When you’re dreaming of long summer days and sweet ripe tomatoes but it’s still spring, try making this salad. Roasting tomatoes in the oven brings out their natural sugars and makes even hot house tomatoes taste like they’ve just been picked from the garden. While cooking tomatoes depletes its vitamin C content it actually has the opposite affect on lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant and phytochemical (it’s what gives tomato its’ red colour) and plays a major role in scavenging free radicals in the body. Cooking tomatoes and serving them with healthy fats makes it easier for the body to absorb lycopene (increases its’ bioavailability). The avocado in this salad provides the healthy fats that aid in absorbing lycopene, as well as contributing a significant amount of fiber and potassium. Cilantro is no slouch either. Did you know that cilantro is one of the best herbal sources of vitamin K which is critical in maintaining bone structure, not to mention high in vitamin C, iron, calcium, and potassium? Besides these amazing health benefits, researchers from Mexico recently discovered that cilantro is an invaluable water purifier, containing powerful bioabsorbant properties making it capable of filtering out heavy metals such as nickel and even lead.
Serve this salad with simple roasted chicken or fish, in a whole grain pita with chickpeas and tzatziki, or turn it into a main course salad by adding mixed baby greens, black beans, cucumber, with whole grain bread. Healthy eating never has to mean sacrificing flavour.
Roasted Grape Tomato & Avocado Salad
With shaved asiago, cilantro & lime
- 2 pints grape tomatoes, halved
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 green onions, finely sliced
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp dried red chili flakes
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (if you have herb infused olive oil this is the perfect place to use it)
- sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- 1 avocado, cubed
- 1/2-1 cup shaved asiago
- 1 cup cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 lime, zest and juice
- Preheat oven to 400 F
- Toss all ingredients except the avocado, asiago, cilantro and lime together in a large bowl
- Arrange tomatoes in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet, roast in preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring about halfway through
- In a large bowl toss roasted, slightly cooled tomatoes with the avocado, asiago, cilantro, and lime.
To serve: eat simply as is with grilled chicken, pan-roasted fish, or bruschetta style on toasted whole grain baguette.