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Vegetables, fruits boast flavor, vitamins
Asparagus is packed with antioxidants and is a very good source of fiber, folate, chromium and vitamins A, C, E and K. - photo by Stock photo

Spring is here! With the Hinesville Farmers Market in full swing and offering fresh items, now is the perfect time to take advantage of our access to locally grown fruits and vegetables by incorporating more healthy side dishes into your diet.  
These simple recipes are quick and easy to prepare, making them a great choice to add on to any weeknight meal.  These salt-free creations pack a delicious, vitamin-filled punch by letting natural flavors come through.
Asparagus is packed with antioxidants and is a very good source of fiber, folate, chromium and vitamins A, C, E and K.
Although usually thought of as a vegetable, the tomato actually is a fruit. This vitamin powerhouse contains vitamins A, B6 and C, iron, calcium, niacin, folate and lycopene, which is a  cancer-fighting agent.

Broiled asparagus

• 2 pounds fresh asparagus, washed and trimmed
• 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 tablespoons salt-free dried herb mix, such as Mrs. Dash or any combination of dried herbs to taste.

Preheat broiler. Coat baking sheet with a tablespoon of olive oil. Arrange asparagus spears on the baking sheet in a single layer.
In a small bowl combine olive oil and herbs. Mix well and brush mixture over the asparagus, coating it thoroughly.
Place baking sheet under broiler for 6-8 minutes, depending on the size of the asparagus. Slender spears will take less time. Keep an eye on the asparagus as the spears can easily overcook and dry out.
Serve warm.

Oven roasted tomatoes

• 3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, washed
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
• 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
• 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• drizzle of balsamic vinegar
• sprinkle of fat-free grated parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove stems from the tomatoes and slice in half lengthwise. Optional: Scoop out seeds with a spoon if you dislike them.
Coat baking sheet with a tablespoon of olive oil and then lay the tomatoes, cut-side up, in a single layer on the sheet. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and sprinkle with thyme, basil and garlic. Drizzle tomatoes with a small amount of balsamic vinegar and finish with a light dusting of grated parmesan cheese.
Roast in oven for 40 minutes. To give tomatoes a caramelized texture, increase oven temperature to 400 degrees and roast for an additional 20 minutes.

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