Fall is my favorite time of the year for cooking. Keeping it Fresh is easy since all the fruits and veggies are at their peak. The colors of the vegetables are rich and vibrant, like the leaves on the trees in fall. We truly eat with our eyes first; therefore, the rich palette lends itself to a more colorful plate.

Green is great when it comes to veggies, but don’t get in a rut and omit the other colors of the rainbow when planning and prepping your meals. The brighter the vegetables, the more nutritional the value and the more flavorful. The colors are rich and the flavors intense, full of vitamins and antioxidants such as flavonoids, folate, anti-inflammatories and vitamins A, B and C. Yellow, red, orange, blue, purple, green and white make up the rainbow of health and taste.

That is why it is so important to cook with local seasonal fruits and vegetables Simple whole food prep is the best.

Local farmers’ markets or farmers’ stands offer an array of colorful options that are easy to use and simple to prepare.

Orange pumpkins are not just for decorations or dessert. Mix pumpkin and red sweet potatoes for a wonderful one-sheet oven roast. Dice it all together on a sheet pan, toss with olive oil and sea salt and pepper and roast in an oven set at 375 degrees for approximately 35 to 45 minutes or until fork tender.

You can do the same with beets and radishes. Mix whole colored beets and whole fresh radishes leaving the tops on them and place on a cookie sheet in oven with olive oil or coconut oil if you want to make this dish Keto-friendly. Be certain not to discard the greens off fresh vegetables — they are delicious and healthy.

For me, I love to grill and roast in the oven. This way you are not overcooking the vegetables and extracting the nutrients.

One of my favorite grill dishes is to slice yellow and green squash, mushrooms, onions and tri-colored peppers and place them in a 1-gallon-sized bag, add zesty Italian dressing. Let them marinate overnight and either skewer them or take a grill proof pan or basket and place them on the grill allowing time to soften and char just a little.

Then for a rich colorful protein, I love to grill a salmon filet, and together this makes an easy everyday meal or an elegant dinner for company.

Look for a wild-caught Alaskan filet — much higher in omegas than a farm raised one — and slather on a rich, brown mustard with chardonnay and follow with an orange poppy seed dressing (store bought) to taste. Place this on a sheet pan for broiling in an oven at 425 degrees for approximately 12 to 15 minutes or until internal temp of 145 degrees is reached. The fish should go from a translucent color to a rich pink color and should flake when cut.

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