Grilled Chicken Skewers with a Creamy Herb Sauce

June 28, 2019

Grilled Chicken Skewers with a Creamy Herb Sauce

By Kay MacInnis, Registered Dietitian, Providence Health

My favorite time of the year for meal prep and cooking…fresh caught fish, veggies and fruit from the garden. Nothing is better!  Well, maybe the fact that I have more help with the cooking and clean up after a meal from the grill has its benefits!

Tips for great grilling:

•          Try to choose healthy proteins like chicken, turkey, fish more often—look for locally sourced fish or the wild caught options.  If you are choosing red meat, make sure it is lean.

•          After the meat is cooked, give it a rest!  Let meat rest for about 10 minutes before carving so juices can redistribute evenly, this increases the tenderness and taste.

•          Be sure to include veggies and even fruit on the grill.  Lots of options that are great on the grill…grilled peaches with balsamic vinegar and fresh ground pepper or fresh pineapple with or without balsamic is always great on the grill.  One of my favorite chefs, loves to do romaine on the grill.  One trick is to brush a healthy oil to prevent sticking to the grill or use a grill basket. ( I would have to do another blog to talk about all the great ways to do veggies on the grill)

•          Use herbs in rubs and marinades to replace salt (use this rule: ½ cup of marinade or 1 tablespoon spice rub for each pound of food).  Be sure to choose something that is not loaded with sugar, salt or fat! Choose recipes or ingredients with wine, vinegar, lemon, lime or fresh orange juice, garlic, onion, honey, low sodium soy sauce or low sodium teriyaki sauce to help with the marinating process.

•          Trim visible fat on meat.  Use the skinless poultry or remove the skin before cooking.   Use a marinade and make sure the fat is able to drip off.  It is the fat that drips onto the flames creating the smoke which may contain the carcinogens. Decrease the fat and have less of the smoke….less of the bad stuff!

•          Choose healthier side options. Balance your options with some “lean” options….try a new salad…one without mayo, cheese, bacon, etc….

•          Choose the whole wheat buns and keep size in mind.  The traditional version of buns is a better calorie choice than some of the oversized options.

•          Always remember to clean the grill when you are finished to be ready for the next great grilling event! 

Try this recipe for a great addition to your grilling line up.  Super easy and super tasty!

Grilled Chicken Skewers with a Creamy Herb Sauce


For the herb sauce:

1 jalapeño, seeded

2 scallions (white and light green parts)

1 cup fresh cilantro, plus more leaves for serving

12 fresh basil leaves

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

3/4 cup 0% Greek yogurt

For the chicken:

12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

12 radishes

1 lime, cut into wedges


For the herb sauce, cut the jalapeño and scallions into ½-inch pieces and put into a food processor. Add the cilantro, basil, lime juice, and yogurt. Pulse until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the chicken, slice the chicken lengthwise into ¼-inch thick strips. Thread each strip onto a skewer. Place the skewers in a baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine the oil, garlic, paprika, cumin, and salt. Pour over the chicken and toss to coat. Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.

Heat the grill to medium-high. Grill the chicken for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until cooked through.

Divide the herb sauce and chicken skewers among plates. Top with some extra cilantro and serve with sliced radishes and lime wedges.

Nutritional facts per serving: 167 calories, 6 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 22 g protein, 10 g carbohydrate, 2 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugar, 0 g added sugar, 43 mg cholesterol, 272 mg sodium

Recipe Source: Developed by Sara Quessenberry for Cleveland Clinic Wellness

If you would like to speak to a primary care provider about your heart health numbers, call 1-800-424-DOCS or visit the “Find a Provider” tab at


This is another in a weekly series of healthy recipes from Kay MacInnis, registered dietitian at Providence Health in Columbia, S.C.

Kay promotes health and wellness, helping cardiac and diabetes patients eat their way to healthier lives. She works in consultation with the trained chefs at Providence, combining her nutrition knowledge with their food prep know-how to create delicious, healthy dishes for patients and the public. She also conducts a number of health and wellness events for the public, including the monthly Providence Cooks! classes.

"She doesn't just give you the fish, she teaches you how to cook it."

 – A Kay MacInnis fan and Providence Cooks! regular.