What Is a Vegetable Kabob?

Donna Johnson
Donna Johnson
Zucchini, which is often included in vegetable kabobs.
Zucchini, which is often included in vegetable kabobs.

A kabob, also known as a shish kabob, is a dish consisting of pieces of food that are cooked and served while threaded onto metal or wooden skewers. Bits of meat may also be included, as in a beef kabob or chicken kabob. A vegetable kabob is comprised only of chunks of vegetables, making it an ideal choice for people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, or as a side dish with a meat-based meal. Those made of vegetables may be prepared in a variety of ways, using any combination of vegetables.

Cauliflower may be included on a vegetable kabob.
Cauliflower may be included on a vegetable kabob.

Serving a vegetable kabob raw, with or without salad dressing or another form of dip, allows the pieces to maintain a crunchy, crisp texture. Children may also be persuaded to eat their vegetables if they are presented as a bright, colorful skewer instead of just laid out on a plate. Young children, the elderly and those who are missing teeth can enjoy raw vegetable kabobs if the pieces are microwaved or steamed for a short time prior to serving. This extra step does not serve to fully cook the vegetable bits, but only to tenderize them just enough to facilitate ease of chewing and minimize choking risk.

A variety of bright vegetables can be used when making kabobs.
A variety of bright vegetables can be used when making kabobs.

Another popular option, particularly in the summer months, is grilling kabobs. Vegetable kabobs can be served alone, or along with hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken or other traditional cook-out foods. For best results, the wooden skewers should be soaked in water for approximately 30 minutes prior to cooking kabobs. Vegetable chunks that are about one inch (2.54 cm) in size work best, as they will not take too long to cook and only require occasional turning. Each kabob may take anywhere from nine to 20 minutes to cook, depending on the thickness of the vegetable pieces and the desired level of tenderness and charring.

Vegetable kabobs should be microwaved prior to consumption by older individuals, so as to reduce the risk of choking.
Vegetable kabobs should be microwaved prior to consumption by older individuals, so as to reduce the risk of choking.

A vegetable kabob that is prepared for grilling may also be marinated for at least two hours prior to cooking. Marinades may contain lemon juice, vegetable or olive oil, and various spices. Cooks who are short on time may simply brush a marinade on the kabobs several times while cooking, or give the vegetables a light coating of butter if the diners are not vegan.

Grilling vegetable kabobs is a popular way to prepare them.
Grilling vegetable kabobs is a popular way to prepare them.

Nearly any type of vegetable may be used in kabobs. Raw kabobs work especially well with small foods, such as cherry or grape tomatoes, broccoli or cauliflower florets, mushrooms, and radishes. A grilled vegetable kabob may also include various colors of onions and peppers as well as zucchini or squash. Whatever vegetables or preparation method are chosen, alternating the pieces on the vegetable kabob will result in a more attractive dish with combinations of flavors.

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    • Zucchini, which is often included in vegetable kabobs.
      Zucchini, which is often included in vegetable kabobs.
    • Cauliflower may be included on a vegetable kabob.
      Cauliflower may be included on a vegetable kabob.
    • A variety of bright vegetables can be used when making kabobs.
      A variety of bright vegetables can be used when making kabobs.
    • Vegetable kabobs should be microwaved prior to consumption by older individuals, so as to reduce the risk of choking.
      Vegetable kabobs should be microwaved prior to consumption by older individuals, so as to reduce the risk of choking.
    • Grilling vegetable kabobs is a popular way to prepare them.
      Grilling vegetable kabobs is a popular way to prepare them.
    • Vegetable kabobs can be served alongside other traditional barbecue foods like hot dogs.
      Vegetable kabobs can be served alongside other traditional barbecue foods like hot dogs.