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Packed with plenty of crunch, tang, and chew, this dish satisfies all the texture cravings in one hearty dish. One serving of asparagus provides 66 percent of the recommended daily amount of folate, which keeps blood vessels elastic.
Tip: To remove woody ends of asparagus, pick up a stalk and bend it gently. It will "snap" naturally at the place where the woodiness begins.
Farmer's market finds: strawberry, rhubarb, honey
Being good to your heart doesn't have to mean skipping dessert. You'll love the richness of this summer fruit crisp. Treat yourself to a low-fat, low-calorie (145 per serving) indulgence tonight.
Head to the market early and load up on just-picked veggies for a breakfast made in heaven. Farm-fresh eggs work great, too, in this dilled-up casserole.
Inspired by a colorful palate of vegetables but not sure how to use them? Slice and dice a few, then plunge them into this addictive, low-fat sauce.
Looking for a low-calorie, low-sodium entree that's chock-full of farmer's market flavor? You'll love this sweet melon paired with herb-spiced chicken. One cup of cantaloupe has just 56 calories and provides more than 100 percent of the daily requirement of Vitamin A.
Farmer's market finds: pumpkin
Serve this delicious dessert with hot cider after an afternoon walk. High in beta-carotene and potassium, pumpkin helps prevent hardening of the arteries.
Tip: Choose smaller pumpkins for cooking. Homemade pureed pumpkin is usually thinner than canned. Drain excess moisture through a cheesecloth before using in this recipe. Leftover pumpkin freezes well.
Farmer's market finds: corn, tomatoes
Don't plan on leftovers because you'll want to eat the whole thing! Grilling the corn adds a smoky sweetness to tangy tomatoes, making this recipe an irresistible, low-calorie (149 per serving) complement to any barbecue entree.
Rich, veggie-packed salsa is the perfect complement to a spicy sweet marinade. Cilantro lowers bad cholesterol and raises good cholesterol. It's also a good source of phytonutrients and flavonoids.
Tip: Freeze pork chops with the marinade in a plastic bag ahead of time. When you're ready for a barbecue, simply thaw the meat in the bag and toss the meat on the grill for dinner in minutes.
Enjoy a classic standby with a few heart-healthy twists (we used turkey bacon). With spices fresh from the farmer's market, you'll get the full flavor.
Spinach cannot be praised enough for its benefits to whole body health (and its refreshing taste). Rich in potassium and folate, spinach can help reduce hypertension and relax blood vessels.
Farmer's market finds: squash, apple
There is simply no better way to spend a Saturday morning than shopping a sun-laden market, biking home with the goods, and whipping up a batch of these fluffy confections. Pile them high with antioxidant-rich fruits and berries. Bet a cream-filled donut couldn't make you this happy!
Fresh herbs and goat cheese add a surprising dimension to this colorful side dish. Parading five different types of tomatoes, this salad is packed with lycopene, a valuable heart-healthy nutrient.
Farmer's market finds: chile pepper, cabbage, corn, red pepper, red onion, corn
Herb selection at farmer's markets can be downright heady; take advantage of these pungent spices by perking up a variety of wild mushrooms. Herbs provide wonderful depth to dishes without adding significant calories.
Tip: Mushroom harvests emerge in different seasons based on region, but they typically pop up early spring.
Dark greens and asparagus are packed with vitamin C. Use a few types of lettuce in this recipe to broaden nutrition and add overall texture and color to this dish.
These golden-yellow vegetables add a sweet and buttery starch to your harvest table. Winter squash is rich in beta-carotene, which helps keep cholesterol from building along vessel walls. Now that's something to be thankful for.
Tip: When buying butternut squash, choose one that feels heavy for its size. The more orange the color, the sweeter the squash.
Farmer's market finds: raspberries, blueberries
Vivid blue and red berry hues leap off a fruit stand, but these juicy jewels are reason enough to fold them into a pastry (if you don't eat them all on your way home). At only 131 calories per serving, you can afford a scoop of low-fat vanilla ice cream alongside.
Pick up a loaf of fresh bread at the farmer's market--whatever tickles your fancy. You'll be hungry after feasting your eyes all morning on fresh ingredients. Luckily, this tasty sandwich takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.
Tip: If you don't have a grill, broil the veggies in an oven. It's just as fast, and you still get the slightly charred tops that make these veggies so delicious.
Farmer's market finds: avocado, onion, cucumber, carrot, garlic
This creamy chilled soup will soon become a favorite. It's no-sweat cleanup, too, with only one dish to wash. Pair it with a light main dish for a delicious patio dinner.
Farmer's market finds: blueberries, sage
Dress up delicious halibut steaks with a spicy fruit sauce. This classic pairing has a high-antioxidant twist with its power-packed blueberries. You can also use peaches for a similar tang.
Tip: No sage available? Substitute marjoram or rosemary.
Pass the peas, please. Green peas are an excellent source of vitamin K, which helps regulate blood clotting. They also contain several B vitamins, which assist the body in metabolizing fats.
Break away from traditional tomato salsa and scan the market for inspiration. Serve it over any white fish. Pineapple supplies bromelain, a powerful enzyme that aids digestion and eases inflammation in the body.
Tip: Try mango, peach, papaya, strawberry, or kiwi instead of pineapple.
Tightly rolled packages filled with fresh veggies make an irresistible snack. They also travel well for on-the-go days. Daikon, a white radish shaped like a carrot, provides one-third of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C in a 3-ounce serving.
Farmer's market finds: cherries
Want to kick the soda habit but get bored with water? Try this refreshingly cool beverage, and let a spoonful of mint help your eight glasses a day go down easily.
Tip: For a slightly stronger mint flavor, bruise the leaves before steeping.
Perfect for a ladies' luncheon or romantic dinner, edible flowers bring an elegant touch to this nutrient-packed salad. Dark greens add a significant dose of vitamin C.
Tip: Make sure edible flowers have not been exposed to herbicides or pesticides. Carefully wash petals and buds; shake to dry, then gently toss with greens.