Welcome to LifeWise Kitchen! We’ve teamed up with Bastyr University, Guckenheimer and Northwest chefs and nutritionists to provide you with healthy and delicious recipes all year long. Check out our latest post – a healthy Fourth of July recipe from Chef Kirsten Helle of Mesa de Vida who was recently featured (and won!) on Food Network’s Guy’s Grocery Games.
There’s no better way to celebrate the Fourth of July than with an outdoor barbecue. Instead of resorting to the predictable hot dogs and chips this year, healthify your plate with this recipe for Firecracker Kebabs al Pastor Style.
“Al pastor” is a style of seasoning developed in Central Mexico in which the meat is marinated in a mixture of spices, cilantro and pineapple. The complimentary balance of flavors is delicious, especially with lean protein and veggies. There’s a plethora of fresh local onions and zucchini at Northwest farmers markets this time of year, and these kebabs put them to good use.
Eat these kebabs at your Fourth of July barbecue to experience fireworks of flavor in your mouth!
Firecracker Kebabs al Pastor Style
Makes 4-6 servings (2-3 kebabs per person)
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro
- 1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
- 4 cloves fresh garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried Ancho chili powder
- 2 cloves
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1–2 jalapeño peppers (optional if you don’t like it spicy)
- 1 pound local organic chicken breasts, pork tenderloin or beef tenderloin, cut into 1-inch cubes (leave out meat if you wish to keep it vegetarian)
- 12 large cremini mushrooms
- 2 bell peppers (assorted colors), cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 large Walla Walla sweet onion, cut into approximately 1-inch squares
- 1 cup fresh cilantro, finely minced
- 1 cup fresh pineapple, finely chopped
- 12 skewers, soaked if wooden
- Blend the marinade ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Pour into a large bowl.
- Toss the meat and vegetables in the marinade, cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour (or marinade overnight).
- Evenly distribute the ingredients onto the skewers.
- Grill the kebabs over hot coals or a medium-high gas barbecue until the meat and vegetables are lightly charred on the outside and tender on the inside.
- Cover with foil and rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro and fresh chopped pineapple. Enjoy!
Chef Kirsten Helle set out to create a healthy new family legacy and lost over 100 pounds. She is a personal chef, nutrition consultant, recipe developer, cooking instructor and creator of a top Seattle food blog, Mesa de Vida. She also has a national menu planning service to help families bring healthier meals to their family table. Chef Kirsten was the winner of a cooking competition show on Food Network, facilitates the American Heart Association Puget Sound’s Go Red BetterU program, and has been featured on NBC, FOX, iHeart Radio, Northwest Wild Country, FIRST for Women and more. Find out more and get hundreds of healthy recipes to help you bring more life to your table at www.mesadevida.com.