Monday, July 19, 2010

Vegetable Kebabs Agrodolce (with Rice) and Simple Bean Salad

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!


Jessica @ Lima's Vegan Kitchen said...

This looks great! I've been itching for veggie kebabs but I dont have a grill!

Debbie said...

Gosh, that looks delicious! It's 8:30 in the morning and my mouth is watering for kebabs and bean salad! Can't wait to try both.

Catherine B. said...

Looks awesome! I was wondering how the avocados would hold up on the grill!

Bliss Doubt said...

I made a very similar bean salad for my drum circle potluck last week, cannellini beans, wonderful summer tomatoes, tiny nicoise olives, basil, rosemary, olive oil, lemon juice, crushed garlic, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and after stirring it all together, I mixed in a cooked, chopped link of Italian style Field Roast brand vegetarian sausage. It was soooo good. Everybody wanted the recipe. People asked if you could substitute navy beans or other white beans, and I said no, because only cannellini beans are that sweet and creamy, without the beany stinkiness you smell on the other kinds.

Lisa is Raw on $10 a Day (or less!) said...

Nice! Going to try making the bean salad right now!

Bliss Doubt said...

Well didn't I put my foot in it? You used navy beans in yours and I'm sure it didn't stink. Sometimes when you rinse off the canning goo the bean stink goes down the drain with it, but I like cannellini beans best.

Your kebabs and rice look delish too.

Love your site. It inspires me.

Karen said...

yummy!! that all sounds incredibly delicious! been reading your blog for a while now ... maybe you'd take a peek at mine sometime. enjoy the rest of your week! :-)

healy said...

veggies-health-good. Salivating over it.

miss v said...

i'm going to have to pick up a copy - that looks delicious!
oh, and we had an eyebrown incident once, so now we use metal skewers. :)

The Voracious Vegan said...

YUM! This looks like the perfect summer meal, so fresh and colorful. Just beautiful. And avocados are my favorite things ever but I've never tried grilling them. What a genius idea!

Mary said...

Jessica - I very much missed our grill when we lived in our could always try a foreman grill!

Debbie - Hope you like them!

Catherine - they hold up surprisingly well! There is really only a one day window with grilling avos, though..they have to be ripe enough that they are soft and taste good but not too ripe that they are too mushy to put on the skewer!

Bliss - I am usually not big on canned beans in general because the smell can be too much, although I do find buying organic canned beans helps with that!

Lisa - hope you liked it!

Karen - sure, I'll stop by your blog!

Healy - Thanks! :)

Miss V - the issue is really good, I've earmarked several other recipes to try before the summer is up!

Voracious - I know, I can't believe I never thought about grilling avos before, in all the thousands of ways I've prepared them before. It gives them such a nice smoky flavour!

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