Saturday, July 23, 2011

Cool off with Summer Veggie Ratatouille

It has been quite the heat wave and everyone seems to want to be out of the kitchen and eating cold summer salads to cool off.  This salad can be eaten hot or cold, depending on your mood and how far in advance you make it. It is easily prepared in advance (it actually tastes better that way) and doesn't have any meat, so it is easy to transport without worrying about food illness.

Take advantage of summer squash and zucchini when it is in season and your friends are giving it away out of their garden!  Summer squash is low in calories and carbohydrates, until its relative the winter squashs (butternut, acorn) which are considered starches.

The secret to this recipe is keeping the squash cooked just right, so they have a little crunch.  I made it a bit spicy using canned tomatoes with green chiles, but you could season it with Italian spices and it would be delicious.  It can be put together in about 15 minutes so it's nice and easy for those who don't like the kitchen.  It would be even better with grilled veggies!  Plan ahead and make extra the night before for planned leftovers for this dish and dinner is served in 5 minutes!  Serve this with chicken and salad for dinner or over french or italian bread and melt cheese for an easy dinner or appetizer!

Summer Veggie Ratatouille
Serves 6-8

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can of diced tomatoes (with green chilis, stewed, or Italian)
1 vidalia onion, sliced
2 plum tomatoes, diced
1 Summer Squash, sliced
1 Zucchini, sliced
2 Tbsp capers
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
Pepper, to taste

Directions:
Heat the olive oil and garlic in a large saucepan over medium heat for 3 minutes, until browned.  Add onions and cook for ~5 minutes until they soften.  Add canned tomato, fresh tomato, summer squash, and zucchini and cook for 10 minutes.  Add capers and spices and take off heat.  Chill immediately if serving cold.  Enjoy!

Nutrition facts: 1 cup
~75 calories, 10 g carbohydrates, 2 g protein, 3 g fat, 3 g fiber

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