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I love tomatoes. Few things make me happier than walking into the farmer's market and seeing rows and rows full of colorful, wrinkly heirlooms, bright, bold beefsteaks, and tiny, sweet cherries. My favorite way to enjoy them is first thing in the morning on whole-wheat toast with a little bit of cheese, salt, and pepper for breakfast. With summer just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to feast on some healthy and delicious tomatoes.
Tomatoes, which are actually considered both a fruit and a vegetable, are packed with health benefits. They are famous for their high levels of lycopene. Lycopene is an essential antioxidant that fights cancerous cell from forming. They're also packed with beta-carotene with is critical for eye health and preventing heart disease. Tomatoes also a great source of vitamin C, keeping our immune system strong, and vitamin A, which plays a vital role in vision.
Next time you bring home a batch of tomatoes, try one of these oh-so yummy recipes:
1. Quick n' Easy Gazpacho: Blend together tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, onions, garlic and jalapeno peppers in the blender. Garnish with oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper for an idyllic warm-weather treat.
2. Baby Roasted Tomatoes: Slice baby tomatoes in half and oil, salt, pepper, and a dash of thyme. Roast in a low-heated oven (around 250°F) for ninety minutes or until collapsed.
3. Sweet n' Salty Summer Salad: Toss yellow peaches, mozzarella cheese, and basil with salt, pepper, and olive oil for a delicious summer salad.
4. Stuffed Tomatoes: Scoop out the insides of a tomato and get creative. Use rice pilaf, cheese and veggies, or spice-filled ground turkey to fill tomatoes for a healthy dinner.
5. Tomato and Carrot Marinara: For a chunky, meatless pasta sauce sauté carrots, garlic, and tomatoes with sugar, basil, salt, tomato paste, and oregano. Let simmer for 20 minutes until it becomes thick. Serve over whole wheat pasta for a delicious dinner.
6. Mean Green Bloody Mary: In a blender, mix green tomatoes and green tomatillos with celery, mint, jalapeños, olives (with juice), orange juice, and horseradish. Serve it virgin or spice it up with vodka.