Summer is finally here! With it comes barbecues, pool parties, camping and lots of other fun outdoorsy stuff. People always quiz me about what I eat at barbecues. I think I actually get this more often then “Where do vegans get their protein?” Especially in the summer. So in response to this question and to help anyone who is struggling with what to bring to a barbecue, I’ve decided to do a couple of barbecue themed posts, now that we’re heading into summer. I’m actually not a huge fan of making plant-based patties on the barbecue, I find they tend to fall apart on the grill. Portobello mushroom cap burgers can be a tasty option; served with avocado and fresh salsa they taste amazing. Except that they lack in protein, so you probably shouldn’t live off them all summer long. So, enter these Barbecued Tofu and Pineapple Shish Kebabs. These were inspired by my recent trip to Mexico; a Brazilian Barbecue we went to featured one amazing vegetarian dish: barbecued pineapple. It was definitely more of a dessert; basting in brown sugar, cinnamon and, I suspect, nutmeg, made it almost reminiscent of a naked apple pie. I wanted to recreate this flavour, but on a less desserty and smaller scale, these skewers are the tasty result!
Unfortunately, living in a condo, I do not have a barbecue. I did however make a similar Shish kebab dish using the same type of tofu on a friend’s barbecue last week and they held together quite well. So I am confident that these guys will stand up to the grill. For those of you who also lack a grill, these can be made in the oven, which is what I did this time around. Plus it’s always helpful to have alternative cooking methods if the grill is too full or you’re particular about not having meat juice potentially touch your food. The more options the better!
Oh and the barbecue sauce. This is probably the best barbecue sauce I’ve made yet, probably due to the inclusion of one secret ingredient: cocoa powder. The cocoa gives the sauce a nice depth of flavour and beautiful dark brown colour. Apple cider vinegar provides that tangy barbecue flavour which contrasts nicely with the sweetness of the maple syrup and the smokiness of Paprika. Obviously, being the hot sauce addict that I am, I added a bit of chili garlic sauce for spiciness. You can omit the hot sauces if you’re really sensitive to heat.
I’ll warn you that this dish is on the sweeter side. If you want to tone it down a little, omit the brown sugar in the barbecue sauce and use pineapple more sparingly on your skewers.
To round out my meal, I also made asparagus and Corn on the Cobb, both of which I cooked at the same time as the Shish Kebabs. Corn on the Cobb is amazing on the grill, I’ve included instructions for that as well. You can top it with whatever you like, but I would recommend Piri Piri and lime (a favourite from Africa) or plain old freshly ground black pepper.
The combination of barbecued pineapple, tofu and stick barbecue sauce is to die for! Serve with a side of asparagus and corn on the cob.
- 2/3 c ketchup
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar, or omit
- 1 Tbsp cocoa
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 c water
- 1 tsp garlic
- 1.5 tsp garlic chili sauce or sriracha
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp salt
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 pineapple, cubed
- 1 red pepper, cut into 2.5 cm squares
- 1 zucchini, cut into 0.5 cm rounds
- 1 block of super firm or extra firm tofu, I used Soyganic I used Soyganic
- 6-8 skewers, soak if wooden to prevent burning
- 1 bunch of asparagus
- 4 ears of corn
- Preheat the oven to 400F or, if using a barbecue, turn on to medium heat.
- Soak the skewers in water, if wooden.
- Place a saucepan over medium heat. Add the ketchup, maple syrup, water, brown sugar and spices and stir. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer while you prepare the vegetables, stirring occasionally.
- Skin and slice the pineapple into bite sized chunks.
- Slice the zucchini, red pepper and tofu into bite sized chunks as well.
- Remove the skewers from the water and assemble the Skish Kebabs.
- Remove the barbecue sauce from the heat and sample, adjusting spices accordingly.
- Using a basting brush, lightly coat the kabobs in barbecue sauce.
- Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spread the kebabs evenly over the sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, rotating the kebabs halfway through. If making asparagus, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place on the cookie sheet alongside the kebabs. If you like your asparagus al dente, add at halfway point. If making corn, place in a microwave safe dish with a centimeter or so of water in the bottom. Microwave for 5 -7 minutes, until can easily be punctured with a fork and looks a darker shade of yellow.
- If using the barbecue, oil the grill and place the kebabs directly on the grill. Cook for 10-15 minutes, rotating every 5 minutes. If making asparagus, wrap asparagus in tinfoil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and lemon before placing on the grill. You can oil the tinfoil to reduce sticking. Alternatively, you can use a vegetable grill attachment for the asparagus, if available. Cook for 8 minutes. If making corn: leave the husk on and grill 15 minutes, rotating every 5 minutes with the kebabs. De-husk and serve, garnishing with piri piri and lime or freshly ground black pepper.
- Serve 2-3 kebabs with a cob of corn and asparagus. Enjoy!
Hope you all enjoyed a beautiful weekend. As always, I love to hear from you, so please feel free to leave me a note in the comments about how your kebabs turned out. What else do you like to make on the grill? Sweet potatoes or mini-potatoes with pepper and chives are another favourite of mine. Stay tuned for some more grill inspired recipes, I’m currently dreaming of some picnic-style grilling. You know those grills they normally have in parks and public places? So stay tuned….