Tofu Vegetable Kabobs

Everyone loves a barbecue. Unfortunately, vegetarians and vegans often wind up being left out of the fun. When the centerpiece of the day is hamburgers or grilled chicken, they feel obligated to put on a brave front while they nibble celery snatched from the vegetable tray. But your meatless friends don’t have to be banished to the land of baby carrots and broccoli florets. And if you’re a vegetarian or vegan yourself, you don’t have to miss out on the fun of barbecuing! These easy tofu kebabs are a great excuse to get in front of the grill and soak up that summer sunshine.

Tofu is an ideal protein choice when you’re cooking for a vegetarian or vegan or if you’re simply looking for an alternative to meat every now and again. It accepts flavors readily, and when properly prepared, grills very nicely. For kebabs, you’re going to want extra firm tofu. This is so that it will stay on the skewer and not fall apart during cooking. Most tofu you buy in the grocery store is packed in water, to keep it from drying out.

For this recipe, we’re going to make tofu and vegetable kebabs in a white wine and olive oil marinade, for cooking on an outdoor grill.

For four kebabs or so, you’ll need the following:

  • Wooden or bamboo kebab skewers
  • One package of tofu, firm to extra-firm
  • Dry, white wine
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • The juice of one-half of a large lemon
  • Two or three cloves of garlic, crushed
  • One tsp. dried basil
  • One tsp. dried oregano
  • One tsp. dried rosemary
  • One tsp sugar
  • One sweet pepper, cut into large chunks
  • One yellow squash or zucchini, cut into large chunks
  • One red onion, cored and cut into large, flat pieces

You can use whatever vegetables you prefer in this recipe. Try large button mushrooms or artichoke hearts!

To prepare your tofu, remove it from the package and place it between two paper towels. Gently squeeze the tofu to remove some of the water. Then take the tofu and place it on a plate, between two more fresh paper towels. Place another plate on top, making sure that the bottom of the plate is large enough to cover the entire block of tofu. Then place a weight on top, like a soup can or a large glass of water. This gently presses the excess water out of the tofu. Wait about half an hour.

Once the tofu is pressed, cut it evenly into large cubes. Depending on the size you cut, you should get six or eight cubes out of the block.

Place the tofu and the vegetables into separate bowls and pour white wine over them until they’re covered. If you’re worried about using too much wine, you can ease up on it and use some white vinegar as well. Use as much as you need to in order to cover everything. Mix olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and herbs, and then divide this blend between both bowls. Add the sugar to the tofu marinade (this will help it caramelize on the grill). Stir gently to mix everything together.

Refrigerate for 4 to 24 hours. The longer you marinate your tofu cubes, the more flavor they will absorb. There isn’t really any such thing as over-marinating tofu, so don’t worry if you have to prepare it a day ahead of time.

Important: Soak your skewers in water for about half an hour prior to grilling. This will keep them from catching fire.

Impale the vegetables and tofu on your skewers at intervals. For example, onion-tofu-squash-pepper.

Oil your grill beforehand, so the tofu doesn’t stick, and set it to medium.

Place your kebabs on the grill, and turn them every 6-8 minutes. Occasionally drizzle some of the leftover marinade over the kebabs as you grill them. You’ll know your tofu is done when it develops a beautiful golden-brown crust. You want your vegetables to be seared from the grill, but still crunchy, flavorful and firm.

Since this recipe doesn’t have any meat in it, you don’t have to worry about under-cooking your vegetables. If your tofu’s done, your vegetables are too!

Plate, and enjoy!