For a long time I considered vegetable BBQ skewers to be very much an accompaniment to a more substantial main event, such as vegan burgers or sausages, but these skewers are more than worthy of center-stage. A gloriously red, spice-packed marinade slathered over tofu, peppers and onions and seared over a BBQ, to create a smoky and spicy Indian-inspired attention-grabber.
The recipe is straight-forward but for maximum flavour it requires a bit of time. I like to marinade the tofu the night before so it can sit in the fridge soaking up all that spicy goodness, but it will still be delicious if you only manage a couple of hours before. If so, you could always cut the tofu into slightly smaller cubes to increase absorption capacity, but too small and they are liable to crumble when you skewer them. An hour or so before the BBQ gets underway, I chop the onions and peppers into big chunks, mix them in with the tofu so everything is generously coated in sauce, and soak some bamboo skewers in water. Then it’s simply a case of making the skewers up, chucking them on the grill and turning them every now and then until they are charred to perfection.
Traditional tandoori marinades are yogurt based, and often contain an extensive list of spices. Vegan yogurt works really well – ideally a thicker one such as alpro greek-style or Coyo, as this will help the marinade cling to your tofu and vegetables. I’ve pared back the spices a little and included a few optional extras, so you still get the flavour without needing to drastically extend your spice rack. The only others additions are some lemon juice for a bit of sharpness, some oil and seasoning. I also like to add a tiny bit of sugar – traditional tandoori marinades would coat meat or paneer, both of which have a little sweetness, so I think it boosts the overall flavour when using tofu.
These would be delicious with mango chutney or a cooling mint raita (see my sweetcorn fritters post for a quick and easy recipe). You could throw some chapati’s or naan’s on the BBQ to char a little, or make some grilled flatbreads (recipe coming soon!) – add some chutney, raita, fresh tomato and coriander, and you would have a really exceptional wrap. If you’re grain-free then try out my grain-free wrap recipe – after cooking on the hob you could give them a couple of seconds on each side on the BBQ for a bit of extra char-grilled deliciousness. And eating straight from the skewer is always an option if you just can’t wait that long.
Please let me know if you give these a go! I would love to hear how you get on – you can comment below or tag me on Instagram @greedybearbakes.
Tandoori Tofu BBQ Skewers
BBQ skewers with tofu, peppers and onion, slathered in a vibrant and spicy tandoori marinade, and charred to perfection
Vegan, Gluten-free, Grain-free
For the marinade:
- 125g thick vegan yogurt (e.g. Alpro greek-style, Coyo or Coconut Collective]
- 1 large garlic clove, grated
- 1 cm ginger, grated
- 1 tbsp light oil (sunflower / vegetable / olive / coconut)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- ¼ tsp ground turmeric
- ½ tsp ground fenugreek (optional)
- ¼ tsp paprika (optional – for colour)
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp sugar
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
For the skewers:
- 400–450g Firm tofu (I use Tofoo brand)
- 2 medium red onions
- 2 red peppers
- 5–6 BBQ skewers
- I like to start the night before to give the tofu plenty of time to absorb the flavours of the marinade, but anything over 2 hours before cooking will be fine. Mix together all of the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl, and whisk until you have a smooth, thick mixture.
- Prepare the tofu. Some brands, such as cauldron, need pressing before use to squeeze out some of the liquid, in which case place the block of tofu in a shallow dish wrapped in some kitchen paper or a clean cloth, and place something heavy on top e.g. another dish and a few tins, or some recipe books, and leave for at least 30 minutes. I use Tofoo which doesn’t require pressing, so you can get straight to chopping it into large chunks, about 2cm high and 3–4cm across. If you have less time to marinade you can make the chunks a little smaller, but they can crumble when skewered.
- Mix the tofu and marinade together until the tofu is completely coated, then cover with cling film and refrigerate overnight, or for as long as you can.
- At least 30 minutes to an hour before you start cooking, peel and chop the 2 red onions into quarters and chop the red pepper into 3–4 cm chunks. Mix with the tofu until everything is evenly coated with marinade and set aside. If using bamboo skewers, submerge them in water for at least 30 minutes so they don’t burn on the grill.
- Skewer the vegetables and tofu ready for BBQ-ing (you can do this well ahead of time and cover the skewers in cling film and refrigerate if you prefer). Once the BBQ is at temperature, pop the skewers on the grill and turn them regularly until starting to caramelize and blacken in places. For me, this took 7–8 minutes but this will depend on how hot your grill is.
- You can also cook these skewers on a griddle or under your oven grill. Heat to a high temperature before adding the skewers and turn frequently until they are as charred as you wish.