Just because it’s snowing outside, doesn’t mean you can’t grill like it’s a hot summer day! These vegetable skewers are easy to make. We used organic red and orange bell peppers, organic zucchini, red onion, and organic polenta. Lightly brushed with herb olive oil and grilled for about 5 minutes per side, and you’ve got a pretty good start to a nice meal. The skewers were served with chermoula, a North African fresh pesto-like sauce that goes on just about anything, but really kicks up flavors of fresh vegetables (and chicken!), basmati rice and tomato coriander jam. Sound weird? It was delicious!
For the Skewers
- 6-8 10″ long bamboo skewers, soaked for 30 minutes prior to assembly (or you can use stainless skewers)
- 2 – 3 zucchini, sliced in 1/3″ thick rounds
- 1 organic red bell pepper, cut into 1-1-1/2″ squares
- 1 organic orange (or yellow or green) bell pepper, cut into 1-1-1/2″ squares
- 1 red onion, cut into 1-1-1/2″ pieces
- 1 18 oz package Trader Joe’s Organic Prepared Polenta (or other brand), cut 1/3″ thick rounds and then cut those in half so you have moon shapes
- 1/4 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/4 C chopped fresh organic herbs (we used a combination of chives, mint, and cilantro. You can also use parsley, basil, tarragon – any favorite)
- 1 T organic lemon zest (and more for the chermoula)
- 1 T kosher salt
- 1 T cracked black pepper
In a blender, add your herbs of choice, olive oil, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Blend until well incorporated and smooth. In a colorful pattern, appealing to you, skewer your vegetables. I like to put the onions on either side of the polenta to give the polenta more flavor. Once everything is skewered, brush sides of vegetable and polenta with herb olive oil. Grill for about 3-4 minutes per side. You want a light char on your peppers and onions.
For the Chermoula
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 garlic cloves
- 3/4 C extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 C fresh organic lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp finely grated organic lemon zest
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 C organic mint leaves
- 1-1/2 C organic cilantro leaves with and stems (only tender parts of the stem)
- 1/2 C organic Italian parsley leaves with tender stems (you can also omit parsley and just add more cilantro or mint)
In a cast iron pan on medium low heat, gently toast coriander and cumin seeds until very fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Let cool. In a coffee grinder, pulse until you have a powder or use a mortar to get a fine powder. In a blender, add coriander and cumin, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and zest, salt and red pepper flakes. Purée until mixture is well combined and smooth. Add mint, cilantro and parsley and lightly blend – you want some texture and bite to this condiment. It’s not really a pesto or pistou – just in the realm of sauces.
For the Basmati
Cook 2 cups according to directions with 1-2 tsp dry turmeric or 1 T fresh grated turmeric. We used white basmati.
For the Tomato Coriander Jam
See our blog post for “Loud Tomato Jam” : https://pepperandsaltkitchen.com/2020/09/17/loud-tomato-jam/
Per person, place 1 or 2 skewers on each plate with about 3/4 cup basmati rice, 1-2 tablespoons tomato jam on the side and small “dipping bowls” of chermoula for each person.
Other vegetables that are easy to skewer and grill would be mushrooms, eggplant, yellow squash, cherry tomatoes. You could make this a meat dish with the addition of chicken, beef or fish too!
We had quite a bit of grilled vegetables and polenta left, so the next day we made wraps with all the ingredients. Added some fresh organic spinach, hot sauce and a good amount of chermoula and tomato jam to hold it all together and had another fabulous meal! It was fabulous!