In the summertime, we love to grill. And even though September is around the corner, living in South Texas means it’s still really hot. We really only get a couple months of cold weather, which means we get to grill almost year-round. Kabobs are one of the best meals for us to grill because we can customize them to what each of us likes.
This recipe is a little different than the usual marinade we use, but it was a perfect summer meal. The basil gave it that sweet summertime flavor, and the veggies are all those that are in season right now. I like to try to eat the foods in season because they are usually a bit cheaper and easier to find.
I found the original recipe from a copy of Southern Living that I have, but of course we changed it slightly to what we prefer (and what I could find in store). Unfortunately, the heat has been so hard on our garden lately, that almost all the herbs and vegetables have started bolting or dying off. The day I went shopping, the produce was very picked over so I had to improvise on a few of the vegetables.
The recipe originally called for 2 red peppers, and 2 yellow peppers. I had to make changes in store based on what was available, and bought one hug red pepper and two small green peppers. They were completely out of yellow and orange peppers, and the rest of the red ones didn’t look too good. I also bought some fresh basil, but then completely forgot I had it and used the basil from the spice drawer. Oh well, it was still tasty either way.
I started by cutting up all the vegetables, while Justin got the chicken cut up (I hate touching raw chicken and always try to delegate that task to him!). Remember, you want to make sure the pieces stay large enough to be able to put on a skewer. If the pieces are cut too small, whether the veggies or the meat, they will fall off the skewer either while you are assembling or while you are grilling. For Christmas, I was given these flexible cutting mats, and they are awesome!
If you are using wooden skewers, make sure to start soaking those as soon as possible. You want them to soak for about 20 minutes prior to building the kabobs. A few years ago we bought some metal skewers and love them. We aren’t wasting so much since they are reusable, and we don’t have to worry about any bits of wood getting in the food.
Once everything is cut up, start building the skewers. You can do your chicken and shrimp on separate skewers like we did, or make combo kabobs. We tried to evenly distribute the vegetables and meat across all the skewers. Here’s where the customization comes in. If you have someone who doesn’t like onions, you can make them a couple kabobs without onion. Or if another really likes zucchini, you can double it up on theirs. Kabobs are so versatile, they are great for making individual ones how each person prefers.
After the kabobs are built, it’s time to grill! We set our grill to a medium heat, and put the kabobs with chicken on first since the chicken will take longer to cook. If you buy shrimp that is not pre-cooked, then you can probably do them at the same time because it will need a little longer to cook. Grilling is Justin’s domain, so I can’t tell you too much about that process, but I know he was flipping them every now and then to make sure all sides were cooked evenly.
While the kabobs are grilling, mix together the ingredients for the basil oil that will be brushed on the kabobs before eating them. This is done by mixing olive oil, basil leaves, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper in a food processor or blender until it’s thoroughly mixed together. As soon as the kabobs come off the grill, brush this mixture on them to add that sweet basil taste to it all. You can even keep some aside for dipping as you eat the kabobs if you’d like.
We served ours with some watermelon, another perfect summer food. The combination was actually really good because the watermelon is also sweet, so the two flavors went together well.
Summer Basil Chicken and Shrimp Kabobs
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 12 oz shrimp (medium, uncooked)
- 2 red peppers
- 2 green peppers
- 1 red onion
- 1 zucchini
- 2 tbsp basil leaves
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- If using wooden skewers, soak in water
- Thaw shrimp
- Dice chicken and vegetables into one-inch pieces
- Build skewers as desired, mixing vegetables with meat
- Heat grill to medium heat
- Grill kabobs until chicken is cooked through
- Combine basil, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper in a blender or food processor until combined
- Brush basil mixture over kabobs