I’m always in search of a vegan main to serve at a barbecue — something that is actually smoky and grilled, not a separate meal that has been prepared at the boring old stove earlier on in the day. So I was drawn to the cover recipe in Rukmini Iyer’s The Green Barbecue coming out in a few weeks. Here, the Guardian food writer threads skewers with blanched gnocchi and vegetables and serves them with a basil-y pesto. How clever is that? And I know this is the opposite of the point, but how good would this whole thing be in a skillet too?
Gnocchi Skewers with Peppers and Lemon-Basil Sauce
Reprinted from The Green Barbecue with Permission
1-pound package gnocchi
3 mixed bell peppers, chopped into gnocchi-sized pieces* (don’t use green peppers)
2 tablespoons vegan basil pesto
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
A pinch of sea salt flakes
A good amount of freshly ground black pepper
8-12 skewers, soaked if wooden
For the dressing:
1/2 lemon, juice only
4 tablespoons vegan basil pesto
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
A pinch of sea salt
Place the gnocchi into a bowl of just boiled water and leave to blanch for 2 minutes, then drain and run under cold water to cool.
Put the gnocchi into a very large bowl with the chopped bell peppers, vegan basil pesto, olive oil, sea salt flakes, and freshly ground black pepper, and mix well to coat. At this point you could refrigerate the gnocchi until you’re ready to grill.
Thread the gnocchi and pepper alternately onto the skewers. Once your barbecue is good and hot, brush one side of the skewers with oil, then lay them over the barbecue at a slight angle (this stops them from falling through) and cook for 4-5 minutes, until the gnocchi are crisp and brown. Brush the tops with oil, then turn over and repeat with the other side.
Meanwhile, mix the lemon juice, pesto, and olive oil with a pinch of sea salt flakes to taste. Once the skewers are cooked through, serve immediately with the basil dressing
*Note: you could also thread skewers with cherry tomatoes and fennel. And you could use red pesto, harissa, or mustard mixed with olive oil as a marinade.
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