Keeping meals low-key is the subscribed vibe of summer, and few dishes do it better than kabobs. (Food-on-a-stick always equals fun, right?). Once assembled in advance, kabobs grill up in mere minutes, and delight even picky eaters with a colorful lineup of tasty morsels, meant to be enjoyed one at a time. Although kabobs don’t always have the healthiest reputation traditionally, there are two ways to make kabobs a more energizing meal (and not one that makes you feel heavy or sleepy after you finish a couple of skewers). First, using vegetables as the ingredient base for kabobs makes for a surprisingly mouthwatering experience, as nutrient-dense plants transform on the grill to offer new rich and savory flavors. Varieties like mushrooms, eggplant, squash, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, dark leafy greens like kale, and even fruits like strawberries and pineapple, are just a few examples of ingredients that work wondrously well. Second, let’s face it – a kabob is only as good as its marinade, and a vegetable kabob is certainly no different! Marinades also happen to be an exceptional place to tuck in your favorite superfoods, bolstering the nutrition of your meal, while enhancing the flavor at the same time. Never underestimate the power of a good – and good-for-you – marinade! Ready to take on a new kabob adventure, superfood-style? Try my recipe below.
Marinated Mushroom Superfood Kabobs
These juicy kabobs get their succulent flavor from a freshly-made marinade spiked with red wine, goji berries, garlic, and basil, and pack in additional antioxidants from kale, tomatoes, and mushrooms. If you’re making them for a group, you can pre-assemble the kabobs up to a day ahead of time, and just pop them on the grill when it’s mealtime. Makes about 20 kabobs, serves 6-8
½ cup dried goji berries
1/3 cup (packed) basil leaves
4 large cloves garlic, sliced
1/3 cup olive oil
½ cup red wine
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
2 large portobello mushrooms, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 pound fingerling or baby potatoes
20 lacinato kale leaves
20 cherry tomatoes
To a blender, add the goji berries, basil, garlic, olive oil, red wine, red wine vinegar, black pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt. Blend for just a moment to combine the ingredients into a pink mixture, while leaving plenty of texture from the goji berries, basil and garlic. Place the mushrooms in a large bowl, and pour the blended marinade on top. Mix well, cover, and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours, or overnight. Bring a large pot filled with salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until tender when pierced with a fork – about 10-20 minutes depending on the size of the potato. Drain, and let the potatoes cool to room temperature. Slice larger potatoes into 1-inch chunks. Remove the marinated mushrooms from the marinade with a slotted spoon into a separate bowl (reserving the marinade). Slice the kale lengthwise to separate the leaf from the stem, creating 2 long strips per leaf, and place in another bowl. Dip the kale strips into the marinade and return the dressed kale to its bowl. To assemble the kabobs: Thread a potato, mushroom, and tomato onto a skewer. Roll up a kale strip into a tight bundle, and thread it on the skewer. Thread the remaining length of the skewer with potato, mushroom, and kale. Repeat with remaining skewers, threading the ingredients in any order you wish. Warm up a barbecue or stove top grill. Brush the kabobs with marinade, and sear for several minutes on each side, basting with marinade with each turn on the grill. Transfer to a serving plate and season lightly with additional salt. Serve warm or at room temperature.