Veggie Kebabs

These are tasty and good-looking to boot. The marinade was inspired by a salad that I recently had from a kebab place, as well as the lemony-garlicky smell of their meat kebab marinade. I served this with a simple little rice pilaf with onions and saffron, but it would be equally at home on pita or other flatbread with a yogurt-cucumber salad or tzatziki. If you’re doing these on an outdoor grill, you might want to consider skewering the veggies twice – it makes them easier to turn over. Single skewers are fine for broiling them on a cookie sheet, which is what I do.

For this recipe, look for plain fried tofu or a tofu or seitan with a flavor that will harmonize with the marinade. You could use plain extra firm tofu, but eh – it doesn’t quite pick up the flavor as strongly as I’d like. A few I’d suggest are:

White Wave Baked Tofu – Lemon Pepper
White Wave Baked Tofu – Italian
White Wave Traditional Setitan – blue-green box
Cut whatever you choose in about inch by inch cubes.

To start, soak about a dozen bamboo skewers in water to cover for a half-hour (use a cookie sheet with a rim) or get your metal skewers out. Preheat your broiler or get your grill going too.

Marinade: (sorry, I didn’t measure – if yours is too tart, add a little more water & olive oil)
juice of 2 lemons
about as much water as lemon juice
about as much olive oil as lemon juice – maybe more
2/3 c. minced parsley (curly is my preference – the leaves are thinner & more tender)
1/2 red onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper (lots)
Combine the whole mess in a bowl and mix until combined. Take whatever soy or wheat product you’ve decided on and plop it in the marinade. You can nuke it for a couple minutes to help the process along.

1 large bell pepper (whatever color moves you), cut in 1.5 in. squares
1/2 red onion, cut in about 1.5 in. squares, three or four layers together
1 pint cherry tomatoes
3 small or 2 medium zucchini, cut in .75 in. chunks
8-10 white mushrooms, cleaned

Assemble the kebabs, making skewers of each individual vegetable. I know it looks pretty when you mix them together on the skewers, but then you get overdone tomatoes and underdone onions. Just keep them separate for cooking. I put the skewer through the skin on veggies like zucchini so the flesh is exposed – that way the flesh gets cooked rather than just the skin. As you assemble them, put them on that baking sheet with the rim that you soaked the skewers in. Remove the tofu or soy product from the marinate and put them on skewers. Pour some of the marinade over the vegetables but don’t fill the sheet up with marinade – it will cause the kebabs to steam rather than broil. If you have time to let them sit an hour or two or more, douse them with all the marinade and then remove them to a separate sheet when ready to cook them.

To broil, place the kebabs 4 to 5 inches from the broiler and cook about 5 minutes, checking frequently. Turn and cook the other side for about 5 minutes. Remove the veggies as they get done.

The veggies can be served on the skewers at table with the reserved marinade as a sauce, or you can remove them all from their skewers, put them in a bowl and pour the reserved marinade over them.

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