Green Eats: Legumes for Lag Ba’omer

Bonfires may call for broiling hot dogs and burgers, but try these vegetarian options as well.

Fruit and vegetable kebab (photo credit: Daniel Layla)
Fruit and vegetable kebab
(photo credit: Daniel Layla)
Meshek Barzilay is a vegetarian-organic restaurant located on a farm in Moshav Yarkona, near Hod Hasharon. The restaurant has a large seating hall and a porch, as well as huts spread out in the adjacent field. The menu is based on organic fruit and vegetables grown on the farm, with a special focus on fresh, seasonal produce. The menu is rich, varied and original.
Shelly Laron, the restaurant’s chef, offered us a few recipes that are suitable for this season.
If one or more ingredients are out of season. you can replace them with whatever is available in the market.
All these recipes can be cooked on a home grill or a small grill at the campfire. Precooking preparations should be done at home.
VEGETABLE KEBABS ON ROSEMARY STICKS Cook these throughout the summer or whenever you host a barbecue.
✔ 1 kohlrabi ✔ 1 green zucchini ✔ 1 yellow zucchini ✔ 1 red pepper ✔ 1 yellow pepper ✔ 15 cherry tomatoes ✔ 10 champignon mushrooms ✔ 10 large, thick rosemary sprigs ✔ 3 Tbsp. olive oil ✔ 1⁄2 tsp. black pepper ✔ 1 tsp. coarse salt
Remove leaves from the bottom part of the rosemary sprigs. Cut vegetables into cubes. Leave cherry tomatoes and mushrooms whole.
Place vegetables in a large bowl and season with oil, salt and pepper.
Skewer the vegetables on the rosemary sticks – one of each – and roast briefly. Make sure the vegetables do not burn.
SOY KEBABS ON CINNAMON STICKS This is a great vegetarian variation on the popular dish of lamb kebabs on cinnamon sticks.
✔ 1 cup soy flakes ✔ 1 cup boiling water ✔ 1⁄2 kg. pumpkin, grated ✔ 1 tsp. paprika ✔ 1 tsp. cumin ✔ 1 tsp. salt ✔ 1 tsp. sugar ✔ Pinch chili ✔ 4 garlic cloves, minced ✔ 2 Tbsp. olive oil ✔ 10 whole cinnamon sticks
Heat the oil in a pot. Add garlic and grated pumpkin.
Season and cook over low heat until pumpkin is tender, about 10 minutes. Add soy flakes and 1 cup water, mix and remove from heat.
Chill mixture and form kebabs on the cinnamon sticks. Grill for 5 minutes on each side.
ASIAN TOFU ON LEMONGRASS STICKS This dish has all the fresh seasoning of Thai food, such as chili and fresh coriander.
Sesame oil and lemongrass are both available in most supermarkets or in special Asian shops.
✔ Olive oil ✔ 1 large onion ✔ 3 garlic cloves, minced ✔ 1 tsp. ginger, minced ✔ Pinch chili ✔ 2 Tbsp. sesame oil ✔ 1 large beetroot, grated ✔ 1 package tofu, grated ✔ 1 egg✔ 1⁄3 cup bread crumbs (make your own from stale bread) ✔ 2 Tbsp. coriander, chopped ✔ 2 Tbsp, soy sauce ✔ Juice of 1 lemon ✔ Large lemongrass stalks
Heat oil in a pot, add onions and cook until golden.
Add minced garlic, ginger and beetroot and cook over low heat about 10 minutes.
Remove from heat, add tofu and season with the chili, soy, sesame oil and lemon juice. Transfer to a bowl, chill, add egg, bread crumbs and coriander, mix and form patties. Stick patties on the lemongrass stalks.
Grill about 7 minutes on each side.
PARISIENNE VEGETABLES Parisienne is a culinary method that refers to scooping spheres out of fruit or vegetables. In this recipe, the result is a colorful salad with Asian seasoning.
✔ 1 beetroot ✔ 1 kohlrabi ✔ Basket of cherry tomatoes ✔ 1 green zucchini ✔ 1 yellow or orange zucchini ✔ 2 Tbsp. olive oil ✔ 1⁄2 tsp. salt ✔ Black pepper Sweet-and-sour sauce: ✔ 3 Tbsp. soy sauce ✔ 4 Tbsp. vinegar ✔ 5 Tbsp. sugar ✔ 1⁄2 cup water ✔ 2 Tbsp. tomato paste ✔ 1 Tbsp. corn starch
With a Parisienne spoon, scoop as many balls out of the raw vegetables as you can. Do not peel vegetables – the skins add color and fiber. Place all the balls, including the whole tomatoes, in a bowl. Season with oil, salt and pepper and place on the grill in a metal basket or over a grill netting.
Grill for about 10 minutes.
Make sure vegetables stay crisp and colorful.
While the vegetables cook, prepare sauce: In a small pot heat all ingredients except the starch. Mix starch with a little water in a separate bowl and add slowly to the pot and mix until the sauce thickens.
Remove vegetables from the grill, coat with sauce and serve as a side dish.
PORTOBELLO STEAK IN HERB PESTO ✔ 10 large Portobello mushrooms ✔ 3 Tbsp. olive oil ✔ Kosher salt and black pepper For the pesto: ✔ Bunch basil ✔ 100 gr. pine nuts or other nuts ✔ 1⁄3 cup olive oil ✔ 1 clove garlic ✔ Juice of 1 lemon ✔ 1 tsp. salt ✔ 2 tsp. grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Coat mushrooms with oil, salt and pepper and grill 5 minutes on each side.
Remove from heat and place on a serving plate.
In a food processor, mix together basil, nuts, garlic, lemon, salt and cheese. Work in pulses while drizzling the oil until pesto is smooth.
Spread about 1 tsp. of pesto on each mushroom and serve.
TROPICAL FRUIT SKEWERS Use fruits that are in season.
✔ 1 fresh pineapple ✔ 1 papaya ✔ 1 basket of strawberries ✔ 5 kiwi fruits ✔ 1⁄2 melon ✔ 50 gr. butter ✔ 2 Tbsp. honey ✔ Wooden skewers, soaked for 1 hour
Melt butter and mix with honey. Cube fruit; leave strawberries whole. Skewer fruit and brush with honey sauce.
Grill about 3 minutes on each side.
NUTTY GRILLED BANANAS ✔ 4 bananas; do not peel ✔ 5 Tbsp. maple syrup ✔ 3 Tbsp. ground walnuts ✔ 1 tsp. cocoa powder
Mix syrup, nuts and cocoa until smooth. Cut a slit in the bananas, from stem down.
Fill with spread. Grill about 5 minutes and eat hot.
Recipes and photos courtesy of Meshek Barzilay restaurant., (09) 745-3935. Open Sunday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to midnight; Friday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Saturday closed. Kosher, no certificate.