You can never go wrong with the middle eastern cuisine; the combination of flavours they have in their dishes are mind blowing. I find that every country contributing to the middle eastern cuisine really put in thought and creativity into each meal they prepare. My background encourages me to use these recipes as means of making them just a tad bit healthier and even more nourishing for the body. That way you don’t compromise with the flavours and they taste just as good!
Admittedly, meat is, and probably always will be, the first grilling choice in the Middle East. But tender vegetable chunks marinated in middle eastern flavours go down well with even die-hard carnivores.
The vegetables you use here as well as the marinade are really important to how it will all turn out. I find that using bell pepper is quite overpowering and really masks the flavours of the other veggies so I tend to avoid using it in this recipe. Otherwise, vegetables like mushrooms, red onions, shallots, courgette/zucchini, and aubergine really bring out that rich aromatic eastern notes.
I used the grill to cook these but you can always barbecue them, that will leave you with even more of a spectacular flavour. When serving, make sure you have a few middle eastern favourites to round out your meal if you’re making this for a feast or party; so things like majadra (dish of rice and lentils) or saffron quinoa will compliment the kebabs really well.
1/2 large aubergine, small cubes
1 courgette/zucchini, sliced 1 cm thick
2 red onions, roughly chopped
4 chestnut mushrooms, halved
1 cup firm tofu, small cubes
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp orange zest
1 tbsp lemon zest
2 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp za’atar
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tbsp dried rosemary
1 tbsp sesame seeds
Himalayan salt, to taste
Combine all the vegetables in a bowl and pour the marinade over them. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
Have plenty of wooden skewers at hand. Soak them in cold water for half an hour before spearing them into the food – this will help prevent them from burning while the vegetables cook in the grill or on the barbecue.
Pierce and arrange the vegetables into the soaked skewers.
Grill 5-10 minutes on each side, till they are all tender and are looking golden brown. Serve on a bed of your favourite rice or quinoa dish with a drizzle of balsamic.