Looking for an easy vegan summer grilling recipe? These Vegan Kebabs are seasoned and grilled to perfection. Marinated tofu is combined with veggies on skewers to create a tasty dish. That means you’ll be enjoying a satisfying plant-based dinner in no time! Be sure to serve kebabs with Vegan Potato Salad or a summer Kale Salad.
It’s time to get out of the kitchen and enjoy the great outdoors. That’s why we’re sharing this recipe for summer grilling Vegan Kebabs. It’s so good and healthy, you might want to make a double batch. These Kebabs pair perfectly with Vegan Broccoli Salad and how about some Vegan Texas Sheet Cake for dessert. Sounds like a plan!
Why This Recipe is a Winner
- Adding smoke sauce to the marinade infuses tofu with a just-grilled flavor
- Pressing tofu before marinading it allows it to soak up all the flavors from the marinade
- Brushing veggies with the marinade before grilling creates delicious grilled veggies, too!
You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.
- Olive oil
- Soy sauce — You can use soy sauce or substitute gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos for a gluten-free meal.
- Liquid Smoke — You can find liquid smoke next to the BBQ sauce in many grocery stores.
- Maple syrup — Use maple syrup or substitute agave nectar.
- Parsley — Summer is the time for fresh so I recommend using fresh parsley. In a pinch, you can substitute dried.
- Tofu — Extra-firm tofu is the best choice for kebabs.
- Bell pepper — You’ll need a couple of bell peppers. I like to mix up the colors, using red, green, or yellow.
- Zucchini — You’ll need a couple of medium zucchinis.
- Red onion — I highly recommend red onions for their mild flavor and bright color, but you can substitute a sweet yellow onion.
- Cherry tomatoes — The look and flavor of grilled cherry tomatoes is amazing.
- Mushrooms — I used baby bella mushrooms for their compact size and texture.
What Tofu is Best for Kebabs?
Firm or extra-firm tofu is best for tofu kebobs because it has a compact texture that produces the perfect mouth-feel. Tofu has a neutral flavor, allowing it to soak up the marinade it’s cooked with. However, tofu comes packed in water, so pressing the packing water out of the tofu is the best way to make way for the flavors you’re about to cook it with. To press tofu, wrap it in a kitchen towel and place something heavy on it, like a pan, or use a tofu press.
How to Make Vegan Kebabs
- Prepare the marinade by combining the ingredients.
- Add the tofu cubes, cover, and refrigerate for an hour or up to 8 hours.
- Thread the marinated tofu and cut vegetables onto soaked skewers and brush with marinade
- Place skewers on a heated grill and cook for 5 to 7 minutes on each side.
- Transfer skewers to a serving platter.
- Brush with additional marinade and top with more chopped fresh parsley.
Here are more detailed step-by-step instructions:
Step One: Prepare the Marinade
This marinade comes together easily by stirring the ingredients together. You’ll use the marinade to infuse toe tofu with flavor, in addition to brushing the vegetables before and after grilling. Feel free to substitute Chimichurri Sauce.
Step Two: Marinade Tofu and Prepare Veggies
Here are the steps to prepare the tofu and veggies:
- Press the tofu (see the tips above for pressing tofu)
- Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes
- Place the tofu cubes in the marinade and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate it for an hour, up to overnight.
- Cut the veggies into bite-size pieces to fit on the skewers
- Soak wooden skewers for at least 20 minutes before grilling.
Step Three: Thread Skewers and Cook
- Thread the tofu and veggies on the prepared skewers and then brush additional marinade over them before grilling.
- Immediately before cooking, heat your grill to medium heat.
- Place skewers diagonally on the heated grill.
- Use tongs or oven mitts to turn the skewers occasionally so the veggies don’t burn.
- Cook for 5 to 7 minutes on each side, until the vegetables are tender.
- Transfer skewers to a serving platter. Brush with additional marinade and chopped fresh parsley.
- Avoid round metal skewers when cooking tofu kebabs because the tofu will spin on the skewer. Instead, use wooden skewers (soaked in water before grilling) or flat metal skewers that help hold the tofu in place.
- Place skewers diagonally across the grates to help them cook evenly and to make flipping the skewers easier.
- Broiler Instructions: Preheat your broiler and spray a sheet pan with vegetable spray. Place skewers on the pan, allowing space between them. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes on each side until the tofu and vegetables are done.
How to Cut Vegetables for Kebabs
When you’re making vegan kebabs, vegetables are a featured highlight of the skewer. The most important point to be made here is that you want the vegetable pieces to be similarly sized so that they cook evenly and fit nicely on the skewer. Here are some tips for cutting vegetables for kebabs:
- Onions — Cut both ends off the onion and then cut that spheroid-shaped onion in half lengthwise. Then cut both remaining pieces into 4 quarters, leaving behind lots of similarly-sized pieces to skewer.
- Zucchini — Cut off both ends of the zucchini (yellow squash works, too) and cut it into 1-inch similarly-sized rounds.
- Bell Peppers — To prepare bell peppers, begin by laying it on their its and cutting off the top of the pepper. Scoop out the seeds. Now, stand the pepper up on a cutting board and cut down on the pepper, cutting it in half lengthwise. You’re left with two halves. Cut each of them in half lengthwise and widthwise so that you’re left with 8 equally-sized pieces of peppers.
- Mushrooms — Wash the mushrooms, remove the stems, and set them aside to dry.
- Cherry Tomatoes — There’s not much work to be done with cherry tomatoes, except to make sure that they’re washed and dried.
- Potatoes — Either use new potatoes or red potatoes. If using red potatoes, wash and cut them into quarters. Add the potatoes you’re using to boiled water and cook for 1 to 3 minutes until slightly tender. Drain the water and set them aside to dry. See the tips above for skewers.
Vegan Kebab Meat
If you’re looking for options beside tofu to skewer on your kebabs, here are some favorites:
- Vegan Chicken — cut fillets into equally-sized cubes. If you don’t want to make homemade, you can find a number of vegan chicken sold as patties or strips (such as Gardein).
- Tempeh — You can thread tempeh strips on a skewer or cut them into cubes
- Vegan Beef Tips — You can buy Gardein Beefless Tips that are perfectly sized for skewers. Be sure to brush them with the marinade before cooking on the grill.
I do not recommend using veggie burgers for kebabs because their consistency is not firm enough to hold onto the skewer.
Store leftovers either on the skewer or pushed off into an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. The tofu can keep longer, but the veggies typically only keep for up to 5 days.
These vegan tofu kebabs are a flexible entree. You can serve them on plates with some Tahini Sauce on the side or you can add them to salads. But you may be wondering, what are good sides for kebabs? Here are some favorite recipes that pair perfectly with vegan kebabs:
- Cauliflower Salad
- Serve kebabs over a bed of Cauliflower Rice
- Vegan Pasta Salad
- Vegan Baked Beans
- Raw Kale Salad
- Vegan Caesar Salad
Vegan shish kebabs are a low-calorie and healthy option for dinner. They’re cholesterol-free, and with tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms, they boast beta carotene, vitamin D (from the mushrooms), chromium, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are kebabs vegan?
Most kebabs are made with meat and are therefore not vegan. Even if you’re served a vegetable kebab, you’ll want to ask what was used in the marinade to make sure it’s vegan and/or vegetarian before eating it.
What vegetables can be added to kebabs?
The most popular vegetables for kebabs are onions, bell peppers, small potatoes, mushrooms, and zucchini. That’s because they hold their shape and texture while grilling. You can also cut corn on the cob into small sections and skewer them through the center.
What's the difference between kebab and kabob?
A Kebab is short for Shish Kebab, which is meat cooked on a skewer. These days, you can cook various tasty veggies, tofu, and more on kebabs. A kabob is a North American alternative spelling of kebab, so they mean basically the same thing.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (substitute gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos)
- 1 teaspoon liquid Smoke
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 15 oz package extra firm tofu
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 yellow bell pepper
- 1 orange bell pepper
- 1 medium zucchini
- 1 red onion
- 10 to 15 cherry tomatoes
- 10 small mushrooms
For the marinade
- Prepare the marinade by combining the ingredients (reserving some fresh chopped parsley to serve over cooked kabobs) and stirring it together.
- Add the tofu. Stir gently to coat. Then cover and refrigerate for an hour or up to 8 hours.
For the Kabobs
- Skewer Prep work: Soak about 10 wood skewers in water for 20 minutes. Press tofu (see notes) then cut it into 1" pieces. Cut the vegetables into skewer-size pieces. Wash and pat dry the mushrooms (which we'll be skewering whole)
- Immediately before cooking, heat your grill to medium heat.
- Thread the marinated tofu and vegetables on the skewers and brush with any leftover marinade.
- Place skewers on the heated grill. Turn occasionally, to make sure veggies don't burn. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes on each side, until the vegetables are tender.
- Transfer skewers to a serving platter. Brush with additional marinade and top with more chopped fresh parsley. Serve with rice or a salad.
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The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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Whatever vegan delight you’re grilling, enjoy!
This post was originally published in 2018 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2021.