There is nothing like the warmer weather to bring out the chef in everyone. As soon as I fire up the grill, all the men in my family turn into grilling masters and want to join in on the fun.
Once the domestic activities in the kitchen have subsided and the outdoor events are in full swing, grilling turns into a real Manly Man Event. Everyone has a say on how it is cooked and prepared. I let the boys creativity run wild and they are just brilliant.
I was just going to make a relatively simple Grilled Veggie Quinoa Bowl with lots of goodies. My eldest, a real foodie that actually works part-time in the F & B business to make money for school, said mom, ” Lets have some fun.” I asked him what he had in mind and he just blew me away with his creativity. We had fun! Loads of fun! We grilled and chilled out on the balcony enjoying our million dollar view, taste tested the gorgeous roasted tomato pesto and chose some props for plating. All credit for plating and photos goes to my eldest son. Thank you sweetie!!!
You are just going to love these flame kissed tomato pesto tapas as they are one perfect little bite filled with all the flavours of the grilled veggies and shrimp, nutty quinoa and the lip smacking tasty grilled tomato pesto. These little tapas are going to knock your socks off. Flame kissed tomato pesto tapas are gluten-free, diabetic and cardiac friendly, low-carb, dairy-free, egg-free and can be easily made vegan just by leaving off the shrimp.
Entertaining outdoors and enjoying some of this lovely weather is very nice. Letting everyone take part in the process and lending you hand with some of the tasks when entertaining is even more awesome! Enjoying these little flame kissed veggie tapas with a little glass of wine or lime soda is even more sublime. Whether you enjoy this combination as a fun little tapas or just a grilled veggie quinoa bowl with grilled tomato pesto, I promise you will want to keep going back for more.
You can grill any little vegetable your heart desires, so do not feel restricted by the items on this list. I would have loved to grill eggplant and mushrooms too. Maybe you would like grilled flank steak, chicken, fish or even grilled tofu instead of shrimp…Knock yourself out and have some fun with this dish! If you do not have sun-dried tomatoes, just leave them out as this pesto is great even without it. I think you are seeing where I am going with this. This dish is perfect for substitutions. You may choose to double up on the recipe for the grilled tomato pesto recipe as it really is delicious and it so good on so many different dishes.
You can make a meal out of these delicious flame kissed veggies, grilled tomato pesto and quinoa by creating “grilled veggie quinoa bowls”. A grilled veggie quinoa bowl meal comes highly suggested, according to my youngest teenager who licked his bowl clean and came running back for seconds. I could not make my little Flame Kissed Tomato Pesto Tapas appetisers fast enough for him. If you want to make a “grilled veggie quinoa bowl, mix the quinoa with a large dollop of the delicious grilled tomato pesto and then top with your roasted tomato pesto quinoa bowl with loads of grilled vegetables, shrimp and top with a little fresh parley or basil. You could even make this healthy meal completely vegan if you just left off the shrimp and added a few garbanzo beans or even grilled tofu on top.
I have created this recipe for 4 adult sized portions to eat as a grilled veggie quinoa bowl with grilled tomato pesto. You can adjust the amounts if it is just for a snack or a meal. You can grill any vegetables your little heart desires so have fun during your visit your market to see what is fresh and in season. I used wooden skewers to make my vegetables like a kabob because I do not have one of those veggie grill trays but if you have one of those, that would work great too. Lets get on to the recipe and get grilling!
Flame kissed veggie tapas topped off with a dollop of nutty quinoa, rich red roasted tomato pesto and grilled shrimp.
- Grilled Veggies (Feel Free to Use any Vegetables you Like)
- zucchini (courgette) - 1 medium sized washed and cut into slices on an angle
- onion - 1 large cut into fourths and separated into sections (save 1/2 for tapas and 1/2 for grilled tomato pesto)
- bell peppers - 2 (red and yellow cut into large 1.5 inch squares)
- asparagus - 14 ounces (tough ends removed and peeled at the bottom if tough)
- tomatoes - 1 and 1/2 cup Malaysian grape washed and left whole
- olive oil - 1/4 cup (reserve a little for your shrimp)
- salt and pepper - to taste
- garlic - 1-2 cloves minced (reserve a little for your shrimp)
- shrimp - 1 pound peeled and deveined (you can leave the tail on if you wish)
- quinoa - 4 cups cooked (according to package directions)
- Grilled Tomato Pesto
- grilled tomatoes - 3/4 cup of grilled Malaysian grape tomatoes from the grilled veggies above)
- grilled onions - 1/2 of the grilled onion
- sun dried tomatoes - 1/2 cup (Soaked in warm water to soften and drained)
- garlic - 2 cloves
- basil leaves - 1/2 cup fresh
- parsley - 1/2 cup fresh (flat leaf or curly is fine)- save a little extra for garnish if you wish
- olive oil - 1/4 cup
- salt and pepper - to taste
Step 1: Place zucchini (courgettes), onion, bell peppers, asparagus, tomatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper and garlic in a bowl or baggie to marinate for at least 30 minutes. In a separate container place shrimp, a little olive oil, salt and pepper and garlic to marinate for at least 30 minutes. Soak bamboo skewers in water so they do not burn during the grilling process. (You can skip soaking the bamboo skewers, if you have a vegetable tray for the grill or have metal skewers.)
Step 2: Cook your quinoa according to the directions and set aside. Place your sun dried tomatoes in warm water to soften. (Takes about 15 minutes for sun dried tomatoes to soften)
Step 3: Preheat your grill. I placed my marinated vegetables (zucchini (courgettes), onion, bell peppers, tomatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper and garlic) on the pre-soaked wooden skewers and placed on the grill to cook. I placed my asparagus directly on the grill. I placed all the harder vegetables closer to the heat and placed the tomatoes on indirect heat. I turned my vegetables every 2-3 minutes and the harder vegetables (peppers and onions) took about 8 minutes. The zucchini only took about 5 minutes total to get some awesome grill marks. I cooked the asparagus directly on the grill and they took about 3 minutes on each side to cook. The tomatoes only took about 4 minutes on the grill or just until ready to burst. Remove vegetables from grill and keep warm. Add your shrimp on the BBQ grill and cook. Shrimp only takes about 1-2 minutes on each side to cook (depending on the size of your shrimp). Cook the shrimps just until pink and no longer translucent.
Step 4: In your food processor, place in the grilled tomato, grilled onions, pre-soaked sun dried tomatoes, garlic, basil, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste and pulse together until well blended. If you need a little extra moisture just to get the food processor to go around, use a little water (a teaspoon at a time) just enough to get it going. Your goal is a nice thick and delicious grilled tomato pesto.
Step 5: Mix your grilled tomato pesto in with quinoa until well mixed.
If you want to make fun little Flame Kissed Tomato Pesto Tapas (appetiser): Layer in a stack starting with the larger grilled zucchini then top with grilled peppers, onions, a teaspoon side dollop of grilled tomato pesto quinoa. Next nestle a shrimp in the grilled tomato pesto quinoa and garnish with a wedge of asparagus and a little parsley or basil. Serve to your guests and enjoy!
If you want to make delicious grilled veggie quinoa bowls (Complete Meal): Add one cup of the grilled tomato pesto quinoa to the bottom of the bowl. Garnish your bowl with loads delicious grilled bell peppers, asparagus, onions, zucchini, shrimp, etc and then garnish with a little chopped parsley and basil on top. Enjoy!