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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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March 02, 2013

Meat and Vegetable Skewers in Basil Marinade

By Mark Sisson

SkewersWhen the whole family helps prepare a meal, cooking dinner feels less like a job and more like a party. Skewers are especially fun to cook because they allow kids to create and personalize their own meal rather than be handed food that someone else chose for them.

The more meat, seafood and vegetable options you provide, the better. It gives both kids (and adults) a chance to be creative and adventurous. Don’t exclude proteins or veggies that you think your family won’t eat – you might be surprised by the colorful and healthy skewers they put together.

This recipe plans everything out for you, combining a wide variety of proteins and vegetables in a flavorful basil marinade. The avocado sauce served on the side is optional, but most kids love to dip their food into something. You can also consider serving homemade Ranch Dressing, ketchup, or mayo on the side.

Divvy up cooking tasks the best you can. Washing the produce, pouring the marinade over the vegetables and mixing it in with their hands are good tasks for little ones. Older kids can cut meat and veggies and make the dipping sauce. Skewering is the fun part and kids can quickly enjoy the fruits of their labor; cooking the skewers takes less than 15 minutes.

Serves: 4, with possible leftovers

Time in the Kitchen: 30 minutes to 1 hour of prep, depending on how many people are helping, plus 12 to 15 minutes to cook the skewers



  • 2 pounds of tender, boneless meat. Choose some combination of beef, lamb, pork and chicken. (900 g)
  • 1 pound of fish and/or raw shrimp (peeled and deveined) (450)
  • 1 small head of broccoli
  • 4 carrots
  • 4 bell peppers
  • 1 onion
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms (230 g)
  • 1/2 pound small tomatoes (such as cherry or plum) (230g)
  • 3 large handfuls of basil leaves
  • 2 to 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (120 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (15 ml)
  • Salt and pepper

Avocado Sauce:

  • 1 handful of basil leaves
  • 1 avocado, peeled and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (15 ml)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut milk (45 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (30 ml)
  • Salt


Soak wooden skewers in water 30 minutes before using.

Cut the meat either into thin strips 1/4 inch thick and 4 inches long (6 mm and 10 cm) or into 1-inch (2.5 cm) chunks. Place in a large bowl.

Cut the fish into 1-inch chunks. Place in a large bowl (can be combined in a bowl with the shrimp).

Chop the broccoli into florets and cut the carrots into pieces that are about 1/2 inch thick (13 mm) .Steam or microwave the broccoli and carrots until just tender.

Chop the bell peppers, onion and zucchini into pieces that are roughly the same size and thickness.

Cut the mushrooms in half lengthwise.

Put all the vegetables (including tomatoes) in a large bowl or sheet pan.

In a food processor combine the basil leaves with the cloves of garlic, olive oil and lemon juice. Blend until basil leaves and garlic are very finely chopped.

Pour 1/3 of the marinade over the meat, 1/3 over the seafood and 1/3 over the vegetables. Use your hands to mix and evenly coat everything in the marinade. Marinate for 15 minutes at room temperature (or overnight in the refrigerator.)

Step 1

For the most even cooking results, the meat, seafood and veggies should be on their own skewers. However, it’s more fun to combine things. Putting meat and veggies together on some skewers and seafood and veggies together on the other skewers works well.

If the meat is cut into strips, thread it onto the skewers. Chunks of meat and the fish, shrimp and veggies can just be poked through the middle with the skewer. When the skewers are complete, season generously with salt and pepper.

If you get tired of skewering veggies, just skewer some and throw the rest into a large rimmed baking pan. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes under the broiler, stirring several times.

Put the skewers on a grill with medium-high heat or on the top rack of the oven under a broiler on high. Turn twice while cooking. The skewers will cook faster on a grill than under a broiler.

Broiling Skewers

General cooking guidelines:

Meat: 10 to 12 minutes
Fish: 8 to 10 minutes
Shrimp: 6 to 8 minutes
Vegetables: 8 to 12 minutes

Avocado sauce:

Finely chop the basil in the food processor. Scoop the avocado into the food processor and add the lemon juice, coconut milk and olive oil. Blend until smooth. Add salt to taste.


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16 Comments on "Meat and Vegetable Skewers in Basil Marinade"


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4 years 6 months ago

I love making kebabs! You can pretty much use any vegetables you want. The avocado sauce looks great!

4 years 6 months ago

I have to admit.. I’m down with anything that has basil.

Basil and Rosemary are my to favoriteherbs of all time!!

Paleo Bon Rurgundy
4 years 6 months ago

Try basil vanilla ice cream. We used a camping ice cream ball to make vanilla ice cream and we tossed in a bunch of muddled basil. The color was off, or on, depending how you look at it BUT the flavor was banging! With St. Patty’s Day approaching it could be a winner. Especially with some bailey’s poured on top!

4 years 6 months ago

This looks delicious! I’m thinking it could be good with cilantro instead of basil since I have it on hand…

4 years 6 months ago

Primal fare for office potlucks. These would be a big hit where I work. Can’t wait for the next potluck

4 years 6 months ago

We do this regularly and it’s the perfect “I-have-no-idea-what-to-cook-food” Just get everything you have together, marinate, and make skewers. Even pre-boiled (6-7 mins) carrots work! And so does minced meat (forming meatballs around the skewers – just like lamb kofta). That avocado dip sounds lovely – will have to try that one!

4 years 6 months ago

Your right Lisa, I like you said its the perfect

4 years 6 months ago

Fabulous photographs. Got to agree with earlier comment – Anything with Basil does it for me too.

4 years 6 months ago

It looks so delicious. Grok is the best – yummi!

Sereyvorn - Build The Body
4 years 6 months ago

Kabobs are so easy and fun to make!

You can basically put any type of meat, veggies, and fruits you like, and just grill away.

Perfect for a sunny afternoon 🙂

4 years 6 months ago

This sure beats the heck out of my grilled kabobs. The pictures did it for me. Thanks for the recipe. I’m ready to fire up the grill this weekend!

4 years 6 months ago

This is going to be a great recipe to have on hand when summer rolls around! I’ve got a great group of Paleo ladies out here that I know will love to try this (haha, if they haven’t already gotten the recipe from here for themselves!).

Jake Gerlon
Jake Gerlon
4 years 6 months ago

Excellent recipe! A quick suggestion, I added Basil essential oil because I didn’t have any other basil ingredients and it was amazing! It’s cheaper than the leaves, you should try it

4 years 6 months ago

Okay that marinade sounds DELICIOUS! I’m not a huge fan of meat (weird right?) but I do really love the veggies. Can’t wait to try the marinade tonight. Thanks 🙂

John Lockwood
John Lockwood
4 years 6 months ago

These Kabobs look amazing. My mouth is watering just looking at them. It’s time to get out the barbie!

4 years 5 months ago

mmmm, we made these the other weekend and they were amazing. Next time I’m going to try adding in a little dill and half a jalapeno to the marinade to spice things up a little bit!