Having been a fan of Mediterranean cuisine since I was a child, I’ve always experimented with different Mediterranean flavours and dishes. I particularly love the warm skewered meats, the lightly oiled and charred vegetables and the refreshing, creamy taste of tzatziki dip that adds a burst of richness to the dish. To celebrate the warmth of recent weeks in Canada, I’ve gotten a head start on grilled and barbecued proteins in the comfort of my own kitchen.
Souvlaki dishes are a great kickoff to the summer and don’t require as much preparation and cook time as you might think.
The sauce is simple to make and helps improve appetite. If you’re into last-minute recipes, you’ll love this adapted recipe that I tried over the last week. Even after three days of eating leftovers, I’m not sick of the same meal yet!
Preparation time: 20 minutes (12 hours if marinating steak overnight)
Cook time: 15 minutes
Cast iron grill (for optimal results)
¼ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
¼ black pepper
1 tsp lemon juice (or one medium sized lemon squeezed)
2 lbs Pre-cut sirloin steak or grilling steak (can replace with chicken thighs or breast cut into dice)
1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
1 cup chopped (1 inch by 1 inch) red onions
1 cup white mushrooms halved
2 red bell peppers chopped (1 inch by inch)
1 tsp paprika
2 tbsp coarsely chopped parsley
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 1 lb asparagus spears
Optional: 1 zucchini (½ inch coins)
Optional: 1 eggplant chopped (½ inch coins)
½ medium sized cucumber
2 cups plain Greek yogurt
4 tsp minced garlic
⅓ cup chopped dill or parsley
1.5 tablespoon lemon juice (or 1 medium sized lemon squeezed)
½ tsp salt or to taste
1 pinch of black pepper or to taste
- Combine oil, garlic, salt, parsley, and lemon juice and stir to combine. Combine chopped steak with marinade in a large plastic bag and press out the air. Seal the bag and chill for 30 minutes to an hour (or overnight for optimal flavor). If you’re lazy like me, 30 minutes will do the trick.
- To prepare tzatziki, cut half a cucumber into 1 inch coins. Combine chopped cucumber, minced garlic, lemon juice, parsley/dill, half of the 2 cups of yogurt, salt/pepper in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Move the tzatziki into a large bowl and add remaining yogurt and mix manually to increase the thickness of the mixture. Place in the fridge to cool.
- Chop vegetables accordingly and set aside.
- In a cast iron skillet, add olive oil and meat on a stove on medium-high meat. After 2 minutes or when heated, add chopped vegetables.
- Cook for 5 minutes tossing vegetables with tongs and ensure they are evenly coated with olive oil. In my own recipe I’d added half of a bacon strip to help coat the vegetables with more evenly and add some flavor to the vegetables.
- When vegetables are soft, add chopped parsley for garnish and paprika. Cook for another 1 minute. Serve vegetables on a large platter.
- To cook the protein, start with a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to coat the skillet evenly. After preheating for two minutes, add marinated steak (or chicken)
- Cook for 1.5 minute each side for quality grilling steak, and turn protein using tongs. Cover the skillet for 1 minute and turn off heat.
- Take the chilled tzatziki out of the fridge and serve with your protein and vegetables.