Barbequed Marinated Tofu and Vegetable Skewers

Traditional kebabs are made from cubed, marinated meat and vegetables, threaded onto skewers and cooked. They’re tasty when they’re grilled on the stovetop or on the barbeque. For vegetarians who want something they can throw on the ‘barbie made from fresh, whole food ingredients (no storebought veggie burgers here) — kebabs are the answer.

Look out for bottled or store-made sauces. Non-vegetarian ingredients hide in the usual marinades in the form of meat broths, Worcestershire sauce, and barbeque sauce. Try a vegetarian- and vegan-friendly marinade for extra-firm tofu and tasty veggies.

Extra-Firm Tofu

It is absolutely necessary to use firm or extra-firm tofu in a shish kebab recipe – medium and soft tofu don’t stand up to a rough barbeque.

Learn how to press the water out of the tofu so it can absorb more marinade:

Pressing Tofu

1. Old-fashioned “plate” method (what most cookbooks mean by “Press the tofu”)

  1. Drain water from tofu package
  2. Plate tofu on a large plate
  3. Place another plate on top of the tofu brick
  4. Place a heavy object on top of the top plate
  5. Allow tofu to press for about an hour

Method one will yield the best and most even results, but If an hour is simply too long to wait, try method two.

2. Quick-press method:

  1. Drain water from tofu package and give the brick a quick squeeze with your hands
  2. Wrap tofu in a clean tea towel
  3. Place tofu on a clean plate with a heavy object (phone book, can) on top
  4. Allow to drain and press for up to an hour

3. Late-coming-home-from-work method: fast food, tofu-style

This method uses more elbow grease and produces more breakage. It is best when the recipe does not require neat slices of tofu or extensive marinading, as more water will remain, leaving less room for marinade. Sometimes, dinner just needs to be on the table in 30 minutes.

  1. Drain water from tofu package
  2. Gently grab tofu in two hands
  3. Stand over sink
  4. Squeeze water out of tofu slowly; this will take several minutes
  5. Marinate or use in recipe as directed

Serving Suggestions

To round out the meal, try some barbequed potatoes, corn on the cob, and fresh garden salad. Or, serve on a bed of rice.

Vegetarian Shish Kebab Recipe

Makes 4 kebabs.

Tips:

  • At least four metal or bamboo skewers are required to make these shish kababs. If using bamboo, be sure to soak them in water for at least half an hour prior to grilling to prevent them catching on fire.
  • The sooner the tofu gets into the marinade, the better. Combine the marinade ingredients and refrigerate all day to give it a chance to absorb all the flavors.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (1 lb, 454 gram) cake extra-firm tofu, pressed
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • About 16 button mushrooms

Marinade Ingredients

  • 2 tsp. curry powder
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce

Directions:

For the Tofu

  1. Combine the marinade ingredients in a shallow pan or dish.
  2. Cut the tofu in half lengthwise, then into cubes about 1” x 1” x 1”.
  3. Place the tofu into the marinade and shake gently to coat the tofu cubes.
  4. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour.

For the Shish Kababs

  1. Cut all green pepper, red pepper, and red onion into chunks about the same size as the tofu cubes.
  2. When the tofu has been marinated, warm up the barbeque.
  3. Thread a slice of red and green pepper onto a skewer, followed by the tofu cube, red onion, and mushroom. Repeat layering until no vegetables or tofu remain. Or, use whatever combination of vegetables and tofu you prefer.
  4. Grill kababs over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until tofu is crispy on the outside but soft on the inside.
  5. Slide tofu and vegetables off the skewers carefully with a fork. Careful! The skewers will be hot.