux pas they make when braaing.

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

braaing vegetable skewers outdoors

Tips For A Healthier Braai

Heleen Meyer and the Cooking from the Heart cookbook series have also compiled a few tips for a braai that's healthier on the heart. When it comes to choosing your ingredients, produce and making sauces and marinades, follow these tips:

  1. Choose proteins wisely. Opt for lean meats like fish and skinless chicken breasts instead of plenty of red meat. If you do choose 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. Not only will this add amazing flavour, but it will also reduce the need for salt, which heightens your risk of hypertension.
  3. Limit your meat intake to 150g.
  4. Fill your plate with grilled vegetables, salads and side dishes. The more colour you add, the better. Meat and veg sosaties (kebabs) are always a hit.
  5. Make your own healthier sauces and dressings instead of buying them from the store. Refer to www.cookingfromtheheart.co.za for a variety of healthy salad dressings.
  6. Choose wholegrain breads, rolls or wraps, which provide additional fibre to your diet.
  7. Consider healthier options over ice cream, such as chocolate bananas or fruit salad. Grilled fruit is also delicious!

Veggie Skewers


  • 125g button mushrooms, halved
  • 3 baby marrows, thickly sliced
  • 200g baby tomatoes
  • 1 green, yellow or red pepper, seeded and cut into large cubes
  • 15 - 20 bay or fresh lemon or lime leaves (optional)
  • 8 - 10 metal skewers or wooden kebab sticks, soaked 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 lemon rind
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) each chopped fresh thyme, origanum and parsley
  • 1 clove of 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 8 – 10 minutes to prevent the mushrooms from breaking apart when skewered. Drain well and pat dry.
  2. Thread mushrooms and veggies onto skewers or kebabs sticks, alternating the different veggies for a colourful end result. Add 1 - 2 bay, lemon or lime leaves in between veggies.
  3. Mix oil, lemon juice and rind, 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 until the veggies are just cooked, but not too soft. Brush with more of the marinade, while braaiing, if necessary.
  6. The kebabs can be served with pea & yoghurt dip or cottage cheese dip. Serve with a protein-rich vegetarian dish for a balanced meal.


  • Add pineapple to the skewers for a sweet flavour – it is delicious with pork or chicken.
  • A pinch of cumin or paprika or a chopped chilli can be added to the oil mixture, if preferred.
  • 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.

Source: cookingfromtheheart.co.za


Colourful Slaw With Ginger & Peanuts



  • 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 and black pepper to taste


  • 500 ml (2 cups) each shredded white and red cabbage (or more white)
  • 1 large spinach leaf, shredded
  • 2 carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
  • ¼ cucumber, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium pineapple, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 celery stalk with the leaves, thinly sliced
  • ½ red or green pepper, seeded, quartered and thinly sliced


  1. Dressing: Stir all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
  2. Salad: 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 dish at a braai.


  • This dressing can be used as a marinade for fish, chicken, pork or veggies.
  • Add toasted coconut to the dressing instead of the peanuts.
  • Serve with steak or leftover braaied chicken in whole-wheat rolls or pitas.

Source: cookingfromtheheart.co.za


Mealie Meal & Corn Bake


  • 3 cups (750 ml) coarse mealie meal
  • 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 mealie meal, water, milk, salt, oil and sweetcorn in a large mixing bowl. Stir well so that no dry meal is visible.
  2. Lightly grease a 20 x 27 cm oven dish with oil and spoon mealie meal mixture into dish.
  3. Arrange onion wedges on mealie meal. Mix parsley, cheese and corn and sprinkle evenly over onions.
  4. Bake for 1 hour or until the mealie meal is cooked through. Serve hot.


  • Serve with barbecue sauce.
  • Bake the mealie meal mixture without the onion and cheese mixture until cooked. Mix 1 x 410 g tin onion and tomato mix with the parsley and onion wedges. Spoon onto cooked mealie meal 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.

Source: cookingfromtheheart.co.za


Chocolate Fondue


  • 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 seasonal fruit, like apple, pear, papaya, 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, while stirring all the time, to melt the chocolate and dissolve the sugar.
  2. Mix cornflour, cocoa and cinnamon with 2 tbsp (30 ml) water to form a smooth paste without lumps.
  3. Add some of the warm milk mixture to the paste and stir well. Stir back into the milk mixture in the pot.
  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 warm bowl.
  5. Dip fruit or some of the other suggested ingredients in the warm chocolate sauce.


  • The sauce will thicken as it cools down. Just stir in a tablespoon of boiling water to thin it down again.
  • The chocolate sauce can also be served with ice cream. Only use 2 tsp (10 ml) cornflour and prepare as above. The recipe will then serve 8 - 10.

Source: cookingfromtheheart.co.za


About The Cooking from the Heart Initiative

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 their 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 Facebook.

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