Mediterranean Herb Grilled Chicken and Vegetable Kebabs Recipe

Get a taste of sunshine with kebabs covered by a blend of herbs, plus more ideas to use your fresh rosemary
Mediterranean Herb Paste with Grilled Chicken and Summer Vegetable Kebabs
Mediterranean Herb Paste with Grilled Chicken and Summer Vegetable Kebabs

PHOTOGRAPHY TERRY BRENNAN FOOD STYLING LARA MIKLASEVICS

Fresh herbs, whether from the grocery store, farmers market, or your own garden, are a great part of summer. But they are often sold in a bunch larger than you need for one recipe and they keep growing throughout the season in the garden. What do you do with them? Here is a recipe for a flavorful herb paste to use on kebabs—plus scroll down for more ideas to make the most of the leftover rosemary.

Rosemary is the key herb in this adaptable sauce that also features other herbs from the Mediterranean. Its Latin name, Rosmarinus translates to “dew of the sea,” an apt term for this heat- and sun-loving herb, says culinary herbalist and cookbook author Pat Crocker, who created this recipe for Real Food. Rosemary is pungent and spicy, with hints of nutmeg, pine and camphor, so start sparingly and add more gradually as you gauge how much is enough for you, suggests Crocker. A bonus: Science has shown rosemary to be an antioxidant, which may protect us from toxins around us.

Mediterranean Herb Paste with Grilled Chicken and Summer Vegetable Kebabs

Makes 4 Servings

For the Mediterranean Paste
¼ cup chopped fresh rosemary
¼ cup chopped fresh sage
10 cloves garlic
½ cup fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1½-inch cubes
1 onion, cut into quarters
1 red pepper, cut in half, each half quartered
1 medium zucchini, cut into 8 chunks
8 long, metal skewers, lightly oiled
extra-virgin olive oil

  1. For the Mediterranean paste, combine rosemary, sage, and garlic in a food processor. Pulse for 30 seconds or until garlic is coarsely chopped. Add thyme, mustard, salt, and vinegar. With the motor running, slowly add enough oil through the opening in the lid until a soft, paste-like consistency is achieved.
  2. For the kebabs: Heat one side of a gas or charcoal grill to produce a medium-hot fire. Divide the chicken cubes into 4 portions and thread each portion onto a skewer. Rub paste over chicken cubes. Thread vegetables onto remaining skewers in this order for each skewer: red pepper, onion, zucchini, red pepper, zucchini. Drizzle each with oil.
  3. Place chicken skewers on the heat. Cover the grill and sear for 1 to 2 minutes or until browned. Flip the skewer and sear the opposite side for 1 to 2 minutes, or until browned. Add vegetables to the heat and grill for 1 to 2 minutes. Move chicken and vegetable kebabs to the unlit side of the grill. Cover and cook for about 15 to 25 minutes or until chicken juices run clear when pierced with the point of a knife. Note: Vegetables may be cooked before chicken, so remove them as soon as they are done.
  4. In the meantime, scrape remaining Mediterranean paste into a large bowl. Remove cooked vegetables from skewers by running a knife along the skewer, letting vegetables drop into the bowl. Remove chicken from skewers into the bowl and toss to coat well. Serve over greens or cooked rice.

Cook’s Notes:
• If you have a high-speed blender, you can use it to make this paste; however, you may need to stop and scrape the sides of the pitcher and clear the underside of the blades often.
• You can keep the kebabs intact instead of removing to a bowl. Serve kebabs over greens or cooked rice and pass the Mediterranean Paste separately.
• This paste also goes well with any form of lamb—shanks, chops, roasted leg. Rub it over the meat before cooking, and pass the remaining paste separately at the table.

Fresh rosemary sprigs
Fresh rosemary sprigs

PHOTOGRAPHY TERRY BRENNAN FOOD STYLING LARA MIKLASEVICS

More with Rosemary

Have a bunch of rosemary on hand or growing in the garden? Here are more ways to use it:

  • Save sturdy rosemary stems that have been stripped of their leaves and try threading peach or plum halves on them. Broil in the oven or grill on the barbecue.
  • Add chopped, fresh rosemary to canned tomato sauce.
  • Stir 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary into potatoes and other root vegetables before roasting.
  • Combine 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary with ¼ cup liquid honey and brush over chicken or fish, or toss with vegetables for the barbecue.
  • Use fresh rosemary sprigs in marinades for lamb, chicken, or beef.
  • For a smoky, subtle flavor, try lining the grill with dampened rosemary sprigs before grilling chicken.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh rosemary to shortbread ingredients for a pleasantly peppery taste.

Nutrition info Herb Paste with Chicken & Summer Vegetable Kebabs (Per Serving): Calories 625 (249 From Fat); Fat 28g (Sat. 6g); Chol 211mg; Sodium 2134mg; Carb 11g; Fiber 3g; Protein 79g

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Mary Subialka
Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her school-age son, who used to eat beets and Indian food, will one day again think of real food as more than a means to a treat—and later share this with his younger brother.