Colorful Food is Good for You

Roasted Asparagus SaladIn order to give your body all the nutrients it needs, it's important to always have fruits and vegetables make their way on to your plate. And the richer it's color, the more packed with nutrients that fruit or veggie is. This Roasted Asparagus Salad works on its own as a vegetarian meal or as a delicious side, and best of all, it's got those strong colors that mean you're eating right.

Check out 24 other colorful meals that help boost your nutrition on SouthernLiving.com.

Roasted Asparagus Salad
Yield: Makes 8 servings

Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, divided
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes (about 1/2 pt.)
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 head Bibb lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
1 avocado, sliced

Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 425°. Snap off and discard tough ends of asparagus; remove scales with a vegetable peeler, if desired.
2. Stir together 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 1 1/2 tsp. chopped basil, 1/2 tsp. lemon pepper, and 1/4 tsp. salt in a large bowl.
3. Add asparagus to olive oil mixture, and toss gently to coat. Place asparagus on a lightly greased baking sheet.
4. Bake asparagus at 425° for 13 to 15 minutes or to desired degree of tenderness. Cool 10 minutes.
5. Whisk together balsamic vinegar, garlic, and remaining 7 Tbsp. olive oil, 1 Tbsp. basil, and 1/4 tsp. salt.
6. Toss together tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, and 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar mixture.
7. Arrange lettuce on individual serving plates. Top with tomato mixture and asparagus. Add avocado just before serving. Drizzle with remaining balsamic vinegar mixture.

Note: To make ahead, toss together tomatoes, bell pepper, and onion without dressing. Store these ready-to-use ingredients in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to five hours. The dressing and asparagus can also be made up to eight hours before serving.

Related: Boost Nutrition with Color
Related: Healthy Appetizer Recipes

Southern Living August 2012

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