These Lemon Pesto Vegetable Skewers are so flavorful and aromatic. Sliced vegetables are marinated with pesto, lemon juice and olive oil for a healthy and delicious side dish. It’s an easy recipe that provides a flavorful vegetarian or vegan option for a backyard barbecue cookout.
I first made these Lemon Pesto Vegetable Skewers a few summers ago for a birthday cookout, using some leftover pesto from the refrigerator. The result was so good that it has become a regular dish on our backyard cookout rotation. The pesto gives the veggies an herby, aromatic flavor that my guests really love. Over time I have adjusted the recipe slightly, cutting back on the lemon zest so that the pesto flavor really shines.
In the past I have made these skewers with dairy pesto, as well as dairy-free; both options are tasty. In another post I have shared recipes for both kinds of pesto – vegan and dairy; you can use either type for these skewers. Or, you can purchase a pre-made pesto at the grocery store to make things even easier. If you’re a vegetarian, make sure you use a vegetarian pesto. The jarred varieties usually include cheese made with animal rennet, so it would be safest to make your own. Homemade pesto is a breeze to whip up, and nothing beats a fresh batch for flavor.
Feel free to change up the vegetables if you’d like. Mushrooms and onion chunks would also work well here. You can make these skewers parve or dairy free (vegan) by making your own Dairy Free Pesto and using olive oil rather than butter. Both versions taste great; my family prefers the dairy version because they are cheese fiends. Either way your guests will love this. It’s a perfect healthy, herby dish for the warm weather season. Enjoy!
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Food Photography and Styling by Kelly Jaggers
Lemon Pesto Vegetable Skewers
- 2 pounds 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 work best
- 1/3 cup pesto (homemade or store bought) - use or make dairy-free pesto to make this dish vegan/parve - use parmesan with a vegetarian rennet to make vegetarian
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or melted butter - use olive oil to make vegan/parve
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- Salt to taste
- If you are using wooden skewers and you have the time, soak them in water for 1-2 hours prior to cooking; this will keep them from singeing on the grillIn a very large salad bowl, combine the pesto, olive oil or butter, lemon juice and lemon zest. Whisk until combined. Add salt to taste.
- Throw in the vegetable chunks and tomatoes. Toss with a large spoon until all of the veggies are evenly coated with pesto. Cover bowl, place in the refrigerator, and allow the vegetables to marinate for 2 hours up to overnight.
- Preheat your grill to medium heat. Skewer the vegetables, portioning about 6 pieces of of squash, 6 pieces of pepper, and one tomato in the center of each skewer. You'll end up with about 10 skewers total (this may vary slightly based on the sizes of your chopped fresh vegetables).
- Grill the skewers for about 20-25 minutes, giving them a quarter turn every 5 minutes, until the largest pieces of zucchini are tender and the skewers are lightly charred.
- Serve warm.