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Use Farmers Markets to Find Seasonal Veggies

In a vegetable rut? Hit the farm stand and trade one of your summer staples for one of these seasonal superstars, says FITNESS and chef Ross Dobson, author of "Market Vegetarian" (2008, $24.95).

SUGAR SNAP PEAS

Juicy, sweet and high in vitamins A and C, they can be eaten raw or steamed.

Look for: A snapping sound when you break them in half.

Quick-cooking tip: Place in boiling water for 1 minute, then drop into an ice bath (this keeps them crisp and bright green). Combine with sliced red pepper, bean sprouts, scallions and zucchini, and top with olive oil, red-wine vinegar and crushed garlic for an Asian-inspired salad.

FENNEL

High in fiber, potassium and vitamin C, this crispy veggie tastes mildly of licorice.

Look for: Bulbs with the green leafy fronds still intact.

Quick-cooking tip: Slice the bulbs vertically into thick strips and brush with a mix of crushed garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill over high heat for 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until slightly charred and cooked through.

BEETS

Earthy, firm and sweet, beets are high in folate, fiber and potassium.

Look for: Crisp leaves and ruby-red or bright orange-gold bulbs.

Quick-cooking tip: Wash beets, brush with olive oil, and roast them whole in their skins at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour or until tender. Then peel, chop and toss with walnuts, arugula and crumbled low-fat blue cheese.

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Copyright 2009, by Meredith Corporation. First printed in the July-August 2009 issue of Fitness Magazine.

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