This post is in partnership with Veal Made Easy.
I love food. All kinds of food. From north, south, east and west, exploring flavors from near and far is my passion.
And I’m always looking for ways to incorporate more healthy vegetables in a way that makes them enjoyable to eat. I’ve mentioned in the past that I love stir-fries for that very reason: You can pack in a ton of veggies and choose whichever kinds you prefer.
In the Summer months there’s another dish I love that accomplishes that same goal: Shish kabobs. You can layer on as many veggies as you want and if there’s a particular veggie you don’t like, substitute it for one you enjoy. Really, what better way to enjoy vegetables? Few things beat the flavor of grilled. Even the most flavorless of veggies come alive with a gentle searing of a smoky barbecue.
There are at least two other reasons I love shish kabobs: They’re so colorful! As important as flavor is, how the food looks goes a long, long way in enhancing the overall eating experience. They’re also fun to make. When else do you get the chance to thread juicy meat and luscious pieces of vegetables and fruits onto a bamboo skewer, slather them down with a delicious sauce then hear them sizzle on a hot grill?
And another reason: They’re super kid-friendly and fun to assemble. My kids are far more likely to eat something that they’ve helped make, how about yours? Having been involved in the process of making it helps remove some of the otherwise “icky-yucky” factor. They’ve seen, smelled and handled the food and so it becomes more interesting and less off-putting; having helped create it they’re more likely to be willing to try it.
For a fun and educational family activity, try sitting around the table with plates filled with beautiful vegetables, fruits and meats and thread some skewers together while you talk about your day.
I’m always looking for healthy food options for my family and for these shish kabobs I turned to a healthy source of meat: Veal. Enjoyed for centuries, veal has been widely treasured for its mild flavor and nutrition. Veal is referenced numerous times in the Bible as the “fatted calf” and was regarded as the choicest of meats. It continues to be hugely popular overseas, especially in Italian and French cuisine. And of course veal is the incontestable choice for the famous Austrian Wiener Schnitzel. German food fans? Weisswurst is made of veal and there are few things, aside from maybe sushi, that my husband enjoys more than this Bavarian specialty. (He’s been nudging me to publish my recipe for homemade Weisswurst and I may just do that soon.)
Veal farming made its way to the United States over 100 years ago and is increasingly becoming a top choice among chefs.
Wonderfully lean and nutritious, the USDA recently revealed that a 3 oz. serving of cooked, trimmed veal provides less than 10% of the calories recommended for a 2,000 calorie diet while simultaneously providing more than 10% of the daily values for protein, niacin, zinc and vitamins B-12 and B-6. Read more about veal’s nutritional profile.
Then there’s the taste factor: Veal is light in color with a fine, tender texture and wonderfully smooth and mild, delicate flavor. It’s also very versatile. You can substitute veal in virtually any dish that calls for meat. For anything from meatballs, stew and bolognese sauce, veal is a terrific option.
Getting back to our shish kabobs, these are a perfect time-saving, make-ahead meal. You can make the sauce and thread the skewers well in advance and then keep both covered and refrigerated until ready to use.
I’m using ground veal to make some flavorful meatballs to thread onto the skewers. And using those meatballs we’re going to make some beautifully vibrant, delectably delicious and delightfully healthy kabobs featuring a luscious homemade sweet & sour sauce. None of that corn syrup stuff, no food coloring, preservatives or other unmentionables. Adjust the selection of vegetables to meet your family’s preferences and then crank up the grill!
These Grilled Sweet and Sour Veal Meatball Kabobs are sure to be a hit!
Let’s get started!
Place all ingredients for the sweet & sour sauce, except for the cornstarch, in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer then stir in the cornstarch mixture and stir until thickened. Set aside until ready to use.
To make the meatballs, I’m using ground veal. Lean, tender and nutritious with a wonderfully delicate beef flavor, veal is a great option. Or, if you prefer, you can substitute any ground meat or poultry of your choice.
Place the ground veal, breadcrumbs, egg, parsley, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl and knead or stir to thoroughly combine.
Form the mixture into 1-inch meatballs. These can also be made in advance and kept in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap in the fridge until ready to be used.
This makes about 24 1-inch meatballs.
Cut the onions, bell peppers and pineapple into 1-inch pieces.
Alternately thread meatballs, peppers, onions and pineapple onto 6 skewers. You should have about 24 meatballs so use 4 meatballs per skewer.
Brush the kabobs with about half of the sweet and sour sauce.
Heat grill to medium-high heat.
Brush the grill grates with some oil and place the kabobs on the hot grill.
Grill the kabobs about 5-6 minutes on each side or until lightly seared and the meatballs are cooked through.
Brush the kabobs with remaining sweet and sour sauce and serve immediately.
Grilled Sweet & Sour Veal Meatball Kabobs
- For the Meatballs:
- 1 pound ground veal or ground meat of your choice
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs (gluten free: Use GF breadcrumbs)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- For the Kabobs:
- 1 fresh ripe pineapple, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 large green bell pepper ,cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 large red bell pepper ,cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 large yellow onions ,cut into 1-inch chunks
- For the Sweet & Sour Sauce:
- 2/3 cup low sugar apricot ,peach or orange marmalade
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
- To make the sweet & sour sauce: Combine all sauce ingredients, except for the cornstarch, in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and stir until thickened. Set aside until ready to use.
- To make the meatballs, thoroughly combine all the meatball ingredients in a large mixing bowl and form the mixture into 1-inch meatballs. Yields about 24 meatballs.
- Alternately thread six bamboo or metal skewers with the meatballs (4 on each skewer), pineapple and vegetables. Brush with about half of the sweet & sour sauce.
- Heat the grill to medium-high heat and brush the grill grates with some oil. Grill the kabobs about 5-6 minutes on each side or until lightly seared and the meatballs are cooked through.
- Brush the kabobs with remaining sweet and sour sauce and serve immediately.
Grab some more great veal recipes here.
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This post is in partnership with Veal Made Easy. As always, all opinions are entirely my own.