When fresh herbs start to grow like weeds in the late summer months, there’s nothing better than using handfuls of them in fresh and bright sauces. From zingy pesto to easy chopped gremolata, herby marinades, and everything in between, fresh herbs can help liven up any dish. One of my favorite ways to use a wide variety of fresh herbs is in chimichurri, a sauce normally made with parsley, cilantro, and other herbs, drizzled (or slathered) lovingly over grilled chicken kabobs with summer vegetables.
Chimichurri is a sauce essential to Argentinian cuisine and typically spooned on everything from grilled steak to seafood. Unlike pesto or other sauces, chimichurri contains no nuts or cheese and is instead filled with herbaceous superfoods. In this recipe, we’re adding the sauce to grilled chicken kabobs with veggies for an easy summer meal that will make you Queen (or King) or the barbecue.
Thanks to so many fresh herbs, (hello cilantro, mint, parsley, and oregano) this sauce is packed with nutritious benefits. Notably, cilantro is considered one of the most powerful and detoxifying herbs around. According to Rebecca Wood, author of "The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia," cilantro is commonly believed to safely remove toxins, including heavy metals, from the nervous system and body tissues. Cilantro (along with parsley) is a natural diuretic that may help naturally expel toxins from the body while supporting and protecting the liver. Like cilantro, parsley also amps up the detoxifying properties while providing micronutrient support. According to Wood, parsley is a superior source of vitamin A, has three times as much vitamin C as oranges, and twice as much iron as spinach.
Along with fresh herbs, this sauce packs in olive oil for a boost of healthy fats that support the health of your heart, brain, skin, and may even be protective against damage from GMOs.
Another star ingredient, garlic, is an underrated superfood, which also boasts properties that support the health of your heart. In fact, numerous studies note the amazing effects of garlic consumption to have significant effects on lowering blood pressure, preventing plaque buildup in the arteries, reducing serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels, inhibiting platelet aggregation, and protection against blood clots. Other chimichurri sauce ingredients include cumin and red pepper flakes for a hint of spice and red wine vinegar for a zingy kick.
Like all kabob recipes, this one is easy to customize using seasonal ingredients. If you don’t happen to have any bell peppers, swap them out for extra zucchini, cherry tomatoes, or even mushrooms. You can easily make this recipe vegan by omitting the chicken or subbing tofu if you prefer.
Of course, when it comes to purchasing chicken, look for organic and pasture-raised chicken breasts that haven’t been given antibiotics. The best place to find organic, humanely raised chicken? The selection at your natural grocery store or local farmers market will be the best place to find a good bird.
With so much green herb goodness plus freshly grilled chicken and summer vegetables, this easy grilled chicken kabob recipe with herbed chimichurri sauce is just the perfect dish to serve at any midsummer barbecue.
Grilled Chicken Kabobs with Herbed Chimichurri Sauce
Grilled Chicken Kabobs:
2 lemons, juiced
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to season
4-5 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed (2 pounds)
2 zucchini, sliced into 1-inch rounds
1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
1 red bell pepper, quartered
1 orange bell pepper, quartered
Herbed Chimichurri Sauce:
1-½ cups chopped cilantro
½ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup chopped mint
3 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
4 garlic cloves
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp sea salt
⅓ cup red wine vinegar
¾ cup olive oil
For the chimichurri sauce: Finely chop cilantro, parsley, mint, oregano, and garlic, or place in a food processor to pulse for a few seconds. Place chopped herbs and garlic in a bowl and add in red pepper flakes, cumin, sea salt, red wine vinegar, and whisk in olive oil. Adjust seasonings if necessary by adding in more salt or red pepper flakes. Serve immediately or cover and store in the refrigerator for a 3-4 days. Allow chimichurri to return to room temperature before serving, if chilled.
For the grilled chicken kabobs: Prepare chicken marinade in a baking dish by combining lemon juice, olive oil, herbs, garlic, sea salt, and freshly ground pepper. Add in cubed chicken breast and roll to coat. Cover dish and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.
When ready to grill chicken, prepare kabobs by alternating pieces of marinated chicken with chopped vegetables. If you have extra marinade, brush it on the vegetables.
Heat grill to medium-high and spray with a non-stick cooking spray. Place kabobs on grill and cook until chicken is completely cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. Use tongs to flip kabobs around from time to time so they don’t burn.
Remove grilled chicken and vegetables from skewers and serve with chimichurri sauce over a grain like quinoa, freekah, or brown rice. Enjoy!
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Images by Kate Gavlick