Grilled Lamb and Onion Kabobs with Olive Aioli

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Lemon, olive oil, rosemary, and garlic—this is my favorite marinade for lamb, whether I am cooking a roast or skewering kabobs. They work well together because both the marinade and the lamb are products of the Mediterranean. The sauce, made of garlic and olive-flavored mayonnaise, is also Mediterranean—and a great shortcut, given that the mayo is premade. I love grilled onions with the lamb, but you can add other vegetables to the skewers. Serve with Mediterranean Orzo Pilaf.

NotesTotal time: 35 minutesKabob cooking has a lot going for it. Kabobs can be assembled ahead so they are ready to throw on the grill or under the broiler at the last minute. They make it possible to cook small pieces of meat and vegetables on a grill. They are a colorful way to present foods, and are easy to serve. Here are a few suggestions that will make the job even easier.

Selecting skewers: Metal skewers can be reused and help to conduct the heat to the inside of the food. Bamboo skewers are disposable but should be soaked in water for fifteen to thirty minutes before use to make them less flammable. What to cook: It is important to group items on each skewer that will cook in the same amount of time. If you want to use vegetables that take a while to cook, either precook them before assembling the kabob or put them on separate skewers from the quickcooking items and start cooking them first. To keep skewered items from rolling around on the skewer when you try to move them, insert two parallel skewers through the foods.

4 servings

Preparation Time10 min

Preparation Time - Text10 minutes

Cooking Methodgrilling


Total Timeunder 1 hour

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Cooking for a date

Recipe Coursemain course



Taste and Texturegarlicky, meaty

Type of Dishskewer


  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon rinsed, dried, and chopped fresh rosemary or oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
  • Kosher salt and freshly milled black pepper
  • 2 pounds boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1½-inch cubes
  • 4 small onions (about 2 inches across), quartered
  • ¾ cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup pitted, brine-cured olives such as kalamata, finely chopped


  1. Combine 2 tablespoons boiling water with 1 teaspoon of the garlic and set aside to cool slightly. Whisk together 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice, the oil, rosemary, the remaining 2 teaspoons garlic, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Add the lamb and onions and set aside, tossing gently several times, for 15 minutes. If using wooden skewers, soak 4 in water.

  2. Meanwhile, combine the mayonnaise, olives, remaining tablespoon of lemon juice, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Stir in the reserved garlic and water mixture.

  3. Preheat the grill or the broiler. Thread the meat and onions on 4 skewers, alternating them. Drizzle with any marinade from the bowl. Grill or broil 4 inches from the heat source, 6 to 8 minutes a side for mediumrare.

  4. Transfer the meat and onions from the skewers to plates and serve each portion topped with some of the olive sauce.

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