Last updated on Feb 3rd, 2021 at 02:05 pm

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 and type 2 diabetes.

Good news for those who enjoy a braai is that Pharma Dynamics has teamed up with food consultant and cookbook author Heleen Meyer and the Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSF) to develop a collection of heart-healthy braai recipes as part of its popular, Cooking from the Heart cookbook series.

Nicole Jennings, spokesperson for Pharma Dynamics says the 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 faux pas they make when braaiing.”

The recipes are all 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!

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

Veggie skewers

These skewers are delicious braaied over the coals.


  • 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, lemon or lime leaves (optional)
  • 8-10 metal skewers or wooden kebab sticks, soaked in water for 30 minutes
  • ¼ cup (60ml) olive or canola oil
  • 3 tbsp (45ml) lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) finely grated lemon rind
  • 2 tsp (10ml) each chopped fresh thyme, origanum and parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • black pepper to taste
  • ½ tsp (2,5ml) 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 or 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 or until the veggies are just cooked, but not too soft. Brush with more of the marinade, while braaiing, if necessary.
  6. Serve with a protein-rich vegetarian dish for a balanced meal.

Tips :

  1. Add pineapple to the skewers for a sweet flavour – it is 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 (15ml) finely grated fresh ginger or add 1 tsp (5ml) mild mustard to the oil mixture.

ALSO SEE: Sweet chilli and cream cheese dip

Colourful slaw with ginger and peanuts

Ingredients for the dressing:

  • ¼ cup (60ml) olive or canola oil
  • 3 tbsp (45ml) red grape or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) soy sauce
  • 4 tsp (20ml) finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 small red chilli, seeded and finely chopped, or to taste (optional)
  • 3 tbsp (45ml) chopped fresh coriander or parsley
  • ¼ cup (60ml) finely chopped unsalted peanuts lemon juice and black pepper to taste

Ingredients for the salad:

  • 2 cups each of shredded white and red cabbage
  • 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. This will allow the salad to marinate.
  3. Serve slaw as a side dish at a braai.


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

Mealie meal and corn bake


  • 3 cups (750ml) coarse mealie meal
  • 2 cups (500ml) water
  • 1½ cups (375ml) low-fat milk
  • ½ tsp (2,5ml) salt
  • ¼ cup (60ml) olive or canola oil
  • 1 can (410g) cream-style sweetcorn
  • 1 small onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 3 tbsp (45ml) chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup (60ml) coarsely grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 corn on the cob, kernels cut from the cob or ½ cup (125ml) 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.


Bake the mealie meal mixture without the onion and cheese mixture until cooked. Mix 1 can (410g) of 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.

Chocolate fondue


  • 1 cup (250ml) low-fat milk
  • ½ x 80g good quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 2 tsp (10ml) sugar
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) cornflour
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp (1,2ml) ground cinnamon or more to taste
  • 1 tsp (5ml) 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, stirring to melt the chocolate and dissolve the sugar.
  2. Mix cornflour, cocoa and cinnamon with 2 tbsp (30ml) 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.


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

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