Turn an Overflowing Garden into a Beauty 'Do'

Show me an August garden and I'll show you an abundance of foods to make your skin radiant. When the growth spurts of your zucchini catch up to you and you have more tomatoes than can possibly be enjoyed one at a time, there's one dish (with a funny name) that can be customized a million ways and always turn out delicious: ratatouille.

You may have ten peppers and zero eggplant, or four squash and not a single onion, but you can still make an delicious (and super budget-friendly) meal full of age-fighting antioxidants. (Just wait til you hear about the specific skin benefits)

Round up your surplus of garden produce and get to work chopping. You'll want the usuals— tomatoes (full of lycopene that protects your skin from UV damage), zucchini (packed with the beauty nutrient vitamin A), peppers (a major source of collagen-boosting C, especially the red varieties!), onions (they stimulate the cell-protective antioxidant glutathione), eggplant (contains the free radical-fighter chlorogenic acid), fresh basil (skin-soothing and anti-inflammatory) and oregano (antibacterial), and garlic (another glutathione booster) ...but feel free to add in more or less, using whatever else you have around. I just made a version with leeks, grape tomatoes and kale: a bit out of the ordinary, but delicious.

Here's your basic plan for August Ratatouille:

  • Heat a tablespoon of coconut oil over medium heat.
  • Add garlic and stir for a minute, before adding your alliums (big or small onions, leeks, scallions- whatever you have around).
  • Saute for 5 to 10 minutes until soft and add your chopped tomatoes (at least 2 or 3) and about a cup of vegetable broth or tomato juice to keep things moist.
  • Then add your chopped garden veggies- zucchini, kale, eggplant, peppers, string beans (whatever you need to use up most- aim for about 5 to 6 cups full) and a handful of chopped basil and oregano.
  • Let this simmer on medium-low heat until your veggies are soft, then season with sea salt and fresh pepper.

You'll be treated to one of the simplest and freshest meals you can imagine, and you've used up the produce that was threatening to spoil if you hadn't found room in your stomach for one more zucchini. Plus- your beauty nutrition just went through the roof!

Image via Andy Deer