“Chicken and vegetables” sounds like some sort of boring diet food, but when you skewer them on a stick (food on a stick is always more fun) and drizzle them with the most vibrant and fresh chimichurri sauce, you’ve suddenly got a meal worth remembering. These Chimichurri Chicken Kebabs scream summer and are just waiting to be the star of your next backyard BBQ. But don’t worry, if you don’t have a grill you can just as easily make these using your oven’s broiler, like I did.
What is Chimichurri?
If you’ve never heard of Chimichurri, it’s an amazingly fresh and vibrant sauce hailing from Argentina. It boasts fresh parsley, garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and other herbs and spices. It’s super easy to make and once you do, you’ll want to drizzle it on EVERYTHING. See my Chimichurri Sauce recipe post for more ideas on how to use this amazing sauce.
How to Cook Chimichurri Chicken Kebabs
You have a few options here. The first is to grill over an open flame. The pieces of chicken on these kebabs is quite small, so they cook through within minutes, but for extra security it’s always a good idea to use an instant read thermometer to make sure the internal temperature reaches 165ºF.
Or you can use your oven’s broiler to mimic a grill, like I have done below.
What is a Broiler?
The broiler on your oven is a heat element that provides close, direct heat, very similar to a grill. If you’re using a gas oven, the broiler will be an open gas flame. If you’re using an electric oven, the broiler will be a heating coil. In both cases, the heat is very close to the food, making it great for browning and crisping food.
The location of the oven’s broiler can vary, so you may need to give your oven a quick look. Many ovens have the broiler located on the ceiling of the main cooking compartment, while other ovens will have the broiler located in the drawer below the main cooking compartment. In either location, you should have the ability to adjust the rack up or down to make your food closer or further away from the heat. The closer your food is to the heat, the faster it will cook, so always check your food often when broiling to avoid burning.
Here’s a great article about Broiling from Bon Appétit about broilers and how to maximize their crispy potential, if you’d like more reading.
Make Your Chimichurri Chicken Kebabs Vegetarian
Yeah, that title is an oxymoron, I know. But you do have options to make these kebabs vegetarian. I would try adding one or two more vegetables, and marinating the mushrooms in some chimichurri, like I did the chicken. The mushrooms are like little sponges and will absorb all that awesome flavor. You can also try tofu, but I think the texture of mushrooms would be better than tofu.
Here are some other vegetables that will work great, whether you want to make these vegetarian or just switch up the vegetables to go with your chicken: yellow squash, eggplant, radish, or tomatoes.
Chimichurri Chicken Kebabs
- 1 cup Italian parsley, packed ($0.35)
- 1/2 cup cilantro, packed ($0.19)
- 1/2 cup olive oil ($0.83)
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar ($0.40)
- 3 cloves garlic ($0.24)
- 1 tsp dried oregano ($0.10)
- 1/2 tsp cumin ($0.05)
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper ($0.02)
- 1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)
- 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (3/4 to 1 lb.) ($4.49)
- 1 bell pepper ($0.66)
- 1 zucchini ($0.85)
- 1 red onion ($0.33)
- 8 oz button mushrooms ($0.99)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.26)
- 1 pinch salt and pepper ($0.05)
Optional for serving
- 4 cups cooked rice ($0.47)
- If using wooden skewers, place them in a shallow dish and add an inch or two of water. Soak the skewers as you prepare the ingredients. This prevents them from burning and catching fire from the close, intense heat of the grill or broiler.
- First prepare the chimichurri. Pull the parsley and cilantro leaves from their stems, then chop them finely. Mince the garlic.
- Combine the chopped parsley, cilantro, garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, cumin, crushed red pepper, and salt in a bowl. Stir to combine.
- Cut the chicken breast into 1-inch cubes. Count your chicken pieces so you'll know roughly how many you want to use per skewer later. Place the cubed chicken in a bowl and add two spoonfuls of the prepared chimichurri, saving the remaining chimichurri to drizzle on after cooking. Stir to coat the chicken in the chimichurri.
- Dice the bell pepper, zucchini, mushrooms, and red onion into 1-1.5 inch pieces. Place the vegetables in a large bowl and add 2 Tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss the vegetables until they are well coated in oil.
- Adjust your oven's rack so that the top of a baking sheet or broiler pan will be about 5 inches from the oven's broiler. Turn the broiler on to begin pre-heating.
- Place two wire racks on a baking sheet, or use a broiler pan. Begin building your kebabs by adding chicken and vegetable pieces in random order. I had about 24 chicken pieces, so I used three pieces of chicken per skewer, adding random vegetables between.
- Place your kebabs on the prepared baking sheet or broiler pan. Once all the skewers are filled, place the pan under the broiler. Broil until the tops of the vegetables just begin to brown (about 8-10 minutes). Watch the kebabs closely, as broilers can cook food VERY QUICKLY. Remove the pan from the oven, carefully flip the kebabs and place back under the broiler. Broil until the second side begins to brown (about 4-5 minutes).
- Serve the chimichurri chicken kebabs over a bed of rice with a spoonful or two of the remaining chimichurr drizzled over top.
P.S. This works great as a meal prep!!
Step by Step Photos
If you’re using wooden skewers, begin soaking them in a dish with 1-2 inches of water. This keeps them from burning and catching fire as the kebabs cook.
Make the chimichurri first, since it will be both a marinade for the chicken and a finishing sauce. Pull the leaves from about 1 cup of fresh parsley and 1/2 cup of fresh cilantro. Chop them finely. Mince three cloves of garlic.
Combine the parsley, cilantro, and garlic with 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper, and 1/2 tsp salt.
Cut one boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 3/4 to 1 lb.) into one-inch chunks. Place the cubed chicken in a bowl and add 2 spoonfuls of the prepared chimichurri. Save the rest of the chimichurri for later. Stir the chicken to coat in the chimichurri.
Chop one bell pepper, one red onion, one zucchini, and 8oz. button mushrooms into 1-inch pieces. Place them in a bowl, add 2 Tbsp olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper, then toss until the vegetables are well coated in oil.
Adjust your oven’s rack so that the baking sheet or broiler pan you’ll be using is about 5 inches under the broiler. This was the second level down from the top for me. If I were to put it closer the kebabs would cook a little too fast for my liking and give me a little less control. When they’re still close enough to brown but not at lightning speed, I feel like I have more control.
Place a couple wire cooling racks over a baking sheet or use a broiler pan to allow the kebabs to drain as they broil. Begin to build your chicken kebabs by alternating vegetable and chicken pieces until the skewers are full.
Once all the kebabs are filled, it’s time to broil! Place them under the broiler and cook until the tops just begin to brown on the edges (about 8-10 minutes). Carefully remove them from the oven, flip the kebabs, and cook on the second side until they begin to brown again (4-5 mintes). The second side is always faster because the kebabs are already hot.
See how the juices were able to drain away from the kebabs? This allows them to really brown instead of stewing in their own juices.
To serve the chimichurri chicken kebabs, place them over a bed of rice and drizzle with a couple more spoonfuls of the fresh chimichurri. I highly suggest rice because it will soak up any flavorful runoff of chimichurri!
Slide your chicken and vegetables off the skewer and enjoy!