Souvlaki, Tzatziki Sauce and Greek Style Salad

28 07 2008

I was at a Farmer’s Market Saturday and picked up some beautiful red peppers, garlic, cucumbers and early field tomatoes.  While trying to decide what to make for dinner last night, I realized that I had the beginings of a Greek-style dinner.  I have some fresh oregano growing in my herb garden so I only needed a few additional ingredients to put together a light, refreshing dinner that can be made on the grill, which is ideal for keeping the kitchen cool on a hot summer day.   I usually make my souvlaki with chicken breasts but you could easily substitute pork, shrimp or even firm tofu.  There are a number of steps but everything can be done in advance.

Souvlaki

Serves 4

(Can be adapted to be VEGETARIAN)

Marinade:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice from 1 lemon (seeds removed), approximately 1/3 cup juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 clove garlic, finely minced
  • Generous amount of freshly ground black pepper

For skewers:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or subsitute shrimp, pork or firm tofu), cut into 2″ cubes
  • Skewers – metal or bamboo  (if using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for approximately 20 minutes prior to using so they don’t burn on the grill)
  • 1 small green pepper, seeded and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1 small red pepper, seed and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1 small red onion, skin removed, cut into 1″ cubes
  1. In a large bowl combine all ingredients.  Toss meat (or tofu) so it is coated in marinade.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  2. To assemble skewers, alternate putting the following ingredients onto the skewers: one piece of green pepper, one piece of red pepper, one piece of onion, one piece of chicken.   Like this:
  3. Helpful Tip: I try to buy flat bamboo skewers so the meat and vegetables don’t spin around the skewer when I turn them over on the grill.  If you can’t find flat ones, you can use two skewers so your souvlaki will stay in place.
  4. Repeat until all chicken is used up (there may be additional vegetables left over, you can do a couple of veggie skewers to use up the pieces.  Brush with marinade before grilling).
  5. Light your grill (alternately, skewers can be cooked under your oven’s broiler or on an indoor grill).  Once the grill is hot, cook skewers until browned on one side and turn over, approximately 7 minutes per side, depending on how hot your grill is.   Continue cooking until meat is cooked through.
  6. Remove from grill.  Serve with tzatziki sauce, salad (recipes follow) and grilled pita bread.

Tzatziki Sauce

Makes approximately 1 cup of sauce

(VEGETARIAN)

Note: the yogurt needs to drain for at least 5 to 6 hours before mixing with the garlic, cucumber and dill.

  • 1 cup plain yogurt (not low-fat)
  • Cheesecloth
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced  (for garlic lovers – reduce to one clove for a milder sauce!)
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2″ dice
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  1. Line a strainer with cheesecloth (double thickness).  Spoon the yogurt into the cloth.  Cover with plastic wrap, place strainer over a bowl and refrigerate for 5 to 6 hours or overnight.   Liquid will drain from the yogurt, making it thick and cheese-like.
  2. When ready to use, discard the water that has collected in the bowl.  In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the thick yogurt, cucumber, dill, garlic and salt.
  3. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. 

 

Greek Style Salad

(VEGETARIAN)

Dressing:

  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Combine all ingredients and whisk until blended

Salad:

  • 2 cups (packed) mixed salad greens
  • 1/2 cucumber, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 red onion, peeled and cut into thin rings
  • 1/2 red pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 green pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 12 grape or cocktail tomatoes, cut in half
  • 3/4 cup (4-1/2 oz. or 125 g) crumbled feta cheese
  • Handful of black olives (optional)
  1. In a large salad bowl, add all ingredients and toss to mix.  Add dressing to coat salad greens and toss.  Serve with souvlaki kebabs.

Bon Appetit and Enjoy!

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