Chicken Kabobs with Pesto Rice

chicken kabobs with pesto rice on a white plate
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Chicken marinated in lemon and garlic threaded on skewers with fresh zucchini and tomato cherries. These chicken kabobs, served with a simple pesto rice, are easy to make and a delicious light dinner for two during the summer. Plan to marinate the chicken up to 8 hours and, if using wooden skewers, soak the skewers an hour in advance.



For the Kabobs

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (10-oz) boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 pinches of kosher salt
  • 1 (14-oz) zucchini, sliced (see note)
  • 10 cherry tomatoes

For the Rice

  • 1/2 cup long grain white rice
  • 1/2 cup store-bought pesto
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 ounces fresh mozzarella


  1. Marinate the chicken: First, place the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, Italian seasoning, pepper, and the chicken breast in a resealable bag. Smoosh the chicken around in the marinade to coat it evenly and place it in the refrigerator for a few hours, but no longer than eight hours.
  2. Make the kabobs: Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat it dry with a paper towel. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and season them with salt. Thread the chicken, zucchini, and tomatoes onto the skewers.
  3. Cook the rice: If using the stovetop to cook your rice, bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the rice and cook it for 20 minutes, or until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. If using an Instant Pot, see the recipe notes for the instructions I used. Once the rice is cooked add the pesto, stir and cover the rice to keep it warm while you cook the kabobs.
  4. Cook the kabobs: Heat a grill pan over high heat. Place the skewers on the grill pan and cook them for five minutes, turning them once. Adjust the heat to medium and place a large piece of tin foil loosely over the skewers. Cook them, turning them occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, about five to eight minutes.
  5. To serve: First, add juice from half a lemon to the rice and stir. Add the mozzarella and transfer the rice to the plates. Serve with the kabobs and lemon wedges on the side.


I sliced my zucchini into large pieces that, when cooked, were just warmed through. If you like your zucchini cooked more, cut yours into smaller pieces.

I have a small 3-quart Instant pot, which is the perfect size to make rice for two. The ratio of water to rice is different than what you use on the stovetop so be sure to check out this article, How to Make Rice in an Instant Pot.


Keywords: chicken kabobs, pesto rice