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Healthy Grilled Veggie Kabobs

Veggie Kabobs are so easy to make, and they are a huge crowd-pleaser at summer barbecues or any time of year!

veggie kabobs with corn, purple onion, tomato, and peppers on black pan

Contrary to popular belief, there are lots of vegan grilling options including veggie kabobs, corn on the cob, tofu steaks, asparagus, leeks, and much more. Vegetable kabobs (aka vegan kebabs, not kidding) happen to be a favorite of my family.

We love vegetable kabobs because they’re…

  • Simple
  • Great for cookouts
  • Crowd-pleasers
  • Colorful
  • Packed with nutrients
  • A good reason not to heat up the kitchen
  • Delicious!

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How to make grilled vegetable kabobs

Making vegetable skewers on the grill is super simple and always begins with a great marinade and your favorite vegetables.  

vegan kebabs on black grill plate

Vegetables

Some of the vegetables I like to use on my vegetable skewers are mushrooms, onions, red bell peppers, zucchini, squash, corn, and even pineapple.

I am often asked what knives I use and recommend for cooking, and my favorite brand is Victorinox Swiss Army Cutlery. Yes, that’s the same company that makes the Swiss Army Knife. These knives come with a lifetime guarantee and are very reasonably priced. I absolutely love mine.

Start by cutting the veggies you want to use into bite-sized pieces that will hold well on wood or stainless skewers.

I also like to add tofu to my kabobs as well.

Kabob marinade

Choose a healthy shish kabob marinade you like, or make my simple Asian Sauce.

Marinade sauce ingredients include

  • soy sauce
  • lemon or lime juice
  • water
  • minced garlic
  • sweetener 

A full list of ingredients, measurements, instructions, and a print button can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

Tips for the kabob marinade

I use this sauce, not only for a marinade, but also for stir-fries, dipping sauce, and rice flavoring.

The nice thing about using it as a marinade for plant-based grilling is that once your veggies are marinated, you don’t have to discard it like you do after it has touched raw meats.

I collect mine in a bowl and pour it over the rice with veggie kabobs for extra flavor.

Sometimes, I even add a little thickener like cornstarch or arrowroot powder, whisk together in a bowl, and heat in the microwave to make a gravy.

arrowroot powder in clear bowl on cutting board with measuring spoons

There are many different marinades to choose from, and this is just one. For more ideas, check out my Stir Fry Sauces page, because they work really well as marinades. 

Making the skewers

I like to marinate my veggies and tofu for at least 30 minutes or even overnight before cooking.

Once they are marinated well, slide the veggie pieces and tofu onto the skewers and place on a hot grill.

Cook and turn as needed to get the kabobs nice and brown on each side.

Freeze tofu for veggie kabobs

A helpful hint when grilling tofu, for either kabobs or tofu steaks, is to freeze the tofu first for at least 2 weeks, and longer is better. This makes the tofu much more firm which enables it to stay on the skewer better. Freezing is not required for this recipe, but it’s helpful.

I always bring tofu home from the grocery store and immediately place it in the freezer. That way, I always have some handy and ready to use in recipes like veggie kabobs or tofu steaks.

block of tofu with three chunks in front and mint leaf, chopstick on side

Tips for defrosting frozen tofu

There are a few different options for defrosting.

Transfer from freezer to refrigerator and allow to defrost. This will take up to 48 hours.

Place frozen tofu on the countertop and let it thaw for a couple of hours.

Remove tofu from plastic tub and place in a microwave-safe bowl. Defrost in the microwave on defrost setting.

Submerge in a large bowl of hot water. If you are in a big hurry, you’ll want to dump the water after about 15 minutes and refill with more hot water. This is the quickest method for defrosting without a microwave.

Watch the 5-minute video of me using it in a Breakfast Scramble to see for yourself how freezing ahead of time changes the texture and firmness of tofu.

Your Questions Answered:

Q: Can the marinade be saved and reused for something else?

A: Yes! I do this all the time. It’s great not having to waste the marinade.

Q: How long should these be marinated?

A: The longer the better. If you can allow for a few hours, that will produce good results. Overnight is even better!

Q: Can these be roasted in the oven rather than on the grill?

A: I haven’t cooked them in the oven, but I would think setting the oven to 450 degrees for about 25 minutes should work.

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More vegan grilling ideas

Minimalist Baker has a terrific Jamaican Jerk Grilled Eggplant recipe that you might want to check out. Just leave out the oil, and you’ll have a heart-healthy dinner.

Check out our Grilling for Vegans page for more outdoor cooking ideas.

veggie kabobs with corn, purple onion, tomato, and peppers on black pan

Veggie Kabobs

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Veggie Kabobs are so easy to make, and they are a huge crowd pleaser at summer barbecues or any time of year!

Ingredients

Veggie Kabobs

  • 12-15 oz firm tofu
  • 12-18 large button or portobello mushrooms
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium squash
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 1 small onion
  • 12 cherry tomatoes (optional)

Asian Sauce

Instructions

  1. Drain and press water from tofu. A helpful hint when grilling tofu, for either kabobs or tofu steaks, is to freeze the tofu first for at least 2 weeks. This makes the tofu much more firm which enables it to stay on the skewer much better. Freezing is not required for this recipe, but it's helpful.
  2. Prepare Asians Sauce as a marinade by whisking all ingredients below in large bowl.
  3. Adjust all ingredients for your taste.
  4. Cut tofu, zucchini, squash, bell pepper, and onions into bite-size chunks.
  5. Place dice tofu and vegetables into the large bowl with marinade. Allow to marinate for at least 30-minutes. Longer is better. A great option is to marinate in the refrigerator all day or overnight to enhance flavor.
  6. Use wooden or stainless skewers and skew all the veggies and tofu as pictured in the article.
  7. Cook on a hot grill for 20-30 minutes, turning often to cook evenly.
  8. Serve with salad, baked potato, or corn on the cob.

Notes

Detailed instructions, in-process photos, and my personal helpful tips can be found in the article above.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 116Total Fat: 3.1gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgCarbohydrates: 17.3gFiber: 4.8gProtein: 8.7g

To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

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Karen Miletic

Monday 27th of May 2019

If you are freezing the tofu before grilling, do you have to let it thaw or defrost before grilling? Also, do you have to press the water out when you take it from the freezer or do you just cut it and make kebabs?

EatPlant-Based.com

Monday 27th of May 2019

That's a very good question! I should have included that information in the article. It has now been added, and I hope it will be helpful. Thanks for bringing it to my attention! Here's a recap of what has been added. Defrosting frozen tofu There are a few different options for defrosting.

Transfer from freezer to refrigerator and allow to defrost. This will take up to 48 hours. Place frozen tofu on the counter top and let it thaw for a couple of hours. Remove tofu from plastic tub and place in a microwave-safe bowl. Defrost in the microwave on defrost setting. Submerge in a large bowl of hot water. If you are in a big hurry, you’ll want to dump the water after about 15 minutes and refill with more hot water. This is the quickest method for defrosting without a microwave. Watch the 5-minute video to see for yourself how freezing ahead of time changes the texture and firmness of tofu.