Kabobs are quintessential summer food—but with so many possibilities, it can be tough to decide what to serve on the side. Some of these options stay traditional, while others are a little off the beaten path. Of course, you can’t go wrong with a crisp and refreshing salad or some grilled vegetables.
You could even go exotic and opt for something like homemade pita bread or naan. No matter which side dishes you consider, it’s important to pick ones that complement your kabob recipe rather than clash with it: if you’re serving a spicy meat dish, don’t serve equally spicy sides; if your kabob recipe is meant to be the star of the show, don’t make super-complicated side dishes that will distract from it. If you’re still having trouble deciding, just think about what your favorite flavors are and go from there!
We have a few side dishes for kabobs below!
What To Serve With Kabobs?
1. Green Salad
When I make kabobs, I like to serve them with a simple green salad. For example, if the kabobs have a Thai or Asian theme, I’ll serve them with a simple mesclun salad topped with sliced cucumbers, some chopped cilantro, and a simple vinaigrette dressing. If the kabobs are more Mediterranean in style, I might make an arugula salad with fresh tomatoes. Or if the kabobs are grilled chicken or beef, I might simply serve them with a big bowl of tossed romaine lettuce topped with your favorite dressing. A side salad is a great way to round out your kabob dinner without adding extra carbs.
2. Stir-Fried Vegetables
Another great side dish for kabobs is stir-fried vegetables. You can use pretty much any combination of veggies that you want and that will match the flavors in your kabobs. It’s also a great way to use up those leftover veggies in your fridge!
3. Cucumber Yogurt Dip
The cucumber yogurt dip, also known as tzatziki, is a staple of Mediterranean cuisine. It’s made from Greek yogurt and cucumbers, with garlic, lemon juice, and dill for added flavor. The combination of flavors not only complements the meat and vegetables on your kabobs but also serves as a tasty side dish for other dishes. For example, you can serve tzatziki with grilled fish or chicken or use it as a sandwich spread.
To make the dip, grate one cucumber with the skin on it and place it in the middle of a double layer of cheesecloth or paper towels. Squeeze out all the excess water by twisting the cloth around the cucumber shreds until they’re very dry. Combine them with one cup of Greek yogurt, two tablespoons of olive oil, two tablespoons of lemon juice, one tablespoon of minced garlic, one teaspoon of salt, and one tablespoon of chopped dill weed. Refrigerate before serving.
4. Coconut Rice
Enhance your kabob dinner with coconut rice as a side dish. The rice’s nutty flavor pairs well with grilled meat and vegetables marinated in fruit juices such as pineapple or mango. To make coconut rice, sauté one cup of uncooked white rice in one tablespoon of margarine and one tablespoon of vegetable oil for about five minutes. Add one can of unsweetened coconut milk, ¼ cup of water, and a pinch of salt. Bring the liquid to a boil, cover the pan and simmer until the rice is tender about 20 minutes.
5. Grilled Pineapple
Taste your grilled kabobs with pineapple. Both fruits share similar flavors, so they make a perfect match. Pineapple’s light sweetness accents grilled meats such as chicken and pork. However, fresh pineapple is not always available during the summer. If you can’t find it, substitute another fruit such as a banana or mango.
To prepare pineapple kabobs, grill fruits on skewers over hot coals for about five minutes until they turn black and char on the inside. Remove them from the heat, let them cool for a few minutes and then carve off the skin with a sharp knife.
6. Corn on the Cob
Cooking your corn on the cob on the grill is a great way to add a little more flavor to your dish. One of the simplest methods is to soak your ears of corn in water for approximately 15 minutes. After they are done soaking, remove the corn from the water, and place it on the grill. Depending on how you like your corn cooked, you will want to cook it for approximately 30 minutes.
7. Cucumber Tomato Salad
While kabobs can be incredibly filling, an easy side dish such as tomato-cucumber salad can compliment them very well. All you need to make this side dish is an equal amount of tomatoes and cucumbers cut into small squares and placed in a bowl. You will want to then add salt, pepper, and olive oil to your taste. If you would rather have a more creamy dressing for your salad instead of a vinaigrette-style dressing, you may also wish to use sour cream or mayonnaise as a substitute for olive oil.
8. Potato Salad
Potato salad is a classic American dish that is served cold. The main ingredients in most potato salads are potatoes, mayonnaise, mustard, celery, onion, herbs, and seasonings.
To make a good potato salad you should boil your potatoes until they are tender but not mushy. Drain the cooked potatoes and let them cool while you put together your dressing. The dressing consists of mayonnaise, mustard, and seasonings like salt and pepper.
Once your potatoes have cooled completely cut them into 1-inch cubes or chunks. Mix together the dressing ingredients in a bowl then add in the chopped potatoes and stir until evenly coated with dressing. You can add other ingredients like celery or onions if you’d like. Chill before serving.
9. Corn Pudding
Corn pudding is a traditional southern dish using creamed corn as its base ingredient. Other common ingredients include milk, eggs, butter, and seasonings.
The trick to making good corn pudding is for the corn to be cooked until it becomes soft and mealy. Whisk the eggs, corn, and milk together in a large bowl then whisk in the melted butter. Add salt, pepper, and seasonings if needed. Pour the mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish then bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until the center of your pudding has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Let your pudding cool before serving.
10. Sweet Potatoes
A healthy side dish to serve with kabobs is sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and fiber, which help you meet your daily nutritional needs. They also have a mild flavor that won’t overpower the meat and other seasonings in the kabobs. The best way to prepare sweet potatoes is to cut them into cubes, place them on a baking sheet, then bake in the oven until tender. If you want to make the recipe healthier, reduce the amount of butter you use when cooking the sweet potatoes.
11. Lemon Rice Pilaf
Another healthy side dish for kabobs is lemon rice pilaf. Lemon rice pilaf is low in calories and fat, making it an ideal side dish for people watching their weight. It also has a mild flavor that complements most kabob recipes. To prepare lemon rice pilaf, cook white or brown rice according to package directions; then add fresh parsley, lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice for flavor.
Orzo is a type of pasta that’s small and rice-shaped. As a starchy side dish, it’s similar to potatoes in being filling and hearty. It may be served hot or cold as a salad. Orzo can be dressed up in many different ways so it goes well with a variety of different meats. For example, you could dress your orzo in lemon and herbs to serve with fish or beef. Or you could toss it in a cream sauce or brown butter sauce to serve alongside chicken or pork.
13. Salt and Vinegar Potatoes
Potatoes are another filling starch that makes great side dishes for kabobs. They can be prepared as potato salad, french fries, mashed potatoes, or scalloped potatoes—the options are pretty much endless! Salt and vinegar potatoes are a unique spin on classic salt and vinegar chips. These potatoes are typically served with a dip or chowder. The combination of vinegar and salt draws out the natural sweetness in the potatoes, so you might need to add a little sugar for balance if you’re not a salt-and-vinegar fan.
14. Pasta salad
Pasta salad is a classic accompaniment for grilled kabobs, especially when the vegetables are on the lighter side (tomatoes and peppers, for example). The heavy starch fills up empty stomachs and provides a good base for the lighter fare. When you’re choosing a pasta shape to match your vegetable skewers, consider the sauce that you’ll be drizzling on top. Choose short pasta like rotini or penne for lots of little sauces, and long pasta like linguine or fettuccine for one big sauce to pour over top. Colorful pasta-like spinach fettuccine looks especially festive next to colorful vegetable kabobs.
You can’t go wrong with these classic side dishes for kabobs. Keep these in mind the next time you have a barbecue coming up, or if you just feel like enjoying some hearty, delicious food in the comfort of your own home. We recommend trying out our recipes for roasted potatoes, roasted veggies, and rice salad for a delicious feast that will be remembered for years to come.