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Taste the rainbow with these beautiful plant-based Rainbow Grilled Vegan Veggie Kebab Skewers that are naturally vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, Paleo, allergen-friendly and packed with antioxidants, dietary fiber, and important vitamins & minerals.
Grilled Veggie Kebabs For a Party or BBQ
With summer just around the corner, grilling season has officially begun!
Thankfully, all vegetables taste better when grilled, so now is a perfect time to work on eating more veggies and actually ENJOYING them.
These rainbow grilled veggie kabobs are the perfect vegetarian entree or side dish for any grilling occasion. Not only are your veggie options endless, but these kabobs are just so easy to make once you have your mise en place set up.
I am always encouraging my holistic health counseling clients to try new recipes and these beautiful Rainbow Grilled Vegan Veggie Kabobs are perfect for the next cookout or backyard BBQ.
I teach my clients that when you bring a tasty dish to a party with you, you ensure that there is a healthy option for you and the whole family to enjoy. In many cases, this helps to eliminate much of the stress that comes along with trying to eat healthy at social events.
I also love the ease and convenience of these veggie kabobs. You can prepare them ahead of time and bring them to a party with you and simply pull them out when you’re ready to grill.
And don’t think you need to stick with plain old veggies, you can choose a variety of marinades and glazes to infuse flavor and taste into each bite.
These Kebabs are a crowd pleaser, and as a plus, they can easily be paired with other Kebabs that may or may not contain grilled meats to ensure all dietary preferences are honored.
Kabob vs. Kebab – Is There a Difference?
There is no major difference between the spellings of kabob and kebab and they can be used interchangeably.
The general consensus is that kebab or kabob is a broad term covering a wide variety of grilled meat dishes, originally inspired by Middle Eastern cuisine.
For the purpose of this blog post, we are going to focus on a grilled and skewered vegetable kabob or kebab dish for a plant-forward option that can be consumed as a plant-based entree or to accompany more traditional shish kebab recipes that also feature grilled meats like lamb, pork, or beef.
Do You Need a Veggie Kabob Marinade?
To marinate or not to marinate, that is the question.
Luckily, you can make this recipe with or without a marinade and it will still taste great.
If you are in a hurry to whip something together, simply sprinkling the veggie kabobs with a generous seasoning of salt and ground black pepper does the trick.
However, if you have the time to dedicate to marinating your veggies before grilling, you will enhance the overall flavor profile and taste of the skewers.
While just about any marinade will do, a few of our favorites include:
- Agave Balsamic Sauce (recipe below)
- Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Italian Dressing
- Spiedie Marinade
For this recipe, we are simply using salt and pepper before grilling followed by a delicious Agave Balsamic Sauce after grilling for sweetness, flavor, and texture.
Vegan Kebab Ingredients & Health Benefits
These vegan kebabs truly let you taste the rainbow with a variety of flavors and textures that come along with the use of seven different plant-based ingredients including: tomatoes, peppers, squash, zucchini, eggplant, red onions, and portobello mushrooms.
Red » Grape Tomatoes
For this recipe, you can use any type of small tomatoes that you like, including grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and more. I typically use whatever I have on hand growing in my garden at the time.
Lycopene, an important carotenoid found in tomatoes, is one of the health-promoting antioxidants you always hear about in the news.
With the help of lycopene, tomatoes have been praised for their ability to help ward off heart disease and cancer. They also contain many very important vitamins and minerals including vitamin C and vitamin K.
While some people are confused about the health benefits of tomatoes due to their classification as a ‘nightshade’, I have found that for 99/100 people, tomatoes are health-promoting, not health reducing.
While some of my food sensitivity testing clients may test positive for food chemical reactions to solanine or lecithin – two chemical compounds suspected to cause sensitivities for those who are intolerant of nightshades – it is more rare and individualized than many believe.
Orange » Bell Peppers
Bell peppers are also part of the nightshade family but contain many important nutrients and phytonutrients that support good health. The vibrant orange, red, or yellow color seen in bell peppers is largely due to their high carotenoid content.
Peppers are a nutrient-dense food because they do not contain a lot of calories, but they do contain a lot of vitamins and minerals per serving.
One cup of sliced bell pepper contains just 30 calories while providing over 150% of the recommended daily value of vitamin A.
Yellow » Summer Squash
Yellow squash, also called summer squash, are abundant in the summer months, typically overflowing in the garden or local farmers market. They have a very mild flavor and a firm texture, making them versatile to cook with.
Yellow squash is packed with dietary fiber and beneficial nutrients like vitamins A and C and minerals like potassium and folate.
Like tomatoes and bell peppers, their vibrant yellow color is in part from the carotenoids found within the fruit. Important nutrients like lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-cryptoxanthin are abundant in yellow squash.
Right behind carrots and sweet potatoes, yellow summer squash is the 3rd richest source of beta-carotene. And to maximize those nutrition benefits, be sure to leave the skin on, as that is where the majority of the important nutrients are held.
Green » Zucchini
Zucchini, a popular type of summer squash, is a hearty vegetable that makes the perfect base for many different entrée style dishes like these veggie skewers.
Zucchinis are low in calories but contain important nutrients like vitamin C & K, folate, riboflavin, potassium and manganese. Packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients, zucchini can help to improve digestion, regulate blood sugar levels, and may even help to support thyroid function.
Beyond veggie skewers, zucchini make excellent zucchini noodles – called zoodles, which are delicious in cold salads and cooked dishes.
Agave Balsamic Sauce:
- ½ cup of agave syrup
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
- ½ teaspoon granulated onion
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the Veggie Skewers
- 2 small zucchini (1.5-2" diameter), cut into 1/2 inch coins
- 2 small yellow squash or golden zucchini (1.5-2" diameter), cut into 1/2 inch coins
- 1 small eggplant, cut into 1.5"x1.5"x1/2" thick pieces
- 2 orange bell peppers, ends and center removed, cut into 1.5" squares.
- 1 red onion, peeled and cut in half. Then cut each half into fourths.
- 1 pint of grape or cherry tomatoes, washed
- 1 pound baby portobello mushrooms, washed and de-stemmed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 12-16 wooden or metal skewers
- high-quality cooking spray
For the Agave Balsamic Sauce
- In a squeeze bottle or a mason jar with a tight fitting lid, combine the agave syrup, balsamic vinegar, black pepper, crushed red pepper, granulated garlic, granulated onion, and salt. Replace the cap or lid and shake vigorously.
- Set aside until the skewers are cooked.
- Shake again just before serving.
For the Veggie Kabobs
- Place your vegetables on the skewers in any manner you wish. We went for colors of the rainbow by adding: 1 mushroom, 2 pieces of eggplant, 1 wedge of red onion, 2 pieces of zucchini, 2 pieces of yellow squash, 3 pieces of orange pepper, 2 tomatoes, finished with 1 mushroom.
- You can grill your kabobs right away or cover them and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before grilling.
- Just before grilling, generously sprinkle each skewer with salt and black pepper and spray with a good amount of cooking spray so they don’t stick to the grill.
- Preheat the grill to high heat. (If you have a very powerful grill, you may want to cook the kabobs on a top rack to prevent burning.
- Place the kabobs on the grill and cook for 2-minutes per side, flipping to cook on each of the 4 sides of the skewer.
- Cook until you achieve your desired doneness.
- Remove the kabobs from the grill and generously drizzle each kabob with the agave balsamic sauce just before serving.
*All vegetable cuts should be similiar in size and thickness for uniform cooking.
*You can use the Agave Balsamic Sauce as a marinade for the skewers before cooking.
*Remember to soak your wooden skewers in water for a few minutes before skewering your vegetables. This will keep them from catching fire on the grill!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1 kabob
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 70 Total Fat: 1g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 75mg Carbohydrates: 16g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 11g Protein: 2g
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Welcome! I’m Emily Kyle, a nationally recognized media registered dietitian nutritionist & holistic cannabis practitioner providing holistic health care for those living with autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. To help you, I offer food sensitivity testing, cannabis education, and this blog which provides free resources including anti-inflammatory recipes, holistic health, wellness and nutrition related articles, and evidence-based cannabis education.