As we make our way through our month of grilling, I thought it was time to do some vegetarian kebabs, to satisfy the vegetarian cravings in us. These grilled Caribbean style vegetarian kebabs are sure to excite your taste buds and make a grand impression on your guests. Not only are they eye-pleasing, they also bring out the true vibe of the islands with the wonderful spicy marinade we’ll use to marinate our favorite vegetables before grilling.
In this grilling/bbq journey we’ve been taking the past couple weeks you’ll see how creative, vibrant and exciting our Caribbean cuisine can be once we step out of the traditional mold. Since I was brought up in a home where traditional dishes took priority I have a deep appreciation for such dishes, but the creativity in me is always challenging me to be experimental… I do hope you find the journey as enthralling as I am.
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 tables spoon shado beni
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic
1 scotch bonnet pepper
1 sweet corn
1 large red onion
4 bell (sweet) peppers – different colors
Bamboo skewers – soak in water for at least 20 minutes prior to using.
Notes. The shado beni can be found in Asian, Latin and West Indian grocery stores and may be called culantro or bandanya. If you can’t get the shado beni, a good substitute is fresh chopped cilantro (about 2 tablespoons as it’s milder). With the scotch bonnet pepper remember to wear gloves and don’t include the seeds as that’s where most of the heat can be found. You can use any vegetable you like and if tofu is your thing.. hey add it. Important: Please go through the full list of ingredients to make sure they meet with your specific gluten free diet.
De-seed the scotch bonnet pepper and give it a fine chop.. chop the garlic, shado beni, thyme and parsley as well. In a bowl, pour in the olive oil, squeeze in the lemon juice and add the salt, black pepper. Whisk in the chopped garlic, thyme, shado beni and parsley. You can add some balsamic vinegar in here as well.. added flavor.
Now it’s time to prep the vegetables to be marinated. Peel your corn, remove the silk and give it a wash. Now using a chefs knife, cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Wash and remove the seeds etc from the bell peppers and cut into 1 inch pieces.. try to keep the vegetable pieces the same size so they cook evenly. Peel and dice the red onion and put everything into a large bowl. With the onion, try to keep it 2 layers thick so they’re as thick as the bell peppers.
Pour in the marinade we made earlier and give it a good mix. Place some plastic wrap over the bowl and allow to marinate for a couple hrs in the fridge.
It’s now time to thread your vegetables onto your bamboo skewers (remember to soak them in water for at least 20 mins prior or they will burn on the grill). Get your grill nice and hot (about 375-400F), brush the grates with some veg oil (on a paper towel) or spray with non-stick spay and place the vegetable skewers onto the grill. Cook for a couple minutes on each side, until they have beautiful grill marks and cooked enough so they have a slight crunch. Remember they will continue to cook for a bit after coming off the grill, so try not to over-cook or risk having soggy vegetables. The grilling will intensify the natural sugars in the vegetables and with that wicked Caribbean marinade we made.. yup.. pure niceness!
Tips: Please use the remaining marinade in the bowl to brush onto the vegetarian kebabs as they grill and if you’re worried about your bamboo skewers burning, you can wrap the exposed ends with tin foil.
These are best served warm when the vegetables still have a little crunch to them and the marinade is still vibrant from being heated with the flame of the grill. I like using the leftover grilled vegetable to add to my eggs for breakfast.. can you say omelet?