Cooking for a Variety of Dietary Needs? Let Your Guests Assemble Their Own Shish Kabobs
I hosted a rather large gathering recently to celebrate Mother’s Day, and my guests followed a variety of diets—vegetarian, Vegan, and pescatarian. You know the drill. Vegans don’t eat meat, fish, poultry, eggs, or dairy products. Vegetarians will eat dairy and egg products, and pescatarians include fish and seafood in their diets. To complicate matters, my husband is a meat-and-potatoes guy and was craving steak.
I must admit I was at my wits end on what to serve. How do you plan a meal that everyone will enjoy with so many different needs and requirements? I finally decided on shish kabobs. My skewer fixings included teriyaki beef for my husband, teriyaki salmon for the pescatarian, halloumi for the vegetarian, and grilled teriyaki tofu for the Vegan. I laid it out buffet style along with an assortment of fresh veggies and pineapple chunks. I set out skewers, and everyone threaded their own skewer with exactly what they wanted. Having them make their own skewers also accommodated the picky eaters. Hate onions? Don’t put them on. We cooked the tofu separately, allowing the Vegans to thread their skewers with whatever vegetables they preferred.
My granddaughter said, “This is fun!” Much to my surprise, my 12-year-old grandson, who loves steak as much as his grandfather, chowed down on tofu. This ended up being the perfect way to satisfy a variety of eating styles. And, for those of us that will eat just about anything, we had a little of this and a little of that. My favorite was the halloumi. It was delicious!
Shish Kabob Fixings Serves 6
For the teriyaki marinade: This marinade recipe is enough to marinate 2 pounds of steak or 2 pounds of salmon. If you plan to make both steak and salmon kabobs, double the recipe. ½ cup bourbon ½ cup soy sauce 2 tablespoons honey 2 tablespoons rice vinegar 2 tablespoons sesame oil 2 tablespoons brown sugar 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger (I use the jarred variety found in your Produce Department).
2 pounds ball-tip or sirloin steak, cut into 1 ½-inch chunks or 2 pounds skinless salmon fillet, cut into 1-inch chunks In a saucepan, combine bourbon, soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar, and minced ginger. Place the saucepan over a medium heat and cook marinade until sugar dissolves. Cool marinade before marinating beef and salmon. For both beef and salmon, marinate 2 to 4 hours. For the vegetables and pineapple: You can use any assortment of vegetables you chose, including mushrooms, yellow squash, and even corn on the cob.
2 green bell peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into 1-inch squares 2 red or yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into 1-inch squares 1 to 2 red onions, cut into 1-inch pieces 2 zucchini, cut into ¼- to ½-inch slices 1 pint cherry tomatoes 1 pineapple, cored, peeled, and cut into 1 ½-inch chunks For the halloumi: ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil 2 teaspoons minced garlic Zest of one lemon Juice of one lemon ½ teaspoon dried oregano leaves 1 pound halloumi cheese, cut into 1-inch pieces In a medium bowl, place olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, and oregano. Stir to combine. Place halloumi in marinade and marinate 2 hours.
To cook the shish kabobs: Place kabobs on a grill grate and place the grate on the grill over medium heat. Cover the grill. For the salmon, halloumi, and vegetables, grill about 10 minutes, turning 3 times. For beef, grill about 15 minutes, turning 3 times.
Grilled Teriyaki Tofu Serves 6
I used the same marinade for the tofu as I did the beef and salmon. Since we cooked the tofu separately, I have included the marinade recipe again.
½ cup bourbon ½ cup soy sauce 2 tablespoons honey 2 tablespoons rice vinegar 2 tablespoons sesame oil 2 tablespoons brown sugar 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger (I use the jarred variety found in your Produce Department.)
1 package (14-ounces) extra firm tofu
In a saucepan, combine bourbon, soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar, and minced ginger. Place the saucepan over a medium heat and cook marinade until sugar dissolves. Cool marinade before marinating tofu. Wrap tofu in a clean dish towel. Weigh it down with something heavy (we used a large jar of V-8 juice) and let it drain for 30 minutes.
Cut tofu crosswise into 6 slices and place it in a baking dish. Pour marinade over tofu, turning to coat, and cover it with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes, or up to 48 hours. Turn tofu occasionally.
Preheat the grill to medium high. Remove tofu from the marinade, allowing excess marinade to drip off. Reserve marinade. Place tofu on a grill grate, place the grate on the grill, cover the grill, and cook, turning once, until tofu has brown grill marks but before grill marks become black, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Transfer tofu to a platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm or place in your oven at its lowest temperature. Place reserved marinade in a saucepan and bring to a boil until it reduces by half. Pour marinade over tofu and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
Tips on prepping ingredients: Cut the beef, salmon, halloumi, and vegetables into the same size. This will allow for more even cooking.
Carol Ann Kates is the award-winning author of cookbook, Secret Recipes from the Corner Market and Insider Grocery Shopping Secrets. She’s an expert in how to shop, select, and store produce for maximizing home cooking outcomes and minimizing time and money spent. As a former supermarket and deli operator, Carol Ann shares grocery-insider wisdom—the same expertise you used to receive when patronizing a mom-and-pop establishment. Contact her at CarolAnn@CarolAnnKates.com and explore her website, www.CarolAnnKates.com.
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