Kebabs are typically thought of as Middle Eastern street food, but the ease, the taste and the adaptability of kebabs make them a favorite dish in all parts of the world. These Low Carb Mexican Kebabs are flavored with an orange chipotle marinade and served with a citrus-chile-cilantro dipping sauce to lend them a Mexican flair.Jump to Recipe
Kebabs are one of the easiest dishes to adapt to low carb or keto lifestyles, and the Mexican Dipping Sauce is a low carb enhancement that takes these kebabs over the top in flavor.
Which Proteins to Select for Low Carb Kebabs?
It is incredibly easy to adapt kebabs to a low carb or keto lifestyle and yet satisfy the tastebuds of a diverse crowd of people at the same time.
The protein is all-important of course, but it can range from shrimp to pork to beef to chicken to organ meats if that is your preference! Just make sure the protein is cut into pieces that are small enough to be bite size and large enough not to fall off the skewer.
Which Vegetables are Most Low Carb Compliant?
The best veggies for kebabs are going to be fresh veggies that you get from the farmers’ market or your local grocer. If you are having a party or back yard BBQ, get a range of veggies and let people skewer their own favorites.
If you are aiming for low carb veggies, just avoid starchy vegetables that grow underground and you are probably safe. Vegetables that are lowest in carbs include greens and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, brussels and cabbage), but those are not usually the vegetables you think of when grilling kebabs in the summer months ( and greens are pretty difficult to skewer).
So, the summertime vegetables suitable for low carb Mexican kebabs usually include tomatoes, red onions, summer squash, and peppers. These are what I used in the kebabs pictured above.
You could get creative and include okra or pickled jalapenos. I might try jicama next time just to see what that would be like on the grill. In general, anything goes. Try for a range of colors and textures.
The Marinade and Dipping Sauce for Low Carb Mexican Kebabs
There is a debate among professional cooks as to whether a marinade is worth the time. The currently prevailing opinion seems to be that marinades do not penetrate throughout the protein and so you are really only getting a sauce on the outer layer.
I tend to agree with this so I just let the proteins bathe in the grilling sauce while I am cutting up vegetables, rather than marinating for hours.
The Citrus-Chile Mayonnaise is what really added the flavor punch to this dish, and gave it the Mexican savor. The sauce is quick and easy to make and one of the few low carb/keto dipping sauces that accompany grilled dishes.
Low Carb Mexican Kebabs & Citrus Chipotle Dipping Sauce
- Outdoor grill or indoor grill (Griddler or Panini maker)
- 2 lbs protein (I used chicken breasts) protein should be around a 1/2 inches thick
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup vinegar apple cider, balsamic or flavored vinegars all work
- 1/3 cup orange juice divided
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin
- 2 1/2 tsp mexican oregano divided
- 1 1/2 tsp salt divided
- 1 red or orange bell pepper
- 1 poblano pepper
- 2 yellow summer squash
- 1 large red onion set aside 1 Tbsp for mayonaise
- 1- 2 lbs roma or cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tsp lime juice
- 1-2 Tbsp minced cilantro
- 1/2 – 1 tsp chile pepper spice I used HeathGlen’s chipotle spice
To assemble the kebabs:
- Get the grill ready (or turn on the indoor grill to high).
- Chop the protein (I used chicken into bite-size cubes (large enough to go on the skewer).
- Combine the oil, vinegar, 1/4 cup of orange juice, cumin, 1 1/2 tsp oregano, and 1 tsp salt in a large bowl. Whisk together thoroughly and add the chicken cubes to the bowl. With your hands, mix the chicken cubes into the marinade.
- Cut the peppers, squash and onions into bite size pieces, keeping in mind that they need to fit on the skewer.
- Skewer the chicken pieces, the vegetables and tomatoes, alternating pieces for color. If you have a group of people, let everyone skewer their own.
- Place the skewers on the grill over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, flip and grill for an additional 5-7 minutes. I did this inside with a pannini maker instead of outside on the grill. Since the pannini maker grills top and bottom at the same time, it only took about 7-10 minutes and no flipping.
To make the dipping sauce:
- In a medium size bowl combine the 1/2 cup mayonaise, 1 Tbsp orange juice, 2 tsp lime juice, 1 tsp mexican oregano, 1 Tbsp minced red onion, 1-2 Tbsp minced cilantro, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 to 1 tsp chile spice. Whisk together until thoroughly combined.
- Serve the skewers on a large plate with the dipping sauce and enjoy!
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