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400 eats: ‘Take your pick,’ three kabob recipes for any taste or diet

This article appears in the May issue of 400 Life.

You know when you can’t decide what to have for dinner, chicken, shrimp, fish or something else entirely?

Well with this comprehensive mix-and-match summer kabob guide you can skip the decision and eat all the delicious grilled goodness that you can handle. 

My favorite part about this recipe, and really any kabob recipe to some extent, is that no matter what your skill level or food preferences, what you’ll probably end up with is going to be really tasty (thanks to the grill). 

Key points to note, you can expedite this cooking process by doing all of the vegetable and fruit prep-work and making the marinade beforehand, but also having a few extra hands to load up the kabobs doesn’t hurt either. 

Also, using a strip of tin foil on the front edge of your grill can help keep the skewers (and your hands) from burning during the grill process. 

Get cookin’!

Kabob main ingredients 

• Salmon — 1 pound, fileted, boned and with skin removed 

• Shrimp — 2 pounds, shelled and cleaned

• Chicken — 3 large breasts, cut into half inch cubes with fat removed 

• Bell pepper — 1 green, 1 orange (or any color you’d like) 

• Red onion — 1 large onion 

• Zucchini — 1 large zucchini

• Pineapple — 1 whole pineapple 

• Corn — 3 medium-sized corn cobs 

Ginger soy lime marinade

• Fresh ginger — 1 2-inch piece, peeled and chopped

• Garlic — 4 cloves, peeled and smashed 

• Soy sauce — 3/4 cup 

• Fresh lime juice — 1/2 cup 

• Sugar — 1 tablespoons 

• Green onions — 1/2 cup, chopped 

• Oil — 1/4 cup 

• Ground black pepper — 1/4 teaspoon

Other tools and supplies



Wooden or bamboo skewers 

Aluminum foil 

- photo Alexander Popp

Steps to make the kabobs

• To prevent burning and make the cooking easier, take a large number of skewers and soak them in water for at least an hour prior to putting the kabobs on the grill. 

• Start the food prep by making your ginger soy lime marinade that will go on the chicken, shrimp and salmon at different times throughout the grilling process. 

• Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until a smooth liquid forms. Add additional soy sauce, lime juice and pepper to taste. Reserve about a third of the marinade to brush on while the meat cooks. 

• Put your chicken and shrimp into two separate containers and split the marinade between them. Seal the containers and refrigerate for about an hour while you prepare the rest of the food. 

• Chop the bell peppers, red onion and zucchini into thick (about ¼ inch) pieces and set aside. 

• Peel, core and slice the pineapple into pieces roughly the same size as your chicken, as with the other ingredients. Set aside for later. 

• For the corn, use a thick sturdy knife to cut them into ¼-inch slices and set aside. 

• When putting the kabobs together, alternate between vegetables and meat. If you are choosing to make all three like I did, have fun doing a little mix and match to see what goes good with what. I have always found that chicken and pineapple are a killer combination. This can take a long time, so just hang out, cook and don’t stress about getting it right. This would also be a good time to clean, oil and preheat your grill to a low-medium heat. 

• Pro-tip: leave a good bit of the skewer’s blunt end exposed so you can turn the kabobs easily. 

• When everything is ready, lay the kabobs vertically on the grill and cook each for about 5 minutes per side. Use the reserved marinade to brush the kabobs as they cook.

• When the shrimp are pink, the chicken is crispy and the salmon is flaky, it’s time to pull the kabobs off the grill. 

• Allow the kabobs to cool, then serve and enjoy!

Make a cool drink: The traditional-ish Michelada

I get it, at first glance it sounds kind of gross — a mixture of beer, spices, lime and tomato juice, what could be more appetizing?

But stick with me for a second; because it’s actually a delicious and surprisingly refreshing drink to have on a warm spring afternoon. Just think of the Michelada as a Bloody Mary’s less alcoholic, spicier cousin from south of the border. 

Generally when making a good Michelada, what you want is spice, heat and lime flavors to dominate the drink, with the tomato and beer almost as secondary flavors. And you can play around with different ratios of the main ingredients (beer, sauces and clamato juice), but for best results I’ve found that 60/40 beer to clamato is best. 

If the Idea of putting clamato into a perfectly good beer doesn’t sound quite your speed, you can always try this “cocktail” the way it’s sometimes prepared in Mexico City; beer, lime, salt, ice and healthy dashes of the sauces listed below.   

And in the very worst case and neither of these approaches float your boat, you’ll still have cold beer and lime juice to fall back on. 


Fresh lime

Coarse salt

Worcestershire sauce — 1 dash 

Soy sauce — 1 dash 

Tabasco sauce — 1 dash 

Clamato, chilled — about 4 ounces 

Beer, preferably a Mexican beer like Modelo or Dos Equis

Steps to make it

1. Salt the rim of a tall glass using a wedge of lime and a plate of coarse salt, then fill the glass with cubed ice. 

2. Juice half of a lime and pour over the ice. Add dashes of Worcestershire, soy sauce, Tabasco, pepper and clamato. 

3. Fill the rest of the glass with beer, stir the mixture and serve with another twist of lime, adding in more beer as you drink.

4. Enjoy and repeat responsibly. 

- photo Alexander Popp