Saturday, July 20, 2013

Recipe for Grilled Chicken and Veggie Kabobs with Garlic and Basil

Chicken and Veggie Kabobs with Garlic and Basil
Easy-to-make and delicious Grilled Chicken and Veggie Kabobs with Garlic and Basil

(Updated with better photos and step-by-step instructions, July 2013.  These favorite Grilled Chicken and Veggie Kabobs with Garlic and Basil are reminiscent of ones I made often when I catered houseboat trips on Lake Powell in Southern Utah, and kabobs were always a hit on the houseboat.  They're made with a flavorful marinade using dried herbs and other ingredients you probably always have on hand.  Kabobs aren't really that difficult, but it's important to cut the food in same-size pieces so it will cook evenly. The other thing that can be tricky is putting the ingredients on the skewers tightly enough that food doesn't "spin" around when you turn the kabobs on the grill. If you're lucky enough to have Double Kabob Skewers like I do, that eliminates the problem of spinning.  I think this is perfect for an inexpensive summer dinner that's sure to impress; hope you enjoy!

Trim the chicken breasts and cut them crosswise into pieces about 1 inch wide.  (This recipe calls for 2 chicken breasts to make 3-4 kabobs, but you can use more chicken if you prefer.)

Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, black pepper, Spike Seasoning, pureed garlic, dried basil, dried oregano, dried sage, and onion powder to make the flavorful marinade.

Put the chicken into a large plastic bag (so there's room to add the veggies later.)  Add the marinade, and marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours (or longer is fine if you're not home.)

I love peppers and onions on kabobs like this because if you cut them in same-size pieces, they cook at about the same rate.  Feel free to use other veggies like zucchini, mushrooms, or eggplant if you prefer.

I like to cut up the veggies when I'm prepping the chicken and just keep them in the fridge until I want to add them to the marinade.

When it's a few hours before you want to cook the kabobs, add the veggies and marinade in the fridge again until you're ready to grill.

When you're ready to cook dinner, spray the grill with nonstick spray or brush with a high smoke point oil; then preheat the grill to high and drain the marinating chicken and veggies.  (Don't save the marinade and baste with it, because the bacteria in the marinade from the raw chicken may not be killed if you baste towards the end of the cooking time.)

I made mine into four kabobs, but you can make larger kabobs, depending on what you're serving them with.

If you have a gas grill, turn it down to medium-high when you put the kabobs on.  Kabobs need about 5 minutes per side to get good grill marks.  I start with the flatter sides; be sure to leave some space between the kabobs when you grill them.

After 5 minutes, turn kabobs over to the other side and cook 5 minutes.  (I turn with long-handled tongs.) 

I cooked these kabobs about 5 minutes on each of the four sides.  It can be a little tricky to get them to stay on some of the sides; this is another reason why same-size pieces are important.

Kabobs are done when the chicken is firm (but not hard) to the touch and all sides have some grill marks.  For me this was a total cooking time of 20 minutes, but grills can vary in hotness so watch them carefully towards the end of the cooking time.

And just for laughs, here's the original photo of this recipe from 2006 when I first made this dish.  You can see I was a fan of Double Kabob Skewers even back then, although I'm now on my second set!

Chicken Kabobs with Garlic and Basil
(Makes 3-4 servings, depending on what you serve with the kabobs; recipe created by Kalyn.)

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 large red bell pepper
1 large red onion

Marinade Ingredients:
1/2 cup olive oil
3 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
2 tsp. Spike seasoning
1 T garlic puree (sold in small jars, could substitute
finely minced garlic)
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried sage
1 tsp. onion powder

Trim all visible fat and tendons from chicken breasts, and cut each one into crosswise strips slightly over 1 inch wide. Generally this is four strips per breast, unless they are very large.  Peel onion and cut into pieces about 2 inches square.  Cut ends off red pepper, remove seeds, and cut the pepper into pieces about 2 inches square.

Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, black pepper, Spike Seasoning, pureed garlic, dried basil, dried oregano, dried sage, and onion powder to make the marinade. Put the chicken in a large Ziploc bag (big enough to hold the vegetables later) and pour marinade over. Marinate in refrigerator at least 4 hours (or longer.) Put the chunks of red pepper and red onion in a different container and refrigerate while the chicken is marinating.

About 2-4 hours before you want to cook the kabobs, add red pepper and red onion to the plastic bag with the chicken and continue to marinate.

When you're ready to assemble kabobs, drain the chicken and veggies and let ingredients come to room temperature. (Don't save the marinade to baste with, because the bacteria from the raw chicken may not be killed if you baste too close to the end of the cooking time.) Spray the grill with nonstick spray or brush with a high smoke point oil, and preheat grill to high. Thread ingredients onto kabob skewers, pressing tightly together.

Put kabobs on the grill and turn grill down to medium-high. (If you're using a charcoal that can't be turned down, cooking time will be slightly shorter.) Turn kabobs when you see grill marks on each side, cooking about 5 minutes per side or a total cooking time of about 20 minutes. Kabobs are done when chicken feels firm (not hard) to the touch and veggies are lightly browned. Serve hot.

South Beach Suggestions:
This is a perfect dish for any phase of the South Beach Diet. Kabobs would taste great with Grilled Asparagus with Parmesan or Roasted Broccoli with Garlic for phase one. For phase two or three, add something like Brown and Wild Rice with Pine Nuts and Thyme.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Chicken Kabobs on the Grill:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Orange Teriyaki Chicken Kabobs ~ Barbara Bakes
Grilled Chicken Sanpete Kabobs ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Easy Persian Chicken Kabobs ~ Weelicious
Grilled Curried Chicken Skewers with Spicy Peanut Sauce ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Grilled Lemon Chicken Skewers ~ FoodieCrush
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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  1. So perfect for this time of year--I love any complete meal you can marinate, set on the grill, and then eat! Looks really yummy.

  2. Wow, I just looked at this post at work where I have Internet Explorer and it looks terrible. I can only hope people are using Firefox to see it.

  3. Kayln, what sort of animals would make you use Internet Explorer?!!! I'm always surprised when I look at the browser share of my Sitemeter stats and see how many people are still using IE and it makes me wonder why they haven't switched.

    I love the kebabs, I use double bamboo skewers most of the time, but the metal ones transfer heat to the center of the meat so the cook time is better and there's less guess work about the timing, size and density of the veggies. I do cheat sometimes and make huge chunks of veggies, but I blanch them for a bit.

  4. kalyn,
    the marinate ingredients certainly sounds great. And so many cooking tips you gave out, thanks! Oh yes, I certainly love wild rice and pine nut to go with your kebabs!

  5. I agree about Explorer. IE is soooo 1.0 It's all about Firefox, or Safari.
    Can you make me these kebabs when you come to the beach?

  6. Jennifer, thanks. I made it for a friend and we both loved it.

    Steven, it's a school. For some reason my district is very suspicious of Firefox. They won't let us use it. So although I have a pretty good computer at school I have to use IE. It stinks.

    Gattina, the wild rice with pine nuts was great. Thanks for the compliments.

    Rand, of course I'll make the kabobs for you. You can order anything you want and I'll cook it.

  7. Ok, I fixed it, but have I mentioned lately how much I HATE Internet Explorer?

  8. these look WOW... and you are obviously an expert...
    the onions and bell peppers are chopped so well...

    I've taken the liberty to post a link and the recipe to your blog and these juicy kebabs on my food group

    :) Will keep coming by..

  9. Wow, what a goodlooking kebabs! Drooling as i type...

  10. I just realized that summer is almost over (for me at least - back to school August 1st) and I haven't done any kebobs!

  11. looks inviting and mouthwatering stuff!

  12. Pam, I do feel your pain! You must have kabobs before summer ends.

    Kalyan, glad you like it!

  13. OH MY GOODNESS!!!! We are having a BBQ coming up and I'm thinking THESE need to be on the menu! Thank You for this recipe, I'm excited to try them!

  14. Cocktail Lady, hope you enjoy! These are loaded with flavor.

  15. Timely recipe Kalyn. I am traveling on a summer vacation for 3 weeks in Toronto Canada where I will barbecue these kabobs at the cottage on the lake. I like that they are easy to assemble ahead of time. Thanks!

  16. Wanda, sounds like fun. I hope you enjoy the kabobs!

  17. Kalyn, I must have those skewers! I think I could be the hero of the neighborhood with these.

    I love kebabs or kabobs - even in the winter like it is now for us.

  18. Maureen, I love, love, love the double skewers. Once I discovered them I wondered why I ever used the other kind!


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