By Sheri Branson

One of my favorite dishes to make this time of year is ratatouille. Served either warm or cold, it reminds me of the warm summer sun of Provence. Local Farmer’s Markets are loaded with everything I need for this classic summer dish. Grilling the vegetables takes extra time, but the deep, rich flavor is well worth it. Ratatouille is delicious served over grains such as barley, quinoa, or pasta, as a side dish with grilled chicken or fish and topped with aioli, or as an appetizer served on top of a thick slice of grilled French bread brushed with olive oil. This recipe serves 4-6 as a side dish.


2 medium eggplants
2 medium zucchini
2 onions
2 peppers
4 tomatoes
8-10 cloves garlic
I cup fresh basil, chopped
½ cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat grill to medium/low. Cut each eggplant, zucchini, pepper, onion, and tomato into 4 pieces and brush with olive oil. Roughly chop the garlic and spread it on top of vegetables. Place all vegetables skin side down on grill for approximately 20-30 minutes, checking for tenderness. Remove and let cool at room temp for 15 minutes. Once cooled, chop the vegetables into bite size pieces and add the basil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Mix gently and let stand for 10 minutes for flavors to come together. Enjoy!

Sheri Branson is an instructor of Physical Education at Duke University and is finishing her Masters Degree in Nutrition. She holds a Masters Degree in Dance, has danced professionally, holds certifications in Pilates and yoga, and has coached for Girls on the Run. Sheri has spent much of her life doing marathons and triathlons, and now stays active hiking, biking, running, traveling, cooking, and volunteering with Habitat for Humanity.