Kid-friendly Turkish Sweet Pepper Kid Kabobs + Roasted Za’atar Honeyed Carrots + Feta Whip Dip Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Family Meal Plan: Turkish Sweet Pepper Kid Kabobs + Roasted Za’atar Honeyed Carrots + Feta Whip Dip

Family Meal Plan: Turkish Sweet Pepper Kid Kabobs + Roasted Za’atar Honeyed Carrots + Feta Whip Dip

Turkish Sweet Pepper Kid Kabobs + Roasted Za’atar Honeyed Carrots + Feta Whip Dip

by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by Dylan Sabuco
prep time
25 minutes
cook time
25 minutes
makes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Turkish Sweet Pepper Kid Kabobs

The first time I met a kabob, I was hooked, or better yet, "skewered!" As a child, the joy of threading colorful veggies onto a stick felt like play yet yielded something delicious—proof that the best things in life are often the simplest. 

We take beautiful, colorful bell peppers, tender green zucchini, and sunny yellow squash, toss them all in a zesty Mediterranean marinade, and then "skewer" them onto popsicle sticks for easy handling. The resulting individual works of art are then pan-fried until they look and smell just right.

Serve with Roasted Za'atar Honeyed Carrots and creamy Feta Whip Dip to elevate your meal from the ordinary to the extraordinary!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief
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Shopping List

  • FRESH
  • 3 bell peppers (any color) **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 C baby carrots
  • DAIRY
  • 1 C plain Greek yogurt **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1/2 C feta cheese **(see allergy subs below)**
  • PANTRY
  • 3 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground thyme
  • 3/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp mild chili powder **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 1/3 T honey
  • 2 T vegetable oil **
  • HAVE ON HAND
  • 12 to 14 popsicle sticks
  • water to soak popsicle sticks

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • chop :

    to cut something into small, rough pieces using a blade.

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • sauté :

    to cook or brown food in a pan containing a small quantity of butter, oil, or other fat.

  • toss :

    to lightly lift and drop food items together or coat food items with flour, or a sauce or dressing, as in a salad.

  • whisk :

    to beat or stir ingredients vigorously with a fork or whisk to mix, blend, or incorporate air.

Equipment Checklist

  • Large skillet
  • Medium mixing bowl (to soak popsicle sticks)
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Cutting board
  • Kid-safe knife
  • Measuring spoons
  • Wooden spoon or tongs
  • Zester (or grater with small zesting plate/side)
  • Wooden spoon
  • Medium bowl
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Whisk
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Ingredients

Turkish Sweet Pepper Kid Kabobs

  • 12 to 14 popsicle sticks (+ water to soak them)
  • 3 bell peppers, any color **(for NIGHTSHADE ALLERGY sub any of the following: red onion, broccoli, cauliflower, or mushrooms—more info below)**
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil + a drizzle for cooking **
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano

Roasted Za’atar Honeyed Carrots

  • 1/2 lemon, zested
  • 3 C baby carrots
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil + a drizzle for cooking **
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground thyme
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp mild chili powder **(Omit for NIGHTSHADE ALLERGY)**
  • 2 tsp honey

Feta Whip Dip

  • 1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 C plain Greek yogurt **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub plain coconut or soy-based yogurt)**
  • 1/2 C feta cheese **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub 1/4 C nutritional yeast + 1 pinch salt)**
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch garlic powder
  • 1 pinch dried oregano
  • 2 tsp honey

Food Allergen Substitutions

Turkish Sweet Pepper Kid Kabobs

  • Nightshade: For 3 bell peppers, substitute any of the following: 1 red onion, 1 head of broccoli, 1 small head of cauliflower, or 12 small mushrooms.
  • Soy: Substitute canola oil or other nut-free high-smoking point oil for vegetable oil.

Roasted Za’atar Honeyed Carrots

  • Nightshade: Omit mild chili powder. 
  • Soy: Substitute canola oil or other nut-free high-smoking point oil for vegetable oil.

Feta Whip Dip

  • Dairy: Substitute plain coconut or soy-based yogurt for plain Greek yogurt. For 1/2 C feta cheese, substitute 1/4 C nutritional yeast + 1 pinch of salt.

Instructions

Turkish Sweet Pepper Kid Kabobs

1.
intro

"Merhaba" (Mare-Hah-bah) or "Hello" in Turkish! Any food served on a stick is always a recipe for success. Kabobs are no different. Classically, kabobs include seasoned meat and veggies, skewered and roasted until tender and juicy. Our Sticky Finger Cooking rendition consists of a colorful combination of bell peppers, squash, and za'atar spice blend.

2.
soak + chop

Start by soaking 12 to 14 popsicle sticks in a small water bath for about 10 minutes while you prepare the veggies. Soaking them will help prevent the popsicle sticks from burning later. Chop 3 bell peppers, 1 zucchini, and 1 yellow squash into thick chunks as equal-sized as you can. Place the veggies in a large bowl.

3.
measure + toss

Measure and add 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon cumin, and 2 teaspoons oregano to the bowl of veggies. Toss until all the veggies are well coated.

4.
poke + sizzle

Poke the popsicle sticks into the veggies. Arrange them in any way you like; just don’t overfill any of the kabobs. I prefer to alternate bell pepper, squash, bell pepper, squash because the bell peppers are my favorite part. Once you have all your veggies distributed on the sticks, place them in a large skillet over medium-high heat with a small drizzle of vegetable oil. Cook the kabobs, flipping them every few minutes for a total of 12 to 15 minutes, or until your veggies are soft and slightly charred.

5.
serve

Serve immediately or let them chill for a while before serving. Either way, these kabobs pair wonderfully with Roasted Za’atar Honeyed Carrots and Feta Whip Dip. "Afiyet olsun" (Ah-fee-yet ohl-sun) or "Enjoy your meal in Turkish!

Roasted Za’atar Honeyed Carrots

1.
intro

Za’atar is a spice blend that fuses the flavors of the Mediterranean and Middle East. Expect a warm spice level blended together with the powerful flavors of garlic, thyme, and cumin.

2.
zest

Zest 1/2 lemon and place the zest in a large mixing bowl.

3.
measure + toss

Measure and add 3 cups baby carrots, 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon mild chili powder, and 2 teaspoons honey to the bowl with the lemon zest. Toss until well combined.

4.
sauté + crunch

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Pour the seasoned carrots into the skillet and sauté for at least 8 minutes or until the carrots are starting to become brown. If you cook them too long, the carrots won’t have any crunch. Serve alongside Turkish Sweet Pepper Kid Kabobs and Feta Whip Dip. Enjoy!

Feta Whip Dip

1.
zest + juice

Zest and juice 1/2 lemon into a medium bowl.

2.
measure + whisk

Measure and add 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup feta cheese, 1 pinch of black pepper, 1 pinch of garlic powder, 1 pinch of oregano, and 2 teaspoons honey to the medium bowl with the lemon zest and juice. Whisk until all the ingredients are well combined. Then, whisk some more! You want to whisk until the feta starts to break apart into tiny pieces.

3.
dip + dunk

Serve alongside Turkish Sweet Pepper Kid Kabobs and Roasted Za’atar Honeyed Carrots. You can dunk either one or both into your dip! Cheers!

Surprise Ingredient: Bell Peppers!

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Photo by Kritsada Namborisut/Shutterstock.com

Hi! I’m Bell Pepper!

"Do you like your pizza with green pepper on top? If you do, then you'll like me! I'm a bell pepper, and we come in different colors, like green, yellow, orange, and red. Plus, some of us are a bit sweeter than others. We bell peppers have colorful, glossy skin, and when you bite into one, it will taste fresh and crunchy. We're also very versatile and add distinctive flavor and texture to many dishes!"

History

  • Bell peppers may be called sweet peppers or capsicum in other countries. They are members of the nightshade family, along with tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants.
  • Peppers are native to the Americas. Spain imported their seeds in the late 1400s, and then they spread to the rest of Europe and Asia. Today, China is the largest producer of bell peppers and chili peppers, followed by Mexico, Indonesia, Spain, Turkey, and the United States.
  • The most popular bell pepper in the United States is the green bell pepper. Other peppers sold in the United States are hot peppers (also called chili peppers).
  • November is National Pepper Month!

Anatomy & Etymology

  • Bell peppers are actually fruits, not vegetables! They are technically berries but are most often used as a vegetable. 
  • The bell pepper is a tropical plant, preferring warm, moist soil to grow in.
  • Green and red bell peppers grow on the same plant. However, as the bell peppers mature and ripen, they change from green to red and become sweeter.  
  • Bell peppers are large and bell-shaped. Depending on the variety, they can be brown, white, lavender, or dark purple, but the most common colors for bell peppers are green, yellow, orange, and red. 
  • Bell peppers have crisp, thick flesh and smooth, waxy skin.
  • The scientific name for bell peppers is "Capsicum annuum." The scientific name for hot or chili peppers is "Capsicum frutescens."
  • The "pepper" name came when explorers introduced the plants in Europe. Europeans named them after the peppercorn or black pepper, which is unrelated. 
  • The word "pepper" comes from the Old English "piper," from the West Germanic "pipor," related to the Dutch "peper," from the Greek "peperi," and from Sanskrit "pippalī," meaning "berry," "peppercorn."

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • You want to harvest bell peppers with the right color and sweetness when they're full size. You may want to use all green ones, and so you would pick them at their first stage of ripeness. Many recipes use green bell peppers. Next would be yellow, orange, and then red, the sweetest. You could pick them at each stage if you want multiple colors in your salad, for instance.
  • Bell peppers can be stored in your refrigerator's crisper drawer for one to two weeks. Then, refrigerate cut bell peppers for two to three days and cooked bell peppers for three to five days.
  • Bell peppers are a good choice for dishes where you don't want spicy pepper flavor because they don't produce capsaicin like other peppers. Bell peppers have a mild, sweet taste, but the flavors of other peppers can range from mild heat to extremely hot. A hybrid variety of bell pepper, the Mexibelle, is mildly spicy due to a small amount of capsaicin.
  • Paprika is a powdered red spice made from dried red bell peppers. People often associate paprika with Hungarian cuisine, especially since the name comes from the Hungarian language. However, cooks in many European and other countries use it regularly to color and flavor foods. For example, they add it to soups and stews, sprinkle it over the tops of meats, or add it to other seasonings to make rubs for grilling. Paprika is also often found in sausages. Because red bell peppers are mild and sweet, paprika is usually not as spicy as ground chili pepper. However, paprika can add a little heat to a dish, especially when using certain varieties.  
  • One-half of a medium bell pepper counts as one serving.
  • Bell peppers are good to eat raw or cooked. They are often chopped and added to dishes such as salads, soups, omelets, stir-fries, fajitas, and pizza, but they can also be hollowed out, stuffed with a meat, veggie, and rice filling, and baked. 

Nutrition

  • Bell peppers are a low-calorie food and are 94 percent water. They are also nutritious, with 97 percent of the daily value of vitamin C. Bell peppers of all colors have a high amount of vitamin C and beta-carotene, but the red bell pepper contains 1.5 times the amount of vitamin C and eleven times the beta-carotene as green bell peppers.
  • Vitamin C is an antioxidant that improves your immune system to prevent heart disease and cancer. It also helps your body to absorb and store iron. It helps remove excess fluid from your body, reducing pressure in blood vessels. In addition, vitamin C may help reduce elevated blood sugar levels, and it aids in creating collagen, which is needed for wounds to heal. 
  • Beta-carotene gives yellow, orange, and red fruits and vegetables their color. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant, and it converts to vitamin A in the body, which can help prevent age-related macular degeneration. 
  • Fiber improves your digestive health and, by slowing down the speed of sugar absorption by the body, helps reduce the risk of diabetes. 

 

History of Kabobs!

Photo by tlorna/Shutterstock.com
  • A 10th-century cookbook compiled by an Arab author from Baghdad, Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq, describes meat that has been cut up and fried or grilled. The Persian term "kabāb" is associated with several of these types of meat dishes from the Mesopotamian (Iraq), Persian (Iran), and Anatolian (Turkey) regions. 
  • In Turkey, kabobs (or kebabs) or shish kabobs are chunks of lamb, beef, or poultry broiled or grilled on skewers. Vegetables may also be grilled, but usually on a separate skewer. 
  • In the United States, shish kabob is generally marinated chunks of meat with vegetables, like bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes, grilled or roasted on the same skewer. Kabobs are a delightful way to get kids to eat their vegetables!
  • Want a fun way to serve a fruit salad to kids? Skewer fresh fruit on skewers to make fruit kabobs!

Let's Learn About Turkey!

Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels (Grand Bazaar in Istanbul)
  • Turkey, officially the Republic of Turkey, is transcontinental, which means it is located on two different continents! In this case, part of Turkey is in Asia, and part is in Europe.
  • Most of Turkey is on the Anatolian Peninsula in Western Asia, and a smaller part is on the Balkan Peninsula in Southeastern Europe.
  • The Anatolian people on the peninsula lived thousands of years ago. The oldest religious structure, a temple, was found in the southeast, dating to 10,000 BCE. The oldest known human settlement, from 7500 to 5700 BCE, was in Catalhoyuk in southern Anatolia.
  • The Temple of Artemis in Ephesus and the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, both in Turkey, were two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
  • Turkey began as part of the Ottoman or Turkish Empire in 1299. After a war of independence, Turkey became an independent republic in 1923. 
  • The country's total area is 302,455 square miles. That is slightly larger than the size of the US states of California and Montana put together. Turkey's population is over 80 million, twice the number of people in the two states. 
  • Turkey's government is a unitary presidential constitutional republic with a president, vice-president, and legislature (Grand National Assembly). The official and most widely spoken language is Turkish. 
  • Ankara is the capital city, and Istanbul is the largest city. In addition, Istanbul is the only city in the world that extends across two continents.
  • Turkey's coast has a temperate climate. Some coastal areas have hot, dry summers, while others have warm, wet summers, and both have cool or cold, wet winters. The Anatolian plateau can have severe winters, with temps as low as minus 40 degrees F in northeastern Anatolia. Ankara is located on the northwest of the plateau. 
  • Many mountain peaks in Turkey reach over 9,000 feet. Mount Ararat, a dormant volcano, is the highest point in Turkey at 16,854 feet. 
  • Istanbul has one of the world's oldest and biggest shopping malls. The Grand Bazaar's construction began in 1455 and was completed after 1730. Over the centuries, this covered market has grown into an area of 61 streets with 4,000 shops and 250,000 to 400,000 daily visitors!
  • Turkeys, the birds, got their name after Turkey, the country! Wild turkeys are native to North America, but the British referred to the domesticated bird imported from Western Asia as "turkeys" with the country in mind.   
  • Saint Nicholas, also known as Santa Claus, was born in Patara in what is now modern Turkey.
  • Turkish people are very hospitable, and they would invite you to their house and share a meal with you even if they do not know you.
  • In Turkey, you might find chicken in your dessert! The signature Ottoman treat is "tavuk göğsü," a milk pudding made with shredded chicken breast. It is a delicious blend of boiled chicken, milk, rice flour, and sugar, with a dusting of cinnamon. 
  • A few of Turkey's popular dishes are made with various flatbreads, including "pide" (leavened, stone-baked flatbread, like pizza), "gözleme" (savory stuffed turnover or pancake), and "lahmacun" (topped with minced meat and veggies or wrapped around veggies).  
  • Turkish coffee culture and tradition are on UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

What's It Like to Be a Kid in Turkey?

  • In Turkey, many public school kids attend school in the morning or afternoon. These split sessions allow more students to go to school. One of the core subjects in early elementary school is called "hayat bilgisi" ("life science"), which is a combination of natural and social sciences. 
  • Turkish kids may participate in the sports of football (soccer), basketball, volleyball, and handball. 
  • For vacations, families might go to the beach in summer and mountain ski resorts in winter. Cappadocia is a popular place for its unique geological features. Besides the natural rock formations, kids can see houses carved out of the rock by early inhabitants. The area is also a favorite place to see hot air balloons. 
  • Several fun kid activities can be found in Istanbul, like a Legoland Discovery Center and the Istanbul Toy Museum, with 4,000 toys and miniatures. In addition, kids can walk around Miniatürk, one of the world's largest miniature parks. It has 135 miniatures in 1:25 scale that are models of historic structures found in Turkey and regions of the Ottoman Empire. There are also aquariums and amusement parks in Istanbul. 
  • Baklava, made from phyllo dough, chopped nuts, and honey, is a favorite dessert for kids and adults alike in Turkey. They may also enjoy Turkish Delight or "lokum," a famous jellied candy made of sugar, water, and cornstarch.

The Yolk's On You

What does a vegetable wear to the beach? 

A zoo-kini!

Lettuce Joke Around

Why does milk turn into yogurt when you take it to a museum?

Because it becomes cultured!

Lettuce Joke Around

What is the difference between broccoli and boogers?

Not every kid will eat broccoli.

The Yolk's On You

What did the carrot say to the rabbit? 

"Do you want to grab a bite?"

THYME for a Laugh

It took days to come up with this rosemary pun.

It was a long thyme cumin!

Lettuce Joke Around

Why were mozzarella and feta holding hands?

They look gouda together!

The Yolk's On You

How do you know carrots are good for your eyes? 

Well, have you ever seen a rabbit wearing glasses?

That's Berry Funny

Why did the honeybee go to the barbershop? 

To get a buzz-cut!

That's Berry Funny

What do you call a kabob prepared by a librarian?

A shush-kabob!

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