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Low Carb Chicken Kebabs with Mexican Dipping Sauce

Low Carb Chicken Kebabs with Mexican Dipping Sauce

Kebabs are one of the easiest dishes to adapt to low carb or keto lifestyles. The vegetables and proteins on these kebabs are basted with an orange chipotle marinade and then served with a citrus-chile-cilantro dipping sauce. 

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RECIPE
Best Low Carb Proteins for Kebabs
Best Low Carb Vegetables for Kebabs
Low Carb Dipping Sauces to Serve with Kebabs

Chicken kebabs with mustard rosemary baste
Chicken kebabs with mustard rosemary baste

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.

While the proteins are important, the type of dipping sauce or marinade can really give a special flavor inspired by different cultures.

These pork kebabs with a Thai-inspired dipping sauce are wonderful, as is this recipe for salmon kebabs with a lemon-herb marinade. One of my favorites is this pork kebab with a mustard-rosemary basting sauce.

All of the above recipes feature low carb dipping sauces or marinades.

Chicken and vegetables on skewers.
Chicken vegetable kebabs

Which Vegetables are Most Low Carb Compliant?

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 typically include:

  • tomatoes,
  • red onions,
  • summer squash, and
  • peppers. 

These are what I used in the kebabs pictured above.

If you want to keep with the Mexican cuisine theme, you could get creative and include pickled jalapenos.  I might try jicama next time just to see what that would be like on the grill.  In general, anything goes. 

*Tip: Go for a range of colors and textures.

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.

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 sauce is what really added the flavor punch to this dish, and gave it the Mexican flair.  The sauce is quick and easy to make and one of the few low carb/keto dipping sauces that accompany grilled dishes.

Kebabs on the Indoor Grill

So, I am a big fan of my Cuisinart Griddler, and indoor grill that grills quickly from the top and bottom at the same time. If the weather is off or you just don’t feel like grilling outside, check out this tutorial for using an indoor grill.

Low Carb Mexican Kebabs with Spicy Dipping Sauce

Chicken kebabs with mustard rosemary baste
Brush your favorite proteins and veggies in a chile spiced oil, thread onto a skewer, grill and serve with a citrus-chile-cilantro dipping sauce.  Perfect for a single dinner or a crowd!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 10 skewers
Calories 201

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs boneless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup vinegar apple cider, balsamic or flavored vinegars all work
  • cup orange juice divided
  • 1 ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 2 ½ teaspoon mexican oregano divided
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt divided
  • 1 sweet bell pepper red, orange or yellow
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 2 yellow summer squash
  • 1 large red onion cut into wedges; set aside 1 Tbsp for mayonaise
  • 1- 2 lbs cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 2 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1-2 Tablespoon minced cilantro
  • ½ – 1 teaspoon chile pepper spice I used HeathGlen’s chipotle spice

Instructions
 

To assemble the kebabs:

  • Get the grill ready (or turn on the indoor grill to high).
  • Chop the chicken into bite-size cubes (large enough to go on the skewer).
    2 lbs boneless chicken breasts
  • 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.
    1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup vinegar, 1/3 cup orange juice, 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 2 1/2 teaspoon mexican oregano, 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Cut the peppers, squash and onions into bite size pieces, keeping in mind that they need to fit on the skewer.
    1 sweet bell pepper, 1 poblano pepper, 2 yellow summer squash, 1 large red onion
  • Skewer the chicken pieces, the vegetables and tomatoes, alternating pieces for color.  If you have a group of people, let everyone skewer their own.
    1- 2 lbs cherry tomatoes
  • 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.
    1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon orange juice, 2 teaspoon lime juice, 1-2 Tablespoon minced cilantro, 1/2 – 1 teaspoon chile pepper spice
  • Serve the skewers on a large plate with the dipping sauce and enjoy!

Notes

The Citrus-Chile sauce is what really added the flavor punch to this dish, and gave it the Mexican flair.  The sauce is quick and easy to make and one of the few low carb/keto dipping sauces that accompany grilled dishes.

Nutrition

Calories: 201kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 21gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 58mgSodium: 424mgPotassium: 662mgFiber: 2gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 888IUVitamin C: 53mgCalcium: 40mgIron: 2mg
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