A collection of seasonal recipes and stories

grilled vegetable kabobs

I’ve always wanted to be the kind of person who can wander through the grocery or farmers market and spontaneously plan a meal based on what looks good.  But I’m not.  I’m more the kind of person who, if she doesn’t have a carefully crafted list in hand, will come home with a random assortment of lovely-looking stuff, none of which has any business being on the same plate.  

So while ordinarily I try to have at least a general idea of what I might like to make before coming into close contact with vegetables, it doesn’t always work out that way.  Like on my last trip to the farmers market, for example.

I was accompanied by my mom, who doesn’t particularly enjoy cooking or even eating, but who really likes buying things.  She’s also the kind of person who keeps four bottles of ketchup on hand.  Just in case.

So it should really come as no surprise to anyone that our unsupervised visit to the farmers market yielded thirteen ears of corn, a pound of eggplant, two pints of cherry tomatoes, a pound of zucchini, two pounds of squash, five large onions, several peppers, and two pounds of potatoes.  Oh, and no plan.

Fortunately, my family was visiting.  Because A) as crafty as I may be, there’s no way in hell I could trick Chris into eating that many vegetables and B) these grilled vegetable kabobs have been a summertime staple at my house ever since one of us clipped the recipe out of some now-forgotten magazine years ago.

Although the balsamic marinade gives the vegetables a delicious sweet-tanginess and the grill imparts the perfect amount of charred smokiness, I suspect our affinity for these kabobs lies in the fact that you can do all your chopping in the morning, head to the beach for the rest of the day, come home after sunset and have dinner on the table before anyone’s even finished their first cocktail.  Plus did I mention they’re exceedingly yummy?  Like summer on a stick.

Grilled Vegetable Kabobs
(serves 4)

5 c. vegetables (squash, onions, eggplant, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, etc.)
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. chopped tomato
2 T. maple syrup (the real stuff, not that Mrs. Butterworth’s® crap)
2 T. chopped fresh herbs (basil and thyme are nice)
1 T. lemon juice
4 cloves minced garlic
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper

1) Cut the vegetables into bite-size pieces or leave them whole, depending on their shape.  (For example, you’d want to chop up zucchini but not so much the cherry tomatoes.)  Place them in a large bowl.

2) Whisk together the remaining ingredients, pour the marinade over the vegetables and stir to coat.  Refrigerate.

3) Sit on the beach and have a few beers, allowing the vegetables to marinate for several hours (anywhere from 1 to 24 hours of marinating will do).

4) Thread the vegetables onto bamboo or metal skewers.  If you’re using bamboo skewers, it’s a good idea to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes so they don’t catch on fire when you put them on the grill.

5) Grill the kabobs over medium heat for about 8-10 minutes, turning once.

31 responses

  1. …and now I’m hungry. This looks great. Can you grill potatoes on the kebabs too?

    August 14, 2008 at 12:40 pm

  2. Megan

    I’ve never had much luck grilling potatoes – they tend to fall apart, especially if you try to skewer them. I think if you could grill potatoes in a grill basket or grill pan though, as long as your parboiled them for a bit first so they’d cook through before completely charring on the outside. We just roasted ours in the oven with some olive oil and salt & pepper.

    August 14, 2008 at 1:33 pm

  3. Dr. Monkey

    I’ll give these a try after we get moved and get a grill.

    August 14, 2008 at 4:33 pm

  4. OMG, I just went to the store today and got eggplant, yellow and green squash, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and onions with the idea to grill them. I was going to put them in a salad but now I think I will try your recipe… no beach around (until this weekend when I visit my sis) but we’ll watch Olympic beach volleyball instead for a couple hours. :)

    August 14, 2008 at 6:39 pm

  5. Megan

    I’m all for substitutions and modifications!

    August 15, 2008 at 11:00 pm

  6. Tony

    I love doing veggies on the grill. I also found some good tips for grilling corn here: https://backyard.netshops.com/#l=topic&i=495

    August 21, 2008 at 11:18 am

  7. I made this last night. The marinade turned out very well, even though I forgot the chopped tomatoes. I love the sweet flavor. I made kebabs with cippoline onions, pear tomatoes, eggplant, and some cute brown peppers I got at the market, and they were fantastic despite my rudimentary grilling skills.

    August 24, 2008 at 2:56 pm

  8. Megan

    Tony – Thanks for the visit and the tip. Grilling is my absolute favorite thing to do with corn. Mark Bittman is also a big fan.

    Clare – Sounds lovely, and I’m glad you liked it!

    August 25, 2008 at 6:20 pm

  9. Sunny Christopher

    This is the perfect solution for my dilemma – I am going out of town tomorrow – and I went nuts at the farmers market on Sunday. I can’t resist the beautiful tiny eggplants or heirloom tomatoes or gorgeous squash. So I have refrigerator full, an entire day of packing/cleaning and don’t want a huge mess in the kitchen. Perfect simple and delicious sounding recipe. I am looking forward to exploring your blog. Wish I had time for the beach today.

    May 12, 2010 at 8:07 am

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  11. Carolyn Boyce


    Im interested in getting permission to use the photo vegetable quartet. It is an image of zucchini, cherry tomatoes, purple peppers and purple eggplant.

    Do you have any information on if this would be possible?

    Carolyn Boyce


    February 22, 2011 at 12:09 am

  12. Thanks for posting this recipe! I want to try it for the 4th of July this week. Technical question: Is the 1/4 cup of chopped tomato in this recipe a part of the marinade?

    July 1, 2012 at 12:19 pm

  13. …and do you think I can substitute the maple syrup for honey? Thanks!

    July 1, 2012 at 12:23 pm

  14. tamijo2

    I am going to try this soon as part of my heathier me!!

    January 1, 2013 at 1:12 pm

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  17. Robin

    Yes, you can do potatoes, just use fingerlings or tiny red ones, our farmer’s Markets are carrying both right now (July in WI)….yummmm. Trouble with using large ones cut up is as you said, they tend to fall apart.

    July 8, 2013 at 1:31 pm

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  25. Linnea

    Can you use this marinade on steak?? I know I used it in chicken. I was worried about contamination so did it seperate chicken in a bag with marinade and veghies desperate bag eith marinade. Raw meat and veggies sitting for hours scarde me? If do steak is it same amount if matinade time tine 1-24 hours. Wgen i dud chicken it was hatd to get all veggies and chicken cooked through all together so next time someobe suggested wrap in foil til well done meat then put direct on grill last few minutes get grill char and smoke flavor. This marinade is not like any other I have seen. Thanks for response in advance

    May 17, 2018 at 6:59 pm

    • I don’t eat beef and have no experience cooking it, so I’m sorry but I really can’t say! I don’t see any food safety reason why it couldn’t be used on beef, but I definitely wouldn’t marinate beef and veggies together, or expect them to cook at the same rate. Good luck! If you try it, post another comment to let us know. :)

      May 17, 2018 at 7:26 pm

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