Serve kebabs with a crisp exterior and juicy interior

Daniel J. van Ackere/America's Test Kitchen via APColorful peppers and zucchini slices skewered with portobello mushrooms and flavored with bold dressing will make for an impressive vegetarian dish at your cookout.

Vegetables on their own can be a great option for grilled kebabs, because they cook quickly and, when done right, offer a crisp, charred exterior and a juicy, tender interior.

Tossing grilled vegetables with a bold dressing can do wonders to brighten up an otherwise boring dinner, but for our take on vegetable kebabs, we took the idea one step further. We tossed the vegetables with half of our dressing base before skewering and grilling them, giving them great flavor from the start.

We also grilled lemon quarters to tone down their bright acidity and give the juice a deeper, more complex flavor when added to the dressing.

Bell peppers and zucchini are classic grilling vegetables for good reason: Bell peppers sweeten over the flame, while zucchini hold their shape and meaty texture.

Portobello mushroom caps were the perfect addition to the kebabs; as they released their moisture on the grill, they picked up great char flavor and developed a deep, meaty taste.

You will need eight 12-inch metal skewers for this recipe.


Start to finish: 40 minutes

Servings: 4

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

1 garlic clove, minced

Salt and pepper

6 portobello mushroom caps (5 inches in diameter), quartered

2 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced 3/4 inch thick

2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into 11/2-inch pieces

2 lemons, quartered

Whisk the oil, mustard, rosemary, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in a large bowl. Measure half of the mixture into a separate bowl, and set aside for serving.

Toss the mushrooms, zucchini and bell peppers with remaining oil mixture, then thread in alternating order onto eight 12-inch metal skewers.

For a charcoal grill: Open the bottom vent completely. Light a large chimney starter half filled with charcoal briquettes (3 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over grill. Set the cooking grate in place, cover and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.

For a gas grill: Turn all burners to high, cover and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Turn all burners to medium.

Clean and oil cooking grate. Place the kebabs and lemons on the grill. Cook (covered if using gas), turning as needed, until vegetables are tender and well-browned and lemons are juicy and slightly charred, 16-18 minutes.

Transfer the kebabs and lemons to a platter, removing skewers. Juice the 2 lemon quarters, and whisk into reserved oil mixture. Drizzle vegetables with dressing, and serve.

Nutrition information per serving: 152 calories; 73 calories from fat; 8 g fat (1 g saturated, 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 332 mg sodium; 17 g carbohydrate; 5 g fiber; 10 g sugar; 6 g protein.