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Heart-healthy helpings with veggie sliders

Published On: Dec 17 2012 02:45:56 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 03 2013 03:38:08 PM CST
heart healthy food eating knife fork

iStock/pashalgnatov

(NewsUSA) - For a healthy alternative to the American grilling classic, the burger, consider adding unique ingredients such as raisins to add flavor and nutrition. A good source of potassium and fiber, raisins are an all-natural, no-sugar-added ingredient and are fat- and cholesterol-free.

As if that weren't enough, raisins may support heart health, according to new research. A study at the Louisville Metabolic and Atherosclerosis Center suggests eating raisins three times daily may significantly lower blood pressure for adults with prehypertension.

"Raisins deliver dietary fiber and beneficial nutrients like potassium and antioxidants associated with cardio-protective benefits, such as reduced blood pressure," said Dr. James Painter, registered dietitian and nutrition research advisor for the California Raisin Marketing Board. "These findings add to the growing body of scientific evidence that indicates there may be numerous positive health benefits linked to eating raisins."

Pump up the great taste with this perfectly "heart"y recipe for the grill from www.loveyourraisins.com.

Yum Yum Veggie Sliders

1 can black beans (drained, rinsed)

1/2 small red bell pepper, (1/3 cup small dice)

1/2 small onion, (1/3 cup small dice)

1 stalk of celery, (1/3 cup small dice)

3 cloves garlic (peeled, diced)

1/3 cups California raisins (finely chopped)

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder

2 teaspoons cumin

3/4 cup bread crumbs

1/2 cup quinoa, cooked and cooled

If grilling, preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, lightly oil a sheet of aluminum foil. If baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees (F) and lightly oil a baking sheet. In a medium bowl, mash black beans until thick and pasty. In a small bowl, mix finely chopped bell pepper, onion, celery, garlic and California raisins. Stir into mashed beans.

In another small bowl, stir egg, salt, chili and chipotle powder and cumin. Stir the egg mixture into mashed beans. Mix in bread crumbs and quinoa until mixture is sticky and holds together. Divide into small patties. Makes 12 patties.