These lemon chicken skewers are great for just 1 or 2 people, but can also be scaled for a crowd, and they can be made ahead!
I love easy dinners. Better yet, I love easy dinners that I can make ahead of time and then put on the grill whenever people are ready to eat.
These lemon chicken skewers are also incredibly flavor packed. With the veggies, the lemon marinade and a sprinkling of basil on top, it’s fresh and vibrant without being overly heavy. If you really want to go the extra mile – whip up a batch of my balsamic reduction to drizzle over the top once they come off the grill. Then you’re really going to wow your guests! It adds the perfect mix of acidity, sweetness, bitter char, and tender, juicy chicken with blistered vegetables.
Wine Pairing Ideas for Lemon Chicken Skewers
When pairing wines with this entree, I typically lean towards a lightly oaked Chardonnay. A Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio would lose a lot of their acidity and taste bland next to the lemon and balsamic. So pick something with a bit more flavor and a touch of oak and you’re in business! I’m a big fan of Clos du Val Chardonnay, or Lloyd Chardonnay. Alternatively, check out a Mâcon-Villages or Pouilly-Fuisse (these will be less oak heavy than the others, but still have a roundness that will accompany the entree well). Alternatively, a Chilean Pinot Noir would also be marvelous.
The Reduced Balsamic
Feel free to buy it, but it’s worth the small bit of effort!
If you’re making the balsamic from scratch, it’s quite easy and get that going before you start cutting up the vegetables and it’ll be done the same time you’re done making all your skewers. If you choose to buy – just make sure it’s at room temperature so that it comes out of the bottle more easily – otherwise it can be like molasses in January.
For the Balsamic all you need is Balsamic Vinegar and some sugar. I do 50% sugar to Vinegar and I make twice as much as I need to end up with, because you reduce this by at least half. So if I know I need a 1/4 Cup (4 Tablespoons) I’ll make 1/2 Cup Balsamic Vinegar and use 1/4 Cup Sugar and reduce down. However, I will say that this will keep for weeks and you can use it on salads, fish, and other proteins so you may just want to make a big batch! Just remember – 1/2 the amount of sugar as you have Balsamic and you’re good to go! It’s really that easy, and it’s so deliciously good. You may never buy reduced balsamic ever again.
For the skewer preparation – I like to start with cubing all the vegetables and then the chicken. It just helps to keep things a bit simpler and you don’t have to worry about raw chicken getting everywhere.
I typically will put each vegetable in a small bowl and then line them up next to the cubed chicken on the cutting board. Then, I will store the skewers, once made, in a casserole dish. If I make these ahead, I’ll marinate and cover with plastic up to 24 hours in advance.
Reduced Balsamic Recipe:
16 oz Balsamic Vinegar (2 Cups)
1 Cup of Sugar
- Combine and reduce on medium high heat until reduced by half.
- When hot the consistency will still look a bit watery.
- When room temperature it should be thick like honey. To test this, dip a spoon in and set it on a plate, after a moment or two when the spoon has cooled, pick the spoon up and the balsamic should slowly drizzle off the spoon. If it’s still quite watery, keep the pot on the stove and continue to reduce. If you find it’s too thick (like molasses) add a bit of (1 Tbsp at a time, it shouldn’t take much!) balsamic vinegar or some water to thin it back to the honey-stage.
Lemon Chicken Skewers with Balsamic and Basil
Makes about 4 long skewers (4 pieces of each item below/skewer)
2 Chicken Breasts, cubed into 1″ pieces
2 Red Onions, Quartered and split into 2 layers each
2 Large Zucchini (I like a mix of yellow and green, or 3-4 small ones), cut to 1″ cubes
4 Roma Tomatoes, quartered
4 Lemons, Zested and Juiced
1/2 Cup Grape-seed or other high heat Oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1/4 Cup Basil, Chiffonade to Garnish
1/4 Cup Reduced Balsamic to Drizzle when serving
1. Make the marinade by whisking together the zest, lemon juice, grape-seed oil, salt and pepper. Set aside.
2. Cube all of the vegetables and put into a large ziplock bag.
3. Cube all of the chicken and put into a large ziplock bag.
4. Pour a little more than half the marinade in with the vegetables and the remaining in with the chicken. Shake the bags well and once it’s all coated well, pour the veggies out onto a sheet tray or in a large bowl so that you can easily grab them to skewer.
5. Start skewering, adding each vegetable and chicken and intermixing them. Yellow Zucchini, Red Onion, Chicken, Green Zucchini, Tomato, Chicken… repeat. You want the vegetables and chicken fairly close but make sure to keep some space especially around the chicken so that heat can distribute evenly and fully cook it.
6. Once your skewer is done, place it in the bottom of a casserole dish. Continue skewering until all the vegetables and chicken have been used. It’s okay if you have some vegetable-only skewers at the end.
7. Pour the remaining liquid from each bag/bowl back onto the skewers. Wrap tightly and marinate overnight or until ready to use.
8. When ready to cook – cook on a hot grill and cook until the chicken reaches 165ºF, about 10-15 minutes total, rotating every 5 minutes to get even char marks. Garnish with balsamic and basil when ready to serve.