I'd never made kebabs before (vegan or otherwise), so I was really excited when this month's Vegetarian Times cover recipe was for Vegetable Kebabs Agrodolce.
A quick wikipedia consult established that agrodolce is a traditional Italian sweet and sour sauce. Sounded good to me, so I cautiously moved into unknown skewer territory the other night.
The items that made there way onto the skewers were the following: radicchio, eggplant, summer squash, zucchini and avocado. The agrodolce is made with pine nuts, garlic, herbs and raisins among a few other key ingredients.
The veggies are threaded onto bamboo skewers (by the way, always, always soak your bamboo skewers in water for several hours before putting them anywhere near your barbeque - unless, of course, you don't like your eyebrows). Once threaded, they are topped off with a bit of the agrodolce and tossed onto the grill over a high flame for a few minutes, just enough to get some good char marks on the veggies, and then they are topped with any remaining agrodolce.
Now, the recipe called for steaming the squash/zucchini and eggplant for a couple minutes before threading them onto the skewers and grilling them. I obviously steamed them for too long, because a third of them turned into completely unusable mush. Next time I make these I will steam them for two minutes at the absolute most and then spread them out on a separate plate so that the cooking ceases and they are given ample space to cool down.
These skewers are quite possibly my new favourite summertime menu item. I can't believe how amazing grilled avocado is - why have I never tried this before?! The radicchio also provides an intense smoky flavour that reminds me why I love summer, because it's certainly not because of the heat - it's because of the food.
I made some standard issue rice to go along with the kebabs - brown rice cooked in some vegetable broth and hot sauce. When finished cooking, I tossed in some fresh herbs from my garden (parsley, oregano and chives) and the excess agrodolce that wouldn't stay on the kebabs.
Canned beans were also on sale this past week, so I decided to put some to good use and made a simple bean salad:
Simple Bean Salad
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 cup cucumber, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 cans beans (pick what you like or what you've got on hand - I used 1 can red kidney beans and 1 can navy beans)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Sprinkle of chopped fresh chives
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
Hot sauce, to taste
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
1) Toss all of the ingredients together, mix thoroughly and refrigerate for a couple hours to let the flavours mellow. The longer you let it chill, the better it tastes, so feel free to make it the night before you want to eat it.
This bean salad packs up perfectly for picnics or days at the beach and is such a refreshing way to combat the midsummer heat. And check your local news stand for the summertime edition of Vegetarian Times, you won't be disappointed with this veggie kebab recipe!