Shish Kabob And Haydari Recipe

If you own a grill and haven't made shish kabobs yet, you're missing out on an essential part of summertime. 

Shish kabob comes from the Turkish phrase şiş kebap, meaning "skewered meat," and is as simple as it sounds: Pieces of meat, skewered onto heat-proof sticks of wood or metal, grilled over hot wood or charcoal. Eventually, modernization allowed for vegetables to be readily available across the Middle East, and kabobs became a plentiful mixture of meats and veggies. What didn't change was the delicious, garlicky marinade that coats the steak and makes for seriously flavorful kabobs and the herby, yogurt-based feta sauce that typically accompanies the dish. 

In our quick and easy recipe developed with Michelle McGlinn, we opt for a classic summer vegetable kabob made with steak, tomato, onion, and squash. The swaps are endless, but one thing we recommend? Don't skip the marinade — or the yogurt sauce.

All the ingredients needed for shish kabobs with haydari

First, head to the produce section and grab a red onion, a large zucchini, and a couple large tomatoes. You can also use yellow onions, summer squash, potatoes, mushrooms, eggplant, or peppers — get creative and use your favorite seasonal veggies. Next, get a thick piece of sirloin. This cut will be both quick-cooking and budget-friendly, but you can also swap for steaks like a strip or even ribeye. Look for cuts that can be grilled quickly and avoid roasts.

Grab olive oil, cumin, paprika, lemon, honey, salt, pepper, parsley, and a lot of garlic. For the haydari, you'll also need Greek yogurt, crumbled feta, fresh dill, and fresh mint. In a pinch, feel free to use dried herbs instead.

Marinate the steak

With the steak cut into large chunks, add the seasonings, oil, garlic, lemon, and parsley and combine well in a bowl. Ideally, make this at least a day in advance for the best flavor. If you're short on time or planning a last-minute dinner, let the steak sit in the marinade for as long as possible while the grill heats up. The steak can be marinated up to 5 days in advance; just transfer to a sealable bag and keep chilled.

Make the haydari

Haydari is a Turkish yogurt sauce commonly used on kabobs. Typically, haydari is made with strained yogurt or labneh, and if you have some on hand, we encourage you to use it. If not, regular Greek yogurt will do the trick.

This sauce should retain some texture, especially in the herbs, so we don't recommend blending until completely smooth. Instead, add the sauce ingredients to a food processor and pulse or gently blend until well combined. The garlic and herbs should be finely chopped and the feta should have whipped lightly into the yogurt. If the mixture is too thick, add more oil.

Assemble the skewers

You don't have to be strict about the order of vegetables — add the veggies in whatever order you like best. One thing we do recommend, however, is finishing each skewer with a piece of steak — the vegetables soften as they cook and will slip off of the end of the skewers very easily. Steak, on the other hand, shrinks slightly in heat, making it a steady end piece for the skewers. The last thing you want is a tomato falling between your grates.

Grilling the kabobs

Heat the grill to medium heat, or around 400 F. Turn all burners on for direct heat, then spray the kabobs lightly with oil to avoid burning or sticking. Place the kabobs on the grill and cook, rotating after about 7 minutes. Cook time will vary based on the size of your steak and vegetables. You'll know when the kabobs are ready when the steak is charred and the zucchini is soft and losing shape. If the vegetables are beginning to char too deeply, turn a burner off and place over indirect heat.

Serving shish kabobs

There are a couple ways to enjoy shish kabobs. You can eat them right from the skewer, dipping each bite in haydari, or you can remove the meat and veggies from the skewers and enjoy them over rice. We love shish kabobs with rice pilaf and cucumber salad, or stuffed into a pita with leafy greens. This is also an easy way to meal prep because the kabobs can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. For this, we recommend removing the steak and vegetables from the skewers and storing in airtight containers. And don't forget the sauce — the haydari can be stored in the refrigerator for a week, as well.

Shish Kabob And Haydari Recipe
5 from 30 ratings
This classic vegetable kabob made with steak, tomato, onion, and squash, along with haydari yogurt sauce, is a perfect summer dish that complements the season.
Prep Time
Cook Time
close up of steak on skewer
Total time: 59 minutes
  • 1 ½ pounds sirloin, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • ½ cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 7 cloves garlic, divided
  • Juice from ½ a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • ¼ cup fresh dill
  • ¼ cup fresh mint
  • 2 large zucchini, chopped into 1-inch slices
  • 2 large tomatoes, halved, then cut into thirds
  • 1 red onion, halved, then cut into eighths
  1. Add the sirloin to a large bowl and mix with ¼ cup olive oil, cumin, paprika, 2 cloves of minced garlic, lemon juice, honey, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and parsley. Mix, using your hands, until the steak is completely coated. Let marinate for 30 minutes, or transfer to a sealable bag and marinate for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
  2. To make the haydari, combine the yogurt, ¼ cup olive oil, feta, dill, mint, 5 cloves garlic, and a pinch of salt in a food processor. Pulse until smooth. Herbs and garlic should be chopped, not blended. Season to taste with salt as needed.
  3. To make the kabobs, heat the grill to 400 F or medium-high heat. Assemble the kabobs on metal skewers, spearing first a zucchini, then an onion slice, then a piece of steak, a tomato, and another zucchini. Continue as needed until skewer is full, then finish skewer with a piece of sirloin.
  4. Spray the kabobs with cooking oil and place on the grill over direct heat. Grill until deeply browned and charred, flipping once, about 7-10 minutes per side. Once the meat is cooked through and vegetables are soft, remove from the heat.
  5. Serve kabobs with the prepared haydari.
Calories per Serving 827
Total Fat 62.6 g
Saturated Fat 19.9 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 167.5 mg
Total Carbohydrates 21.4 g
Dietary Fiber 4.9 g
Total Sugars 11.8 g
Sodium 1,053.2 mg
Protein 47.5 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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