This article was updated on 7/8/2023 for clarity and freshness.
If you’re wondering what to serve with your kabobs, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I list 45 of the most popular side dishes for kabobs.
In a rush? Here’s the short answer.
The best side dishes to serve with kabobs are pita bread, fattoush salad, Persian rice pilaf, and spiced potatoes. You can also serve herbed smashed cucumbers, Mediterranean pasta salad, apricot couscous, or grilled pineapples. For condiments, try garlic sauce or pickled red onions.
With kabobs, you get meat and veggies, but there are no carbs, which is where these sides come in. Rice is a common option, but it’s a bit boring so I’ve jazzed it up.
Jeweled Persian rice pilaf
Level up your plain white rice with this recipe. It involves cooking the rice in a mixture of broth and warming spices, infusing it with a light savory flavor and a delicious aroma.
But another thing that makes this rice dish stand out is the addition of dried cranberries and pistachios. They add pops of color to the plain rice, making it enticing. Plus, these add-ons also bring nutty, sweet flavors that perfectly contrast with your beef or chicken kabobs’ savory notes.
Psst… not a fan of cranberries or pistachios? You can use raisins, dried apricots, or almond slivers instead.
Why we love this recipe: it’ll make your plate Insta-worthy.
Spicy Lebanese potatoes
Not in the mood for a rice dish? Whip up a batch of these Lebanese potatoes instead.
Also known as batata harra, this is a Middle Eastern dish commonly seen in Lebanese restaurants. It features roasted potato cubes tossed in a spicy cilantro garlic sauce and finished with a squeeze of lemon juice.
The roasted spuds soak up all the zesty goodness from the sauce, making them a tasty contrast to smoky grilled kabobs.
Pro-tip: got leftovers? They’re great for the next day’s breakfast, especially with a side of fried eggs.
Why we love this recipe: it transforms a simple ingredient into something amazing.
Pearl couscous with vegetables and apricots
Looking for something light but satisfying? This couscous dish has your back.
Traditional recipes usually start with boiling the couscous, but Two Kooks in the Kitchen takes a different route with this recipe. They toast the couscous with butter, spices, and dried apricots first before adding in the broth. It’s an extra step that ensures the couscous is flavorful inside and out.
The addition of spinach and squash also makes this dish hearty enough to be enjoyed on its own, but I find that it’s even better alongside meaty kabobs for a complete and nourishing meal.
Why we love this recipe: it celebrates delicious Middle Eastern flavors.
Mediterranean pasta salad
Grilling kabobs at a cookout? You can’t go wrong with pairing them with this Mediterranean pasta salad.
It’s loaded with everything we love about Greek salads — the juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, onions, olives, and feta cheese crumbles, all made heartier with the addition of pasta.
And like classic Greek salad, everything is tied together with an herby, zippy dressing that keeps the flavor profile balanced.
Pro tip: make it a few hours ahead of time to give all the flavors a chance to meld and develop.
Why we love this recipe: it’s completely customizable.
Pita bread has been a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine, so it’s a no-brainer to serve it alongside kabobs.
You can tear one open and stuff the grilled meat from your kabobs inside the pocket. Or you can simply serve a platter of this fluffy flatbread with a dipping sauce. I especially love hummus, but you can also try baba ganoush.
Natasha’s Kitchen shows two methods (oven and skillet) to make pita bread. My go-to is the skillet method because I find that it produces more of those tasty golden spots that bring extra flavor to my pita.
Why we love this recipe: most of the ingredients needed are pantry staples.
Brown butter parsnip puree
Skip your usual mashed potatoes and try serving your kabobs with this parsnip puree.
It’s velvety and buttery, with a hint of nuttiness thanks to the brown butter. This recipe also uses Dijon mustard and lemon, which help offset the parsnips’ natural sweetness.
Pro-tip: to achieve a silky smooth mash, pass it through a sieve.
Why we love this recipe: it’s a fantastic dish that highlights an underrated veg.
Brown butter parsnip puree
Make it bright
Roasted carrot and parsnip puree
Make it healthier
Parsnip and cauliflower mash with garlic and chives
Salads are cool, refreshing, and crisp, making them a great complement to the savory flavors of kabobs. Some can also be made in advance, making them convenient for entertaining.
Stick to kabobs’ Middle Eastern roots and whip up a batch of classic Fattoush salad to serve as a side dish.
Upon first glance, you’d think this is only a regular garden salad. But the game-changer lies in the lemon dressing with added sumac. This vibrant red spice brings an extra dose of citrusy notes, making this salad extra refreshing and zesty.
Another thing that sets it apart is it uses toasted pita chips instead of croutons to bring an addictive crunch to every bite.
Why we love this recipe: it’s a tasty way to use up the veggies you have on hand.
Israeli cucumber and tomato salad
Salads don’t always have to include leafy greens, like this Israeli salad.
It features a base of ripe, juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, and sharp onions. Fresh herbs are also added to the mix for extra flavor and color. This version uses parsley, but recipe reviewers also recommend using mint and cilantro if you want to switch things up.
Enjoy this salad alongside your kabobs for a light and well-balanced meal.
Why we love this recipe: it lets the produce’s natural flavors shine through.
Herbed smashed cucumbers
Want an even simpler side dish than Israeli salad? Make these smashed cucumbers instead.
You might be wondering if you could skip smashing the cucumbers. The answer is no! Smashing breaks the cucumbers down, allowing them to soak up more of the creamy Greek yogurt dressing.
The resulting side dish is a cool and refreshing palate cleanser for your boldly-spiced kabobs.
Why we love this recipe: it’s really fun to make.
Red cabbage slaw
Slaw is a classic addition to any cookout party. But skip the store-bought stuff — homemade slaw is SO much better.
It’s crunchy, creamy, and endlessly customizable. This recipe from Food Lovin Family keeps it classic with carrots and red cabbage, but you can also try adding Granny Smith apples for an extra tart twist or jalapenos for a mildly spicy kick.
Why we love this recipe: there’s zero cooking involved.
Craving for an extra dose of smokiness? Take advantage of the extra grill space and make these side dishes alongside your kabobs.
Grilled bacon-wrapped Brussels sprouts
I’ve been a firm believer that roasting is the best method for cooking Brussels sprouts, but grilling them with bacon is a close second.
The sprouts get delightfully charred and absorb the bacon’s savory flavors as you grill them, making them super savory and smoky. There’s also no trace of their natural bitterness.
You’ll never want to eat plain old boiled sprouts again.
Why we love this recipe: it looks as good as it tastes.
Grilled corn on the cob
No feast is complete without corn on the cob — one of the easiest ingredients to cook on the grill.
Some grill their corn with the husks, but I like doing mine without the husks. As recipe creator Katie explains, the corn kernels get more charred when they come in straight contact with the grill. They also taste smokier.
Psst… you can even chop the corn and thread them with your kabobs for an even simpler grilling session.
Why we love this recipe: even novice cooks can make this.
Sweet and spicy grilled pineapple
These grilled pineapple spears are a tasty addition to your barbecue spread.
Like with veggies, grilling pineapples help caramelize their natural sugars, giving them a sweeter flavor. But this recipe keeps things from getting too sweet by glazing the pineapple with a mixture of sesame oil, chili sauce, lime juice, and a dash of cinnamon.
This gives the pineapple spears a delectable sweet-spicy combo that’ll leave your taste buds tingling.
Enjoy these as a side dish for your kabobs or even a dessert.
Why we love this recipe: the pineapple spears only need a couple of minutes on the grill.
Condiments and sauces
While these aren’t technically side dishes, these condiments and sauces pair wonderfully with kabobs. Try going with bright, tangy pickles or a creamy dipping sauce to give your kabobs that extra flavor boost.
Quick pickled red onions
These pickled red onions are the perfect side dish when you want your kabobs to be the star of the meal.
They’ll add a splash of color to the plate, and provide a fresh bite to cut through the heavy meat.
And the best part? They require very little hands-on cooking because you only need to heat the pickling solution.
These pickled red onions are ready to eat within an hour, but they’re even better the next day.
Why we love this recipe: it’s rated 4.98 stars from 189 votes.
Toum (garlic sauce)
This isn’t technically a side dish, but it’s a must-have with grilled kabobs.
The sauce is rich and creamy, with a prominent garlic flavor that holds up well next to boldly-spiced kabobs.
The key to perfecting this sauce is to slowly emulsify the garlic and oil with lemon juice and cold water. This will give you a smooth, silky texture without adding any dairy.
Why we love this recipe: it’s a healthier, dairy-free version of garlic mayo.
What To Serve With Kabobs
- 1 portion mediterranean pasta salad
- 1 portion grilled bacon-wrapped brussels sprouts
- 1 portion brown butter parsnip puree
- 1 portion quick pickled red onions
- 1 portion herbed smashed cucumbers
- 1 portion pita bread
- … and more
- Prepare your kabobs according to your favorite recipe.
- In the meantime, choose one of the following sides to serve alongside it.
- Side dishes include: fattoush salad, Jeweled Persian rice pilaf, spicy Lebanese potatoes, quick pickled red onions, pearl couscous with vegetables and apricots, herbed smashed cucumbers, Mediterranean pasta salad, pita bread, toum (garlic sauce), sweet and spicy grilled pineapple, Israeli cucumber and tomato salad, brown butter parsnip puree, grilled bacon-wrapped brussels sprouts, and red cabbage slaw.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!