Summer is officially here, which means our gardens are overflowing with fresh vegetables and herbs waiting to be eaten. If you find yourself up to your eyeballs in produce this season, grilled vegetable kebabs are a great way to use up your harvest. Simply slice up a combination of your favorite cleanse-approved vegetables and thread them onto bamboo or metal skewers. A cashew-based tzatziki sauce offers a cool contrast to the charred veggies, making for an irresistible combination.
CHOOSE YOUR VEGGIES CAREFULLY
When on the 21-Day Clean Program we avoid vegetables from the nightshade family. The main members include potatoes, eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes. While nightshade vegetables are completely healthy for most people, those who struggle with food sensitivities, allergies, autoimmune disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or leaky gut syndrome might exacerbate their health conditions by eating them.
For this recipe, we’ve chosen vegetables loaded with anti-inflammatory properties like zucchini, summer squash, and mushrooms (which is a fungus). These foods are also low on the glycemic index but high in essential nutrients including potassium, manganese, and vitamins C and A. Red onion adds a splash of color to our kebabs as well as a healthy serving of biotin, dietary fiber, phosphorus, folate, and B vitamins.
Traditional tzatziki sauce is made from salted, strained yogurt and seasoned with garlic, salt, lemon juice, and herbs. The only thing different about our version is that it’s dairy-free and cleanse-approved. Cashews stand in for the yogurt, which when soaked and blended become smooth and creamy. A heart-healthy nut, cashews are loaded with antioxidants that lower the risk for cardiovascular disease. Use leftover tzatziki sauce to dress up your favorite salad or as a dip for sliced veggies.
For the kebabs:
½ lb. baby bella mushrooms
1 summer squash
½ red onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Fresh chopped parsley, for serving
For the tzatziki sauce:
1 cup raw cashews
Juice of ½ lemon
1 small garlic clove
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ cup water (plus extra to thin, as necessary)
To make the tzatziki sauce, measure the raw cashews into a large bowl and cover with water. Soak for four to six hours, then drain.
Halve the lemon, mince the garlic clove, and measure the dill, parsley, salt, and black pepper.
Add the soaked cashews, lemon juice, garlic, and spices to the bowl of a food processor or high-speed blender.
Pour in the water. Blend mixture until well combined. If the mixture is too dry, add more water one tablespoon at a time until you achieve a smooth, creamy consistency. Cover and set in the fridge to chill.
Prep your veggies. Remove the woody stems from the mushrooms and slice the zucchini and summer squash into ½-inch rounds. Cut the onion into large chunks. Combine the veggies in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, salt, and black pepper.
Thread the veggies onto bamboo or metal skewers, leaving a few inches bare on each end.
Pre-heat grill. When hot, place the veggie kebabs directly on the grate. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, rotating the kebabs occasionally so the vegetables are cooked on all sides. Transfer the cooked veggie kebabs to a platter. Drizzle with tzatziki sauce and sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley. Enjoy warm.
Recipe and photos by Kate Kasbee
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