Marinated in lots of fresh lemon and garlic and served with a flavorful homemade romesco sauce for dipping, these grilled lemon garlic chicken kabobs are perfect for any summer cookout!
Hello, summer! Hope your grill is fired up and ready to go cause we’re full steam ahead into all the grilling recipes the next few months.
Kicking things off are these lemony garlicky chicken kabobs paired with the most INCREDIBLE homemade romesco sauce for all your dipping needs.
AKA just pure summer on a plate.
These kabobs are so packed with flavor they’re incredible on their own, but paired with the flavor bomb that is romesco sauce and it just takes them to another level.
Something I’d willingly eat every dang night of this summer.
These Chicken Kabobs feature…
- Perfectly juicy chicken cubes marinated in fresh lemon, garlic, and herbs
- Tender grilled zucchini and red onion
- A smoky, flavorful romesco sauce
Making the Chicken Kabobs
(scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full recipe)
Ingredients You Will Need
- Sweet pepper
- Ancho chiles
- White wine vinegar
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice
- Boneless skinless chicken thighs
- Red onion
Choosing Your Chicken
We recommend using boneless skinless chicken thighs for these kabobs. This cut of chicken is fast to cook on the grill and turns out juicy every single time.
If you don’t have thighs on hand, boneless skinless chicken breasts will work great instead. They won’t cook up quite as juicy as thighs but they will still be delicious.
What Is Romesco?
Romesco sauce originates from the northeastern region of Spain and typically features roasted tomatoes and peppers as a base with an abundance of roasted garlic, nuts, vinegar, stale bread, and olive oil providing flavor and texture.
Typically romesco has a little bite of smoky heat and is a very flavorful sauce that goes well with seafood, grilled meats, and vegetables.
Our version of romesco lightly differs from the traditional one since we’re using readily-available ingredients like fresh tomatoes, sweet pepper, and dried ancho chiles to make up the sauce base, but it is very similar in flavor!
Tips for Perfect Chicken Kabobs
- Use fresh ingredients in marinade – fresh garlic, lemon juice, and herbs make a huge difference flavor-wise in the marinade.
- Cut chicken in uniform cubes – ideally you want 1-inch chicken cubes that are all around the same size so they cook at the same rate.
- Marinate chicken at least 2 hours – a good rule of thumb with marinating is 2 hours if you’re in a hurry and up to 12 if you’ve got some extra time.
- Marinate chicken on bottom shelf of fridge – it’s always a good idea to keep raw meats away from fresh produce and on the bottom shelf of your fridge to reduce risk of cross contamination.
- Oven roast tomatoes, garlic, and peppers for romesco – this softens them perfectly and helps the skins slide right off.
- Rehydrate ancho chiles – allow the chiles to soften in boiling water about 15 minutes until they’re tender.
- Use a food processor or blender – this sauce requires a lot of heavy blending to get the ingredients to break down. We prefer a food processor, but a blender will also work.
- Process sauce until smooth – this may take up to 2 minutes of continuous blending to get the sauce completely smooth.
- Warm sauce before serving – the romesco sauce can be made up several days in advance and stored in fridge. We recommend reheating either on stovetop or in the microwave before serving with the kabobs.
Try these ideas for a different twist on these kabobs!
- Try different vegetables – sweet pepper, summer squash, cherry tomatoes, or sweet onion would be great veggie replacements.
- Skip the chicken – you can make these kabobs entirely veggie using your favorites. Marinate the vegetables in the lemon garlic marinade about 30 minutes before grilling.
- Make sauce mild – use only 1 ancho pepper for a more mild sauce.
- Make sauce extra spicy – in addition to the ancho chiles, add a few shakes of cayenne pepper for a spicier sauce.
These kabobs can be served alone with the romesco sauce for a lighter veggie + meat-heavy dinner, but it also goes well with a variety of side dishes!
We love serving these kabobs alongside steamed rice, couscous, buttered noodles, or a thick slice of crusty bread for dipping in the sauce. The best part is that there’s so much extra romesco sauce that gets into everything on your plate!
This is just summer eats done the right way! It’s simple, yet an absolute explosion of flavors from the marinated chicken + grilled vegetables to the smoky, bold romesco sauce that coats everything in its goodness.
We’ll be dreaming of these kabobs and undoubtedly making them all summer.
Save this recipe using the ‘save to recipe box’ button below. If you make it, please let us know! Leave a comment + star rating below, or take a photo and tag it on Instagram with #wholeandheavenlyoven.
More chicken favorites to throw on the grill!
- Grilled Jerk Chicken Kabobs
- Beer Marinated Chicken Kabobs
- Grilled Chimichurri Chicken and Vegetables
Lemon Garlic Chicken Kabobs with Romesco Sauce
- 3 medium tomatoes (about 1 lb) cored and quartered
- 1 medium sweet pepper, cored and quartered
- 3 medium whole cloves garlic
- 2 medium dried ancho chiles
- 1 slice toasted or stale bread, torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Lemon Garlic Chicken Kabobs
- 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1-1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 large red onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 large zucchini, cut into 1/2-in slices
- Preheat oven to 400F. Line a medium sheet pan with parchment paper and arrange tomato halves and red pepper halves cut-side down and garlic on sheet pan.
- Roast tomatoes, pepper, and garlic at 400F 30-35 minutes until softened and slightly blistered in spots. Allow to cool slightly, then remove skin from tomatoes, pepper, and garlic and discard.
- Place ancho chiles in a medium bowl and carefully pour boiling water over top. Place something heavy on top of peppers to fully submerge them in water for 15 minutes to allow them to soften.
- Remove peppers from water and transfer to a cutting board. Remove stem and seeds and finely chop pepper.
- Place ancho chiles, roasted tomatoes, red pepper, garlic, bread pieces, almonds, vinegar, and olive oil in a food processor or blender. Process sauce until smooth, scraping down sides as necessary. Season romesco with salt and pepper to taste and store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Lemon Garlic Chicken Kabobs
- In a large bowl, whisk lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper until combined.
- Place chicken in a sealable bag or a bowl and pour marinade over top. Seal bag shut and place on a plate or cover bowl. Marinate chicken in fridge at least 2 hours or up to 12.
- Remove chicken from marinade and pat dry with paper towels, discarding marinade. Thread chicken onto skewers with red onion and zucchini.
- Grill kabobs over medium-high heat, turning occasionally until chicken registers 165F and vegetables are tender. Serve chicken warm with romesco sauce and enjoy!