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Stalk some asparagus this spring

Published: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

A sure sign of spring is asparagus poking out of the ground. This vegetable is crazy good for you and has amazing flavor.

One cup of asparagus has only 40 calories, but is packed full of vitamins A, C,and E, as well as folate, thiamine, copper, and selenium. Asparagus contains more glutathione than any other fruit or vegetable.

Glutathione is an antioxidant that plays a vital role in the prevention of certain cancers, nutrient metabolism, and regulating DNA and protein synthesis.

Asparagus should be used soon after harvesting for best flavor. Steaming, grilling and broiling asparagus helps preserve the water-soluble vitamins. Serve raw or cooked, in a salad, stir fry, casserole, or as a side dish. Stalk this amazing vegetable this spring.

Marinated Vegetable Salad

Makes 16 ½-cup servings

2 cups cauliflower, chopped

2 cups mushrooms, sliced

2 cups asparagus, sliced on diagonal

2 (14 oz.) cans artichoke hearts, drained, quartered

3⁄4 cup red wine vinaigrette

10 cups tightly packed spinach leaves

Steam or microwave cauliflower, mushrooms and asparagus until asparagus is tender crisp. Place in a medium bowl with artichoke hearts and toss with half the dressing. Tear spinach into bite-size pieces and toss with remaining dressing in a large bowl. Top with marinated vegetables and serve warm or chilled.

Asparagus and Almonds Over Rice

Makes 2 servings

2 cups bite-size cut fresh asparagus

1 cup thinly sliced fresh mushrooms

1 T chopped garlic

2 T lemon juice

2 T water

2 T soy sauce

2 T slivered almonds

1 cup cooked basmati or wild rice

In a large preheated skillet, combine asparagus, mushrooms, garlic, lemon juice, water, soy sauce and almonds. Sauté until asparagus is tender. Serve over rice.

Per serving: 182 calories, 3.9 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 7.9 grams protein, 32.2 g cholesterol, 4.6 g fiber, 2.7 g sugar Recipe from Nutrition MD

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