Roasted Cherry Tomato Spread

Cherry tomatoes make an appearance on the Cucumber Bites snack, but their versatility allows them to shine on their own.

I have such a fondness for these bite-sized fruits. Both for their flavor and their nutritional value. If you have men in the house whose good health you value (or you are that man), have this snack ready and serve it with love. To find out why, scroll down to the Benefits.

Ingredients: 1 package (10 oz) cherry tomatoes, 4-5 cloves garlic, 2 Tbsp Olive Oil, 1/4 tsp dried oregano, 1/4 tsp dried basil, salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

- Turn the oven on to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Then find a cooking sheet and cover with a layer of aluminum foil.

- If the garlic cloves are already peeled, the only real prep work you need to do is slice the cherry tomatoes in half

- Plop your sliced tomatoes and garlic cloves on a cooking sheet or pan that has been covered in aluminum foil. Drizzle the olive olive, and add the salt and pepper, to your taste (I just sprinkle a couple wrist rotations of both over the ingredients). Shake around.

- Now the waiting game starts. This is the only bothersome part about the recipe. Once in the oven, you will have to wait for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. I use it at an excuse to get chores done. At about 45 minutes I would check the ingredients and give the cooking sheet another shake. You don't want the garlic to burn.

- When done, the tomatoes should be cracked at the skins, and the entire dish will be fragrant. Place the goods into a bowl, and use a fork to smash everything together.

- Sprinkle the dried oregano and basil, then stir again. Serve with toasted squares.

- For a low carb treat, place the tomato spread over sliced cucumbers or add a spoonful to 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese.

The finished product, accompanied by bite-sized whole grain toast circles.

The finished product, accompanied by bite-sized whole grain toast circles.

Benefits: Not only is this snack light, but roasting the tomatoes brings out the magic of lycopene. The nutrition world knows lycopene as a phytochemical and powerful antioxidant that helps reduce one's risk of cardiac disease, macular degeneration, and in men prostate cancer (and these benefits are just the tip of the iceberg, as research continues to reveal even more protective qualities). When you cook a tomato, you make the lycopene more available for the body during digestion. Pairing lycopene with a fat also helps in the absorption process. Keep in mind, you will want to pick a healthy fat (for heart health reasons), and in this case olive oil takes that role.

 

The good news: it saves well too! Have it for lunch or as a snack the next day.

The good news: it saves well too! Have it for lunch or as a snack the next day.