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Pure Fuel Recipes: Mediterranean Chicken and Vegetable Kebabs with Avocado Tzatziki

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If your dad is like mine, then a good chunk of his summer is spent manning the grill. This Father’s Day, give him a break and whip up these Mediterranean chicken and vegetable kebabs with avocado tzatziki.

Grilling gets somewhat of a bad reputation between its association with hamburgers and hot dogs and recent research showing health risks of grilled meats. But in the hot summer months, it can be tempting to move the heat out of the kitchen. Check out these tips for healthy grilling:

  1. Grilling meat at high temperatures leads to charring and the formation of carcinogenic compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs). To prevent this from occurring, marinate your meat first, which reduces the formation of HCAs by up to 90%.
  2. The grill isn’t just for meat! Many vegetables benefit from a bit of smoke. Summer vegetables like zucchini, red peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and corn are all fantastic.
  3. One of my favorite things to grill? Pizza! It’s the best way to replicate the authentic brick oven pizza taste.
  4. Getting bored with your salads? Grill your favorite salad toppings to add an extra layer of flavor. Try this Mexican inspired salad topped with grilled corn and peppers, this grilled Portobello topped Caesar salad or try grilling the lettuce itself!
  5. Many fruits benefit from a few minutes on the grill, either as a sweet salad topper or as dessert. Try grilled peaches over arugula with a bright balsamic vinaigrette or grilled pineapple served with a dollop of plain yogurt and a sprinkle of toasted coconut.

Feel free to swap tofu for a vegetarian version or use shrimp instead of chicken!

Chicken:

  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces

Tzatziki:

  • 1 cup plain yogurt, preferably organic
  • 1 avocado, pitted and peeled
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint (optional)
  • 1 medium cucumber, seeded and shredded on the large grates of a cheese grater
  • Sea salt

Other Ingredients:

  • 3 large summer squash or zucchini (or both), cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 red onion, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together orange juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin and red pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Add chicken and toss to combine. Refrigerate to marinade overnight or at least 30 minutes.
  2. When ready to cook, heat grill on medium heat. Place the chopped vegetables in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Tread chicken, squash and red onion on a skewer, alternating vegetables and chicken. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the kebabs to lightly coat the vegetables. Place on the grill and grill 10 minutes on one side. Carefully flip and grill another 5 minutes on the other side. Remove to a clean serving plate.
  3. While skewers are cooking, make the tzatziki. Add avocado, yogurt, lemon juice, garlic to a food processor. Season with salt and blend until pureed. Scrape out into a bowl and stir in cucumber and mint.
  4. Serve skewers with tzatziki sauce for dipping.

Rachael Hartley - Pure Fuel BlogRachael Hartley is a Columbia, SC based private practice dietitian and food & wellness blogger at Avocado A Day Nutrition. She helps men and women lose weight and improve their physical and mental health and wellbeing with a whole foods based approach to nutrition. She is available for nutrition coaching and meal planning throughout the US via telephone and Skype.

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