Looking for an original, guilt-free Valentineâ€™s day appetizer? This tomato and mozzarella bouquet is fun and easy to make. It’s a heart-healthy choice for those close to your heart. Hereâ€™s why.
As well as being fat free, low in calories, and high in vitamin C, tomatoes are good source of vitamins A, K, folate, potassium, and several other vitamins and minerals, all of which are necessary for good health. But tomatoes are also specifically linked to heart health. Fresh tomatoes and tomato extracts have been shown to help lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol (the bad kind), and triglycerides. Tomato extracts help prevent blood platelet cells from clumping together (which lowers the risk of heart problems like hardening of the arteries). Tomatoes are on the list of the worldâ€™s healthiest foods.1
Mozzarella contains niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, biotin, and vitamin B6. They are important to maintaining healthy skin and vision and to the formation of red blood cells. Mozzarella also contains vitamins such as A, D and E, which help bone growth, absorption of calcium, and protection of cell membranes.2
Basil has anti-inflammatory and antiaging properties. It is rich in antioxidants as well as in vitamins A, K, C, magnesium, iron, potassium, and calcium, and many other nutrients. These can help protect cell walls from free radical damage (in the blood system and other body structures), improve blood flow, and help stop cholesterol from oxidizing in the blood stream.3
Further, basil leaves are an excellent source of iron, which helps blood to carry oxygen.4
Have a happy and heart-healthy Valentineâ€™s day.
- 12 cherry tomatoes
- 12 mozzarella balls (ca. 150 g, or 5 oz. total)
- Handful of basil leaves
- 12 long skewers, presoaked
- A flower vase, well washed
- First, hollow out the tomatoes using a fine knife. Make the hole approximately the size of the mozzarella ball.
- Place the mozzarella ball into the hollowed-out tomato.
- Skewer the basil, top with the tomato and mozzarella flower, place in the vase. Repeat until you’re done.
This post is dedicated to my friend, Marita, who served me something similar and inpired me to post it on my blog. The version above is slightly adapted.