Welcome Spring with this Delightful Roasted Asparagus Salad!

Roasting asparagus spears takes this spring superfood to new heights that impart unique sweet flavor and a moist, tender texture.

Eating asparagus can help flush excess fluid and salt from the body, and that can help prevent urinary tract infections. That is because asparagus contains high levels of the amino acid asparagine, which makes it a natural diuretic.

Asparagus is packed with beneficial vitamins and minerals,  An excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A and folate, asparagus is a very good source of fiber, B vitamins, manganese, phosphorus and potassium.

This delicious dish also features ripe avocado, sweet red onion and bite sized grape tomatoes that contain numerous health benefits. Avocados are rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and potassium.

Compounds in red onions lower LDL (bad) cholesterol while boosting HDL (good) cholesterol and the lycopene in tomatoes is a powerful free radical-fighting antioxidant that reduces the risk of cancer.

The dressing is a luscious blend of extra virgin olive oil, lots of fresh garlic, the zest and juice of a plump fresh lemon, and herbaceous thyme balanced with flavorful Marukan Organic Rice Vinegar.

Roasted Asparagus Salad
You may also line the baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup.
6 servings

1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon dried thyme
Zest of 1/2 lemon

Preheat oven to 425° Spray baking sheet with olive oil spay In a large bowl, combine asparagus with olive oil, thyme and lemon zest. Toss gently to coat. Place asparagus on a baking sheet and roast for about 15 minutes, or until tender. Set aside to cool.

1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cup Marukan Organic Rice Vinegar
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
zest and juice from 1/2 lemon

Place in a small bowl in order listed and whisk to mix thoroughly.

1 avocado, diced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 cups grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
1 large bell pepper (orange or yellow)
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 head red lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces

Toss avocado gently with the lemon juice and combine with the remaining salad ingredients in a medium bowl in order listed and toss gently with about 1/4 cup of dressing.  Set aside.

Place lettuce on the bottom of a bowl. Add avocado mixture and arrange roasted asparagus over all. Drizzle with a little more dressing and serve with extra dressing on the side.

Nutrition Analysis: 2 cups with dressing
Calories 261 Protein  6g, Carbohydrates  17g, Fiber 0g, Fat 20g, Cholesterol 0mg, Calcium 113mg, Sodium 48mg

Marie Oser is a best-selling author, writer/producer and host of VegTV. Her latest book is The Skinny on Soy.  Follow Marie on Facebook and Twitter