Fresh Tomato Salad

When you’re making that next salad with fresh tomatoes, don’t be afraid to sprinkle a little extra olive oil on it instead of some fat-free dressing.

That’s the advice of researchers at Iowa State University, who say without adding a little fat to a salad, your body is unlikely to absorb all the nutrients.

I came across this information in an article in The Garlic Press, the newsletter of the Grand Fork Co-op, of which Therese and I are members.

In the study, researchers had graduate students eat bowls of salad greens with tomatoes and various types of salad dressings — from fat-free to regular Italian — over the course of several months. When researchers analyzed  blood samples taken from the volunteers before and after they’d eaten the salads, they found out that the ones who had eaten fat-free or low-fat dressings didn’t absorb the beneficial carotinoids from the salads.

Carotinoids are the pigments responsible for the red-, yellow- and orange-colored fruits. The compounds convert to vitamin A in the body. Studies also have show that carontinoids  are loaded with anti-oxidants, which help protect cells from damage from free radicals, cancer-causing agents.

With this info in mind, give the following salad a try. To your health!

Avocado and Tomato Salad
5 large avocados, halved, pitted and diced
2 cups tomatoes, washed, quartered or grape or cherry tomatoes halved
1 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 small white onion, peeled, sliced
Juice of 2 large limes
¼ cup white vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon sugar
In a large bowl, gently mix together the avocados, tomatoes, cilantro and onion. In a glass measure, whisk together all the vinaigrette ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings. Pour the vinaigrette over the avocado salad and mix to combine. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap directly on the surface, and refrigerate 1 hour.
Yield: Serves. 8.
Approximate nutritional analysis per ½-cup per serving: 277 calories (82 percent from fat), 25 grams fat (4 grams saturated), 15 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams protein, 234 milligramns sodium, no cholesterol, 27 milligrams calcium, 9 grams fiber.