Embrace the summer grilling vibes with these Teriyaki Chicken and Pineapple Kebabs!
What is it with grilling and summer?!
Is it the food? The time outdoors? The smell of the food cooking as it wafts overhead? I think it’s all of those things. They all come together to make grilling an indispensable part of summer. I know this because I grill all year round. I always have – even living in Alaska, Minnesota and Montana I’d find myself out there in snow boots and mittens happily grilling away. And although a grilled meal is pretty fab in the winter I find that it’s something extra amazing in the summer. Who’s with me on this one? Raise ’em up.
Speaking of fab grilled meals, I just had to share these Teriyaki Chicken and Pineapple Kebabs with you this week because they’re a meal I make pretty often in the summer. They’re easy enough for a weeknight dinner and can be prepped ahead by chopping all the veggies and pineapple and mixing up the marinade. They’re also one of my go-to recipes for entertaining because they’re simple and they look great piled on a platter on the picnic table and served with fresh salads and veggie sides.
In fact, they’re so good and so easy that I’ve even served them at catering events – and got rave reviews. I think you’re going to love them too. You can totally switch up the veggies to use what you’ve got on hand or what’s in season.
Some of my favorite veggies and fruits for kebabs include:
- Zucchini or yellow squash, red onion, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, lightly steamed Brussels sprouts, jicama, precooked whole baby red potatoes, bell peppers, precooked corn-on-the cob (slices about 2 inches thick) fresh pineapple, peaches, plums, nectarines and mango.
3 Rules for Perfect Kebabs
I’m a pretty laid back cook and am proud to say that I have very few ‘rules’ when it comes to cooking – but I do have three when it comes to making really great grilled meat and veggie kebabs. Here they are:
- Keep all of the pieces (chicken, veggies and fruit) about the same size so that everything can come into contact with the grill and get a little char on the edges (because grill marks are cool).
- Avoid vegetables like potatoes, winter squash, carrots, corn on the cob and sweet potatoes unless you precook them a bit first.
- Don’t skip the marinade. It’s tempting to skip the marinade and just brush it over the kebabs right before they hit the grill but you’ll get much better flavor and more tender meat if you allow the meat to marinate at least a little while. For this recipe I’ve found that 20-30 minutes is enough to infuse the meat with sweet and salty teriyaki goodness but you can also marinate it for longer (up to 4 hours).
Break out the skewers and light the grill – it’s go time!
Once you’ve got the veggies cut, the meat marinating and the grill fired up it’s time to build some kebabs. Thankfully there aren’t anymore rules to follow – you get to be as creative as you please. Kids don’t like onions? Leave ’em off. Want tomatoes instead of peppers? Add ’em. Really the only thing you have to be thinking about at this point is whether to use wooden or metal skewers (I prefer metal for everyday cooking and the reusability factor and wood for parties when I know I don’t want to be running around at the end of the night in the dark looking for sharp metal skewers that are hiding who knows where…) These are the metal skewers I use. I like their pointed ends and they’re really durable (mine have been going strong for almost 10 years now – so worth the under $20 investment).
Once you’ve got everything threaded onto the skewers it’s time to grill. Depending on how hot your grill is you’ll need about 5-7 minutes (or less) on each side. I use a sturdy leather glove to turn them with my hand by grabbing the loop of metal at the end of the skewer but you can use a set of grill tongs to flip them too – just be sure you don’t squeeze them too hard thus causing the veggies to fall off.
Serve with your favorite sides and salads or over cauliflower rice (homemade or frozen, it’s your call).
- 1 ¼ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 cups fresh pineapple, cut into 1-inch chunks (about ½ of small pineapple)
- 1 large bell pepper, any color, cut into 1-inch pieces
- ½ large red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
- In a small bowl, whisk to combine all ingredients. Add chicken pieces and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate while you prep the vegetables and pineapple and the grill preheats.
- Preheat grill to medium-high direct heat.
- Thread meat, pineapple, peppers and onions onto skewers - alternating as you go.
- Brush leftover marinade over the kebabs.
- Grill over medium-high direct heat, turning every 5 minutes or so until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender.
- Remove from grill and serve.
What are you favorite kebab combos and marinades? Share in the comments below – we love new ideas!
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