Sunday, March 24, 2013

Tofu and Cypriot Halloumi Souvlaki
with Lemon and Oregano Marinade
Meat Free Week – Day Seven


Oh what a week! Seven straight days of eating carbless, vegetarian Greek food, and blogging about it every day. This has been harder than I thought it would be! Tony struggled with the overload of tofu, and I really pined for my carbs!

It was a difficult challenge for us but we also gained a lot. We really enjoyed spending some time with each other in the kitchen and sitting down and eating the same meal together. It was something we both missed over the years of cooking and eating separately. We realised that we only need make a few simple compromises to bring back some mutually enjoyable activity at dinner time so we will definitely be doing this a lot more in future.

Going without carbohydrates for the week was quite physically and mentally draining for me. Tony has been doing this for a while so he got through that part of it okay, but for someone who loves her bread, pasta and sweets, this was a real shock to the system. Tony kept reassuring me that after this week my body will readjust and I'll even start burning off some fat and feeling pretty good.

Sorry Tony, not happening. I'm baking bread tomorrow and I think I have to make a big batch of lentil soup, or something. Nothing beats good old high-carb comfort food :)

Tony will also be glad to have a break from tofu, but he is serious about giving up meat or fish at least one day a week from now on which is a wonderful outcome of his experience with Meat Free Week. As a participant, he also raised some money for animal protection organisation Voiceless this week which he's pretty chuffed about (thanks heaps to those who sponsored him!).

So tonight was the final night of our Meat Free/Carb Free Week. The last carbless, vegetarian Greek meal we'll be having together for a while I'm sure. Not to say that it wasn't an enjoyable meal, but I could really do with some baklava right about now. (Oh tomorrow, you couldn't come quick enough.)

The word "souvlaki" is Greek for "skewer" and anything, not necessarily meat, can be impaled by this skewer and grilled or barbecued over a high heat, resulting in a char-grilled stick of delights.

Traditionally, lamb or pork is used to make the street food souvlakis that most people are familiar with, but tonight we used tofu, halloumi and some vegetables, marinated in classic Greek roasting ingredients to produce another winner of a meal for this final night of Meat Free Week.

Did you know that non-animal rennet is used in the process of making both feta and halloumi cheese?


Tofu and Cypriot Halloumi Souvlaki with Lemon and Oregano Marinade


Serves 2 (two souvlakis per person)

Ingredients

  • 200g tofu, cubed into 12 pieces
  • 1 Lebanese eggplant, sliced into 8 pieces
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into 8 pieces
  • 4 large button mushrooms (5cm diameter), halved
  • 100g Cypriot halloumi, cubed into 8 pieces
  • 1/2 green capsicum, cut into 8 squares
  • 1 clove of garlic, cut into 12 small spears
For the marinade
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Extra lemon juice for serving

Instructions

  1. You will need 4 long skewers – mine are about 30cm long. Smaller skewers will be fine, but you will probably need to use 6 instead of 4.
  2. Carefully pierce each tofu cube half way with the end of a skewer, being careful not to split the tofu or go all the way through. Turning the skewer as you pierce helps. Remove skewer and insert a garlic spear into the hole you made with the skewer. Repeat for each cube of tofu.
  3. Place all the ingredients for the marinade in a pouring jug and mix well with a fork.
  4. For each skewer, carefully slide 2 pieces of capsicum, 3 cubes of tofu*, 2 pieces each of the zucchini and eggplant, 2 mushroom* halves and 2 cubes of halloumi* in an alternating pattern onto the skewer, starting with one piece of green capsicum, and ending with the other piece of capsicum.
  5. Lay souvlakis in a large oven dish and spoon marinade over each skewer. Allow to soak the juices for at least 20 minutes, turning the skewers once or twice to coat all over.
  6. Place oven dish under your oven griller on the second shelf (this is how I did them), grill over the barbecue, or fry in a large frying pan until charred on both sides. Which ever method you use, a high heat is necessary.
  7. Arrange souvlakis on plates, squeeze fresh lemon juice over the skewers and serve with a crisp, green salad. These souvlakis are also delicious with dollops of tzatziki all over them!

* The tofu, mushroom and halloumi have a tendency to split when pierced so slide these on with care, twisting the skewer as you push, very slowly.



Thank you again to everyone who sponsored Tony (it's actually not too late to still make a donation! Just click here to go straight to Tony's profile page on the Meat Free Week website), and thanks for all your support and kind words in the comments. It was really wonderful to know that so many people were interested in what we were doing this week :)

Oh, and I'm linking this post back to Veggie Mama's Meatless Mondays. This week she talks about how to win over your meat-eating partner with some wonderful veggie delights.

30 comments:

  1. souvlaki are just like kebabs here in the united states. i grew up loving them, but admittedly haven't had them in ages. i love your version with items i would never think to add- eggplant and halloumi, which i've never heard of before! the marinade must make everything taste so flavorful and tender.

    great job this past week for the both of you! it's great that tony is going to try to incorporate more meat-free meals into his diet!

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    1. Thanks Caitlin! I'm so proud of Tony :)

      The marinade that I made is typically used in Greek cooking to marinate lamb for roasting, or skewering. Honey is usually added as well but no carbs meant no honey! It was still delicious without the honey though!

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  2. Congratulations on getting through the week! I dont think I could go without bread. Not even for a coulpe of days. Enjoy your bread today!

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    1. Yes I will enjoy my bread today, but I've decided not to bake it myself. I need it faster than that so I'm heading straight to the artisan baker right now to get some wholegrain sourdough (I could never bake bread as good as they can anyway!)

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  3. Oh you are so brave Lisa! I once went on a no-carb diet for 2 months and I went absolutely insane!! (Like literally loopy). Then I vowed never to have a day without some sort of carbs if I can help it (healthy ones, mind you). Love the combo of tofu and eggplant!

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    1. Thanks Christie.. I think I went a bit overboard this morning replenishing my carb supplies though - I ended up buying a big loaf of wholegrain sourdough and ate quite a big chunk of it straight out of the bag while walking home from the shop. I think my body is trying to tell me I can't go without my carbs!

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  4. These look fantastic! I'm always on the lookout for exciting tofu recipes! Thankss for sharing...

    Sophie xo

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    1. You're welcome Sophie! The lemon and oregano marinade goes really well with the tofu in this recipe. Hope you get to give it a try one day!

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  5. Oh yummmm i really will be making these. Lovely blog too xx

    www.mindfullygreen.com.au

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    1. Thank you Amber. They are really easy to make and taste great :)

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  6. Lisa! Carb free is so difficult, but I must say you've done an awesome job creating delicious 'meat free week' recipes!

    I love making veggie skewers like this only I serve mine with salad and brown rice which wouldn't go down well with the carbless theme ;) I also add pineapple and the sweetness just goes perfectly with the salty haloumi!

    Well done getting through the week :)

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    1. Oh you're right Nat, halloumi paired with tropical fruits is a force to be reckoned with! Salty, sweet, yum! And I'm back on the carbs this week so hello brown rice!

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  7. Hi Lisa,
    I am Italian-American and my blog is about promoting the Mediterranean Diet. I would love to have you do a guest post about the cuisine of Greece on one of my Healthy Eating Monday's. Let me know. In the meantime please share one of your wonderful recipes with us on my foodie friday party. You will fit right in.

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    1. Hi Diane and thanks for dropping by! I would be delighted to do a guest post on your blog! I will contact you directly to talk further, and will be sure to check out your foodie friday party. Sounds interesting! :)

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  8. I'm glad you both made it through the week--you definitely earned your bread and lentil soup! I just tore out a halloumi salad recipe from a magazine yesterday and I was wondering if I'd be able to find it at our small town grocery store. Now I have even more reason to search it out--these look delicious!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Oh I hope you can find halloumi Kiersten. It's such a unique cheese. Most people fry it up before eating but I love it straight out of the packet. It's got a fresh and chewy texture that I don't think I've found with any other cheese.

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    2. Lisa LOVE your site and your recipe,totally agree with what you said about Halloumi except I've never as yet fried it,my two dogs LOVE it too Mitchell.

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    3. Hi Mitchell! Oh you really must try frying halloumi - it takes on a whole new existence!! It goes all crunchy and golden on the outside and stays soft in the middle. And of course it is just YUM. Wow, I love that your dogs love it too :)

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  9. Love your blog Lisa! I will definitely be returning often. I am mostly making vegetarian meals these days and will find your blog a great resource. Your photography is beautiful.

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    1. Thank you Nicole! I'm glad you stopped by. It's great to see more and more people are enjoying vegetarian cooking. Hope to see you here again soon!

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  10. Congrats on making it through the whole week - that was no mean feat for either of you! I think it's great you'll be able to do a bit more cooking together now - can't wait to see what else you come up with to share with us all!

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    1. Thanks Liz! It wasn't an easy week but well worth it! Tony's a bit of an experimentalist in the kitchen so I'm sure he'll be keen to come up with some weird and wonderful dishes for us to cook together on his meat-free nights!

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  11. A great idea. Those souvlaki look amazing. I'd love to test that recipe with smoked tofu...

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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    1. Yes! Smoked tofu would work really well with the charred eggplant and zucchini - great idea Rosa!

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  12. I have loved reading about your week - you are both inspiring. I made your spinach pie for my birthday meal last week and it was great. You are my 'go-to' blog for Greek recipes but I will have to wait a little longer to try your summer recipes (looking forward to trying the briam).

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    1. Aww, thanks syrahsuzie! What a lovely comment :) It brings a big smile to my face to hear that people are reading and enjoying this humble little blog and trying the recipes. I'm so glad you enjoyed the spinach pie - what a lovely treat for your birthday!

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  13. I love all your recipes. So many new recipes to try. This looks delicious. Salad looks good too.

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    1. Thanks Ami! We might have these again this week!

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  14. Hello, I have just discovered your blog via the Guardian webpage and I am really excited! Been vegetarian for 25 years, love Greece, love Greek food and currently living in Tenerife so the fresh vegetables here are perfect for me to try out your recipes. In fact, how about a Spanish Vegetarian section? ;-)

    Joanne x

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    1. Hi Joanne! I'm so excited that you found my blog via the Guardian - I thought my recipe would go unnoticed buried in the list of all the other lovely courgette dishes!

      Wonderful to meet another vegetarian that loves Greek food. I hope you find lots of recipes here to try out. Funny you should mention Spanish Vegetarian, I am thinking of doing a Greek Paella soon!

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