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A quick way to prepare tasty tomatoes

Tomatoes are a versatile ingredient in many meals that are just as delicious in a garden salad as they are stewed and simmered in a favorite sauce. Tomatoes are a major source of the antioxidant lycopene, which can reduce one's risk of heart disease and cancer. Tomatoes also are a great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K.

It's easy to include more tomatoes into one's diet with tasty fixings like this light and versatile recipe for "Bruschetta" from "Vegan Cooking for Beginners" (Publications International, Ltd.) by the PIL editors. Use it when serving cocktails and snacks, or as the prelude to a larger meal.

Bruschetta

Makes 8 servings

4 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced

1⁄2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

5 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons finely chopped oil-packed sundried tomatoes

1⁄4 teaspoon salt

1⁄8 teaspoon black pepper

16 slices Italian bread

1. Combine fresh tomatoes, basil, 3 tablespoons oil, garlic, sundried tomatoes, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; mix well. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour to blend flavors.

2. Preheat oven to 375 F. Place bread on baking sheet. Brush remaining 2 tablespoons oil over one side of each bread slice. Bake 6 to 8 minutes, or until toasted.

3. Top each bread slice with 1 tablespoon tomato mixture.

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