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Healthy Living Recipes

Deb Morgan: It’s time to celebrate the beautiful and versatile tomato! Hopefully your garden is bursting with tomatoes by now, or you have a local source of this yummy fruit. My favorite tomato is the grape tomato, and my favorite tomato recipe goes like this: walk into the garden, pluck the reddest grape tomato you see off its vine, and pop it in your mouth! For those who would like to complicate the matter a little more, below are two more very delicious ways to enjoy them.

Read John Bagnulo’s nutritional commentary: Tomatoes and the Nightshade Family

Tomatoes are an excellent source of antioxidants, most notably lycopene and glutathione. Lycopene has a great epidemiological track record with respect to cancer prevention, especially for prostate cancer in men. And lycopene is not destroyed in the cooking process, so we get just as much of the carotenoid from cooked sauces and tomato products as we do from fresh forms. On the other hand, glutathione—which appears to help our liver function and is important for detoxification—is extremely heat sensitive and found only in raw tomato products. Significant quantities of glutathione exist only in tomatoes that are ripened on the vine. So, to get the most nutritional value from your tomatoes, buy fresh vine-ripened and organically grown varieties.

Tomatoes are part of the nightshade family of fruits and vegetables, which also includes the pepper, eggplant, and potato. For years, alternative health practitioners have advised their patients to avoid members of this family as they have been thought to increase arthritis-like symptoms. While there are anecdotal reports of this, there have not been any clinical studies to date that have demonstrated the phenomenon. I generally only recommend people avoid these vegetables if they notice a change in their digestion with the consumption of nightshades.

Lebanese Tomato Rice Soup

Serves six to eight.

3 cloves garlic
1 medium onion
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large tomato, large diced
1 32-ounce can of tomato puree
4 cups stock
¼ cup basmati rice (uncooked)
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoon fresh mint
1 tablespoon lemon juice to taste

Begin by gently sautéing the onions and garlic in the olive oil until they are translucent. Add the tomato and sauté a few minutes. Add the tomato puree, stock, and rice (washed but uncooked), plus the salt. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for 20 minutes until the rice is cooked. Add mint and lemon juice, simmer for five minutes, and taste for flavor-adjust as needed and enjoy. Great as is or served with some toasted pita bread and feta cheese. You can make it a meal by adding a protein (chicken, beans, or even fish)—play around and have fun.

Tomato-Cucumber Salad with Yogurt Sauce

Serves four to six.

2–3 large ripe tomatoes cut in wedges or 2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes cut in half
1 English cucumber, large diced
2 cups sliced romaine lettuce
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

Wash everything well and cut into desired sizes. Toss together and either top with yogurt sauce or serve yogurt sauce on the side.

Yogurt Sauce

½ cup fresh yogurt (see if you can find a local brand that does not use stabilizers).
2–3 tablespoons fresh lemon
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes before serving, if possible.

Find more delicious and nutritious recipes in Kripalu Recipes.