Happy Fourth! I meant to get this online sooner, but between the launch of The History Kitchen and my husband’s birthday, it’s been kind of a crazy week. At any rate, if you’re looking for a vegetarian option for your 4th celebration, and you happen to be heading out the door to the grocery store, print this first! You’ll be glad you did.
I threw these skewers together for my husband’s birthday a few days ago, and my guests loved them. I had been planning on using my usual lemon-garlic-butter baste, but then I remembered I had some pesto left from another recipe I developed last week, so I changed it up a little. The result was awesome… it gave the veggies an herby, creamy flavor that my guests flipped over. You’ll have to forgive the pictures, they don’t do the dish justice. I was in the middle of cooking a birthday dinner, the sun was going down, and I didn’t have time to snap “beauty shots.” You’ll just have to trust me on this one. They’re awesome.
Feel free to change up the veggies if you’d like– mushrooms and onion chunks would also work well. You can make your pesto at home, or use the stuff from the jar if you’re in a hurry. Fresh always tastes best, but in this case a jarred pesto would work just fine. If you’re a vegetarian, make sure you use a vegetarian pesto (the jarred varieties usually include cheese with rennet, so it would be safest to make your own). You can make these pareve or dairy free (vegan) by making your own Dairy Free Pesto and using olive oil rather than butter. Both versions will taste great, but I must say that the dairy version with dairy pesto and melted butter is rather fabulous. Either way, your guests will love this, and it couldn’t be easier to throw together!
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- 2 lbs zucchini or yellow squash (or a combination), cut into 1 inch chunks
- 1 large yellow pepper (about 1/2 lb.), seeded and cut into 1 inch chunks
- 1 large red pepper (about 1/2 lb.), seeded and cut into 1 inch chunks
- 1 large orange pepper (about 1/2 lb), seeded and cut into 1 inch chunks
- 10-12 small tomatoes - large cherry tomatoes or high lycopene tomatoes work best
- 1/3 cup pesto (homemade or store bought)
- 2 tbsp olive oil or melted butter
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- Salt to taste
You will also need
- 10-12 skewers, a grill
- If you are using wooden skewers and you have the time and foresight, soak them in water for 1-2 hours prior to cooking; this will keep them from singeing.
- In a very large salad bowl, combine the pesto, olive oil or butter, lemon juice and lemon zest. Add salt to taste.
- Whisk till combined.
- Throw in the vegetable chunks and tomatoes (I really like the high lycopene tomatoes from Trader Joe's). Toss with large spoon till all the veggies are evenly coated with pesto.
- You can allow the veggies to marinate for a few hours before cooking, if desired, or you can cook them straightaway.
- Preheat your grill to medium. Skewer the vegetables, portioning about 6 pieces of of squash, 6 pieces of pepper, and one tomato in the center of each skewer.
- Grill the skewers for about 20-25 minutes, giving them a quarter turn every 5 minutes, till the largest pieces of zucchini are tender and the skewers are lightly charred.
- Serve warm.