When it comes to grilled kebabs, vegetables are often an afterthought, typically used as a filler on meat-heavy skewers. But this treatment often leads to mushy, burnt vegetables with no flavour of their own. We wanted to create a recipe that would put the vegetables front and centre.
We started by choosing the right vegetables. We wanted a good mix of flavours and textures, but we knew that not all veggies would hold up to the high heat of the grill.
We started with bell peppers, which sweetened beautifully over the flames, and zucchini, which held its shape nicely and had a satisfying texture. Portobello mushroom caps were the perfect addition to the kebabs; as they released their moisture over the flame, they picked up great char and developed a deep, meaty taste.
Tossing grilled vegetables with a bold dressing can amp up their flavour considerably, but for our vegetable kebabs, we took the idea one step further. We tossed the vegetables with half of the dressing before skewering and grilling them, giving them great flavour from the start.
We pumped up the complexity and nuance of the remaining dressing with juice from grilled lemons, and tossed it with the cooked vegetables for a punchy, bright finish. You will need eight 12-inch metal skewers for this recipe.
GRILLED VEGETABLE KEBABS
Start to finish: 40 minutes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper
6 portobello mushroom caps (4 to 5 inches in diameter), quartered
2 zucchinis, halved lengthwise and sliced 3/4 inch thick
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 lemons, quartered
Whisk oil, mustard, rosemary, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in large bowl. Transfer half of dressing to separate bowl and set aside for serving. Toss mushrooms, zucchini, and bell peppers with remaining dressing, then thread in alternating order onto eight 12-inch metal skewers.
For a charcoal grill: Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter half filled with charcoal briquettes (3 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
For a gas grill: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Turn all burners to medium.
Clean and oil cooking grate. Place kebabs and lemons on grill. Cook (covered if using gas), turning as needed, until vegetables are tender and well browned, 16 to 18 minutes. Transfer kebabs and lemons to serving platter. Juice 2 lemon quarters into reserved dressing and whisk to combine. Pour dressing over kebabs and serve with remaining lemons.