chicken kebabs with oven-roasted vegetables, lemon dressing, and tzatziki sauce


We ate Chinese twice this weekend. To change things up, I made chicken kebabs that had been marinated in yogurt and paired them with oven-roasted vegetables. Since the vegetables cook at different times, I parboiled them. That is to say, I cooked them in boiling salted water so that they could roast in the oven at the same time. The caveat to this recipe is not to marinate the chicken more than 6 hours because the yogurt tenderizes the meat; any longer and the meat turns to mush. Marinated for 3 hours, the grilled chicken turned out moist and tender and so savory. To serve, all you do is sprinkle the lemon dressing on the meat and eat with tzatziki sauce on the side.

Chicken Kebabs
Prep time: 20 minutes
Marinating: 3 hours
Cook time: 10 minutes

1 boneless skinless chicken thigh cut into strips 2 inches wide
3 cups chicken tenders cut into thirds
1/2 cup plain low fat or fat free yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 small onion, quartered
1/2 cup sweet bell pepper cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
6 shiitake mushrooms, whole
6 small tomatoes, whole
6-8 metal skewers

Lemon Dressing
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Sugar, optional (only if the dressing is too tart)
1 teaspoon dried rosemary

Tzatziki Sauce
2 cups cucumber, sliced
1/2 cup plain low fat or non fat yogurt
1/4 cup green pepper
1/4 cup onion, quartered
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 heaping tablespoons each fresh herbs, e.g. mint, dill, cilantro
2 tablespoons white vinegar, plus more if it’s not tart enough
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Sugar, optional (only if the sauce is too tart)

  1. Make the lemon dressing and the tzatziki sauce. Whisk the lemon juice and olive oil together until they emulsify. Stir in the garlic and rosemary, and season to taste. Put all the ingredients for the tzatziki sauce in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is chunky and season to taste.  Refrigerate the dressing and the sauce until ready to eat.
  2. Marinate the chicken in the yogurt mixture and refrigerate. Take it out of the refrigerator and thread 2-3 pieces of meat on the skewer, leaving a little space in between. Top the end of the skewer with sweet pepper, onion, mushroom and tomato. Repeat process until the chicken is finished. It makes about 8-10 skewers. Discard the marinade.
  3. Grill in a 200˚C/450˚F oven for about 10 minutes or until the edges of the meat and vegetables become slightly charred.

Oven-Roasted Vegetables
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 22 minutes, 30 seconds
Roasting time: 20 minutes

1 daikon, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
2 carrots, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
1 large potato, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
2 cups broccoli florets
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Heat the oven 200˚C/450˚F. Cover a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

Boil a pot of lightly salted water. Cook the daikon 5 minutes, the carrots 7 minutes, and the potatoes 10 minutes. Dunk the broccoli in the water for just 30 seconds or until they turn bright green.

Shock the vegetables in an ice bath to stop the cooking and set the color.

Drain the vegetables and pat dry. Put them in a large bowl. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Put vegetables in a single layer on the tray. You may need 2 trays to do this. Roast vegetables in oven about 20-25 minutes or until they begin to brown.

chickpea cakes with tzatziki sauce

It was one of those nights where I had leftover sides but no main course. For a healthy dinner tonight I made this chickpea cake with tzatziki or cucumber sauce. I served it with the green apple-corn slaw left over from the grilled fish tacos, and some cannellini and green beans leftover from lunch. I love asparagus so I pan-roasted a bunch and served it with a dressing of tomatoes, garlic, and ripe olives. Simple and delicious!

Chickpea Cakes with Tzatziki Sauce (from America’s Test Kitchen)
Serves 6


2 slices high-quality sandwich bread, torn into pieces (I used 2/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs and skipped Step 1)
1 cucumber, peeled and halved lengthwise, seeded and shredded
1 1/4 cups nonfat Greek yogurt
6 scallions, sliced thin
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
Black pepper
2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garam masala (see Cook’s Note)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 shallot, minced (about 3 tablespoons)
Lime wedges for serving (optional)


  1. Prepare to make the chickpea cakes. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350˚F. Pulse the bread in a food processor to coarse crumbs, about 10 pulses. Do not wash the food processor bowl afterwards. Spread the crumbs on a rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and dry, 10-12 minutes. Let the crumbs cool to room temperature.
  2. Make the Tzatziki Sauce. Meanwhile, toss the cucumber with 1/2 teaspoon salt in a colander and let drain for 20 minutes. Combine the drained cucumber 3/4 cup of the yogurt, 2 tablespoons of the scallions, and 1 tablespoon of the cilantro in a bowl and season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  3. Make the chickpea patties. Pulse the chickpeas in the food processor to a coarse puree with large pieces remaining, about 8 pulses. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, 2 tablespoons of the oil, garam masala, cayenne, and 1/8 teaspoon salt together. Stir in the toasted bread crumbs, remaining 1/2 cup yogurt, remaining scallions, remaining 3 tablespoons cilantro, processed chickpeas, and shallot until just combined. Using a 1/3 cup measure, scoop the chickpea mixture and roll into balls. Flatten. Repeat.  This amount makes about 10-12 cakes.
  4. Cook the patties. Spray cooking spray in a 12 inch non-stick skillet and heat over medium heat until hot. Carefully lay half the cakes in the skillet and cook until well browned on both sides, 8-10 minutes, flipping them halfway through. Repeat.
  5. Serve. Transfer the cakes to a plate and tent loosely with foil. Serve with tzatziki sauce and lime wedges.

Cook’s Note: To make garam masala:  1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom, and 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Per serving (1 cake plus 1/4 cup sauce): Cal 240; Fat 12g; Sat fat 2.5g; Chol 75mg; Carb 23g; Protein 12g; Fiber  5g; Sodium 610mg