It’s essential to get a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables into your diet every day. Colorful fruits and vegetables provide the wide range of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals your body needs to maintain good health and energy levels.Buy fresh vegetables in season. They cost less and are likely to be at their peak flavor.

Summer Vegetable Ratatouille, serves 8

2 onions, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil

4 plum tomatoes, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

1 medium eggplant, cubed

2 medium green zucchini, cubed

2 medium yellow zucchini, cubed

2 green bell peppers, seeded and cubed

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cubed

1 red bell pepper, seeded and cubed

1 bay leaf

4 sprigs fresh thyme

Salt (optional) and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Non-stick cooking spray (olive oil)

In a large pot, over medium to low heat, add oil and sauté onions and garlic until soft. Add the tomatoes and parsley to the large pot and cook another 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Place a non stick skillet sprayed with cooking spray, over medium heat and grill the green and yellow zucchini until slightly browned on all sides. Remove the squash and place in the pot with the onion and tomato mixture.

Cook the remaining vegetables one batch at a time, using non-stick cooking spray as needed each time you add a new set of vegetables. Once each batch has been browned, add them to the large pot.

Season with salt (optional) and pepper. Add the bay leaf and thyme and cover the pot. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf and adjust seasoning.

Use organic and local ingredients. For more healthy recipes check out my book Beyond The Mediterranean Diet, European Secrets Of The Super-Healthy.

Nutrition Facts per serving (with no added salt): 80 calories, 1.7 grams fat, 2.8 grams protein, 15 grams carbohydrates, 17 milligrams sodium, 5 grams dietary fiber, excellent source of vitamins A and C.