Greek chicken kabobs are one of my favorite summer recipes for both family meals and entertaining. My chicken kabob marinade works for vegetables as well—then everything is grilled and served with a tangy yogurt sauce. The ingredients are simple but flavorful, and there are no pans to clean up. And no oven or stove heating up your kitchen, which can be a big benefit on those hot summer nights. Plus, this is a great recipe to double so you’ll have the ingredients for an awesome leftovers meal, Israeli Couscous with Chicken and Vegetables, coming to the blog next week!
How to Cook Greek Chicken Kabobs
To start, you cube your chicken into 1-inch chunks, then put into a bowl while you cut your vegetables. Bell peppers should be halved, cored, and gently flattened. Thinly slice eggplant and cut your red onion into 1-inch chunks.
Then prepare your marinade with minced garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, herbs, and salt and pepper. You’ll use the same marinade for both chicken and vegetables. After your food has marinated, heat up your grill, and skewer chicken and onions together. Then grill your skewers and your vegetables while you make the greek yogurt sauce. 15-20 minutes later, dinner is served!
Should you marinate chicken and vegetables together?
In this recipe, I use the same marinade for both the chicken and the vegetables, but I marinate them in different bowls. Why? The reason is that I am very conscious of the risk of salmonella when using raw chicken. I always cut my raw chicken on a different cutting board from my vegetables, and in fact, I have a cutting board solely dedicated to cutting raw meats. It may be the professional chef in me, but I don’t mess around with raw chicken. I also always, always wash my hands with soap and hot water after handling raw chicken.
So marinate the chicken separately from the veggies just to be extra safe—you may prefer your peppers barely grilled, and if that’s the case, eating them after they had been marinated with chicken could be dangerous. If you’d like, you can marinate the red onion in the same bowl as the chicken, since they will be threaded together on the skewers, but honestly I prefer to just take the onions out of the veggie marinade bowl when I’m ready to skewer rather than run any risk.
How long should you marinate chicken?
The lemon juice in this marinade is quite strong, and marinating chicken too long can end up making the chicken tough rather than tender. So keep your chicken marinade to just 30 minutes.
Why shouldn’t you add the eggplant and peppers to the chicken skewers?
Skewers that have alternating pretty colors of vegetables and chicken look great, but I caution you to keep similar foods together on your skewers. Often, the grilling time for chicken versus vegetables is very different, so you end up with cooked chicken and raw veggies on your skewer. Or, even worse, the opposite. Plus, skewering food is time-consuming work. I prefer to keep the skewers just for my chicken and onions, and throw everything else on the grill directly. You can ensure each food is perfectly cooked, and save time in the process.
How do you know when your chicken is done?
When your grilled chicken skewers are done, the chicken will be firm and white (not pink) throughout. The tricky thing about skewers though, is that the chicken can cook unevenly if you have them laid across different heat zones in your grill. I find the easiest way to make sure your chicken is done is to use a good meat thermometer and test chicken on both ends of your skewer. By far the best thermometer I have used is the Thermapen (not sponsored). It comes to temperature quickly so you don’t burn your hand holding it over the grill. When your chicken hits 165 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s done.
Should you soak wooden/bamboo skewers?
Yes! If you are using wooden skewers or bamboo skewers, soak them for 20-30 minutes before loading them up. The soak time will help them not burn when you put them over a hot grill. Personally, I prefer metal ones like these since they are nice and sturdy, and can be reused and washed in the dishwasher.
Should you use a gas grill or charcoal grill for grilled chicken kabobs?
Either! I have a gas grill, which I love for its convenience and speed. My recipe was written for use with a gas grill, but of course you can use a charcoal grill as well. If you have a small grill, you will probably want to grill your chicken and vegetables in separate batches. You want enough space between your items so they will each grill nicely, rather than steam. But otherwise, a charcoal grill is just fine, as long as you pay attention and can regulate the temperature if it gets too hot.
What to serve with chicken kabobs?
I usually serve my greek chicken kabobs with rice pilaf or with couscous. But pita bread would be another great choice. You can take the chicken off the skewers and make them into pita sandwiches with the veggies and yogurt sauce. This is also a great gluten-free recipe if you stick with a gluten-free side dish to go with it!
If you like this recipe, you may be interested in some of my other easy but elegant main course recipes, such as Creamy Orzo Chicken with Red Peppers and Mushrooms, Shrimp Pasta with Tomatoes, Feta, and Olives, or my Parmesan Pearl Barley Grain Bowl.
Greek Chicken Kabobs with Yogurt Sauce
Greek chicken kabobs are marinated with lemon juice, olive oil, and herbs and served with grilled vegetables and a tangy yogurt sauce.
- 1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 medium-sized red onion
- 3 red, yellow, or orange bell peppers
- 1 small eggplant
- 2 small garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 T. + 1 t. lemon juice
- 1/2 t. dried oregano
- 1/2 t. dried basil
- 1/2 t. kosher salt
- 1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 container plain greek yogurt (7 oz)
- 1 t. lemon zest
- 1 T. chopped fresh mint, plus more for garnish
- 1/4 t. kosher salt
- 1/4 t. freshly ground pepper
- vegetable oil or cooking spray for grill grates
Cut chicken breasts into 1-inch chunks and put in a medium bowl.
Halve peppers, cut out core, and flatten gently with your palm. Thinly slice eggplant (slices should be about 1/4 inch thick). Halve red onion, then cut into 1-inch chunks. Combine vegetables in large bowl.
Mince garlic cloves. Whisk together olive oil, 3 T. lemon juice, minced garlic, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
Pour a little less than half the marinade into the bowl with the chicken, and the rest into the bowl with the vegetables. Stir to combine or use your hands to make sure the marinade is evenly distributed (just make sure to wash your hands with hot water and soap before going from chicken bowl to vegetable bowl). Marinate chicken and vegetables for 30 minutes.
While chicken and vegetables are marinating, make the yogurt sauce. Combine greek yogurt with lemon zest and 1 t. of lemon juice. Then stir in chopped mint, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Preheat the grill on medium-high heat. Thread chicken and onion pieces onto your skewers, alternating chicken and onion. Oil grill grates with vegetable oil or cooking spray.
Put the chicken kabobs and vegetables on the grill (you may need to do these in batches if they don't all fit). Cook the chicken for 10-15 minutes, turning once or twice, until it is white throughout and comes to a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the lid down for the first 5 minutes. The vegetables will likely need an additional 5-8 minutes—turn the grill down or move to a cooler side of the grill if they blacken before they are softened through.
Take chicken and vegetables off the grill and put on a platter to serve with yogurt sauce. Garnish with chopped mint (if desired).
To oil grill grates, either put some vegetable oil on a folded up paper towel and use tongs to wipe the grates, or spray with cooking spray. Be very careful if you use spray to stay away from the grill since the fire will flare up. Serve with rice pilaf, couscous, or in pita bread sandwiches.