Vegan Kebabs

Recipes

Spring is finally here! I love the change in the weather because it means that I get to spend more time outside. Not only that, Daylight Savings makes the days longer giving me even more time to enjoy the sun. One of my favorite things about the changing of the seasons is being able to cook outside. Last year my husband and I moved into a new house with a good sized backyard. One of our first new home purchases for spring was a new barbecue. We opted for a gas style to make it faster and easier to use the barbecue whenever we had a craving for cooking outdoors. You can make almost anything on the barbecue, and as a vegetarian it’s great that almost every vegetable tastes better coming from the grill. A simple way to incorporate several of your favorite vegetables at once is the kebab. There are so many different combinations to choose from. Throw on a little bit of vegan sausage and you’ve got yourself a filling and delicious meal that might be more fun to assemble than to eat (who am I kidding, both parts are the best!).

Grilling kebabs is a quick and easy way to have a healthy and delicious meal. You throw all of your ingredients on a skewer and let cook on the grill for only a few minutes. Luckily, my mom bought me a brand new metal skewer set for Christmas. It even came with a rack to place all the skewers on which made them so easy to turn and take off the grill once they were finished. You don’t need metal skewers to make kabobs, but if you buy the wooden skewers there’s a couple things to keep in mind. First, is you need to soak wooden skewers in water. Soak them in water for 10-30 minutes before assembling, otherwise you may end up with a bunch of firey skewers in your barbecue. Trust me, I’ve done this, it’s not as fun as it might sound. The water soaks into the skewers which keeps them from burning on the grill during cooking. Metal skewers are great because they can be used over and over again (hello, sustainability). Remember not to touch them with your bare hands when they are on the grill (yes, I’ve done this too). We use pot holders to turn them or you can use tongs or something else to pick them up to avoid burning your hands.

Kebabs can be made with any combination you like. For this particular recipe, I used the Tofurky Beer Brats, red onion, and a combination of colorful bell peppers. I also put baby bella mushrooms on mine which I thought were extra delicious. Simply cut each item into pieces and layer onto the skewer. The order of the ingredients really doesn’t matter, but it is fun to play with different patterns and hey, it makes for a good photo-op. Other ingredients that would be tasty are pineapple, cherry tomatoes, squash/zucchini, white onions, corn, tofu and shrimp (if you’re pescatarian like me). Kebabs are great as a vegan offering as well because they’re so simple and can use only vegetables if you or your guests prefer. I suppose you could also marinate these if you wanted to. I prefer to let the flavor of the vegetables stand on their own. But to marinate simply soak your cut ingredients in the sauce or marinade of your choice at least 30 minutes before grilling.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and I hope it inspires you to have a colorful dinner outdoors! It really is one of my favorite things about this time of year. What are you favorite items on kebabs? And do you have any other yummy recipes for cooking outside?

Vegan Kebabs

1 pack of Tofurky Beer Brats, sliced into about 1.5″ chunks

1/2 red onion, sliced into chunks

1 green bell pepper, sliced into chunks

1 red bell pepper, sliced into chunks

1 yellow bell pepper, sliced into chunks

1 orange bell pepper, sliced into chunks

Baby bella mushrooms, I used 10

Olive oil, for drizzling on skewers

Salt and Pepper

  1. Take your chunks of ingredients and layer onto skewers. You can do this in whatever order you like. I did all vegetables, then a piece of sausage or mushroom and then repeated until the skewer was full.
  2. Place finished skewers on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper on them as well.
  3. Heat up the grill.
  4. Place skewers on the grill and close the grill.
  5. Let them cook for 5-10 minutes or until the vegetables start to blister and brown.
  6. When they are cooked to desired texture, remove from the grill and place back on the baking sheet.
  7. To serve, use a fork to push all ingredients off the skewer.
  8. Serve with a baked potato and a side salad for a filling meal that’s sure to please!
  9. Enjoy!

Until next time!

MelissaRose

Grown Up Grilled Cheese

Recipes

I love to cook. I find it relaxing, methodic in a way and of course, I love to eat. About a year ago, I had fallen into a slump. I felt like I was cooking the same recipes again and again, and felt like I needed to mix things up a bit. I tried looking on Pinterest and saving anything that piqued my interest, but felt like even then I was pinning all the same things. In other words, I was very uninspired. So, I tried one of those meal service kits – Blue Apron (not sponsored). The first few weeks were great because as a new customer I was able to get a screaming deal to sign up. The meal boxes were new and fun. I’d come home after work to find a large box full of goodies on my doorstep just waiting to be cooked into something delicious. Having my meals planned and ingredients at the ready was a great way to become re-inspired and to cook things I may have never considered before. It also gave me the ability to think outside the box (no pun intended) when it comes to my ingredients and the endless combinations you can create. This grilled cheese recipe is from one of those first boxes.

Now of course, making this now on my own, I don’t follow the recipe card exactly. I purchase the most expensive cheeses I can find, and have even substituted some ingredients when these particular ones aren’t readily available. However, this recipe is fully inspired if not copied by that Blue Apron meal kit, so I thought it necessary to include that information.

This grilled cheese is like nothing you’ve ever eaten before. Well, maybe you have, I can’t say for sure, but I know it was a combination of ingredients I had never considered before. Sweet peppers and fig spread? Say wha? But let me tell you, this sandwich is SO incredibly satisfying. It pairs well with a good tomato bisque (which I will post about the next time I make it), or is great with a green salad. The richness of the cheese is perfectly balanced by the sweetness of the spread and the balsamic vinegar lends an interesting kick to the overall flavor. I recommend using the sweet peppers as stated in the recipe, but you could also substitute for bell peppers if you don’t have sweet peppers available to you. I can’t wait to try other cheeses and ingredients as well. I think my next grown up grilled cheese will have bri and apples on sourdough – YUM – but that’s for another day. For now, let’s get into this delightful take on a grown up grilled cheese.

Grown Up Grilled Cheese

(Ingredients listed are for two sandwiches)

4 pieces of sourdough bread (I like the big pieces that come in the rounds from San Luis Sourdough)

8 mini sweet peppers

Fontina cheese (you want about 4 slices per sandwich, my grocery store sells this by the pound, so I usually get a small wedge and eat whatever is leftover as a snack)

Gouda cheese (see note above about cheese, you also want about 4 slices of this per sandwich)

2 Tbsp fig spread

1/4 c. balsamic vinegar

Olive oil, for cooking the peppers and sandwiches (you could also use margarine or butter for this)

  1. Begin by slicing your peppers and cheese into thin pieces.
  2. In a small pan, heat about 1 Tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat. Once warm, add the peppers. Cook until slightly softened, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Once the peppers are finished cooking, add the balsamic vinegar and turn off the heat. Stir to coat the peppers and be careful as the liquid you just added may splatter. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  4. Pull the peppers out of the pan and put aside. Wipe the pan out with a damp paper towel (careful because it’s hot) and return to the stove.
  5. Assemble your sandwiches in this order – bread, spread, peppers cheese, salt and pepper, bread.
  6. Return to your pan and heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil over medium heat (you could also cook these the old fashioned way with some butter or margarine placed directly on the bread, I find that the olive oil lends a good flavor to the sandwich).
  7. Once the oil is heated, place your sandwich in the pan. Cook until the bread is a golden brown (or however you like your grilled cheese cooked) and flip to repeat on the other side.
  8. Once sandwich is cooked to your liking, remove the pan and serve immediately.
  9. Enjoy!