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Kalyn's Kitchen

Hamburger Kabobs

Hamburger Kabobs (or Kebabs) are a delicious alternative to burgers for ground beef on the grill and this recipe has some surprising ingredients to add flavor!

Click here to PIN Hamburger Kabobs to try them later!

Hamburger Kabobs top photo

If you’re looking for something to make from ground beef that’s a bit more unusual than regular burgers, these delicious Hamburger Kebobs made with ground beef and seasoned with chopped onion, parsley, pine nuts, and dried oregano are a fun idea.  I first made these for a blogging event where you had to use a cookbook published between 1920 and 1975, and  I found this recipe in James Beard’s How To Eat Better For Less Money (affiliate link) a book I’ve had for many, many years!

Even though the book is so old that you can now buy it for a few dollars, it still has good cooking information. James Beard spelled it “kebabs” and one thing that puzzled me the first time I made this recipe was the instructions to marinate the kebabs in “French” dressing.  Then I realized James Beard meant vinaigrette, and it made more sense.  I just brushed the vinaigrette on before I put them on the grill, and it did keep the meat juicy and delicious.

I didn’t change the recipe much, but I did change one important thing in this updated version of the recipe.  Since James Beard wrote this before food processors were common, his recipe called for chopping and mixing the meat mixture by hand. I used the food processor to chop the onion, parsley, and pine nuts and then put the meat in the processor and used it to mix in the other ingredients.  If you don’t have a food processor, just do it by hand the way James Beard did!

Hamburger Kabobs process shots collage

How to Make James Beard’s Hamburger Kabobs:

(Scroll down for complete recipe with nutritional information.)

  1. Coarsely chop the onion, parsley, and pine nuts, then put them in the food processor and pulse until they’re more finely chopped.
  2. Add the hamburger, egg, and spices and pulse until the mixture is barely combined.  (Don’t over-mix.)
  3. The third photo shows how it will look when you’ve mixed it in the food processor.
  4. If you have thick Blade-Type Skewers (affiliate link) or the Double Skewers (affiliate link) like I have, they will work best for these kebabs.  If you’re using wooden skewers (that you’ve soaked) I would use two for each kebab.
  5. I used Newman’s Own Olive Oil and Vinegar Dressing (affiliate link) to brush on the kebabs before I put them on the grill.
  6. Cook kebabs over medium-high heat, turning a few times, until the meat is firm and slightly browned. Of course I have to try for grill marks, and they turned out pretty well.
  7. We cooked the kebabs about 15 minutes, but actual cooking time will depend on the temperature of your grill, the temperature of the meat, and even the temperature of the air if you’re cooking outside.
  8. Serve hot. This would be amazing to serve with Tzatziki Sauce

Hamburger Kabobs square thumbnail photo

Make it a Meal:

Serve Hamburger Kebabs with Arugula and Gorgonzola Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette and Grilled Asparagus with Parmesan for a low-carb meal!

More Recipes for Ground Meat on the Grill:

Kubideh: Grilled Ground Meat with Mediterranean Spices ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Umami Turkey Burgers ~ White on Rice Couple
Grilled Sriracha-Sesame Turkey Meatballs ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Smoky Burger Sliders with Pineapple and Chipotle Mayonnaise ~ Cookin’ Canuck
Low-Carb Grilled Bacon Cheeseburger Meatballs ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen

Hamburger Kabobs top photo

Hamburger Kabobs

Yield 4 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Hamburger Kabobs are a delicious idea for ground beef on the grill that came from James Beard!


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pine nuts (see notes)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. salt (more or less to taste)
  • coarse ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup Newman’s Own Olive Oil and Vinegar Dressing (see notes)


  1. Spray grill with olive oil or non-stick spray, then preheat grill or broiler to medium high.  (On the grill, you can only hold your hand there for a few seconds at that heat.)
  2. Coarsely chop onions, parsley, and pine nuts. Put them in the food processor and pulse until they’re more finely chopped.
  3. Add the hamburger, egg, and spices and pulse until the mixture is barely combined.  (Don’t over-mix.)
  4. Form meat mixture into four cylindrical shaped pieces.
  5. If you have double skewers like I used or blade type skewers, thread kebabs onto skewers.
  6. If you’re using pre-soaked wooden skewers, I would use two for each kabob.  (I would probably just cook them on the grill without a skewer if you don’t have one of these options.)
  7. Brush kebabs on both sides with vinaigrette dressing.  (You can let them marinate in the dressing for a few minutes if desired.)
  8. If you want to baste the kebabs with dressing as they cook, be very careful because the dressing that drips down will flame up when it hits the hot underside of the grill.
  9. Lay kabobs across the grill grates to get crosswise grill marks.
  10. Cook, turning a few times, until the kebabs feel firm (but not hard) to the touch and the meat is well browned.
  11. We cooked the kebabs in these photos about 15 minutes, but cooking time will depend on the temperature of your grill, the temperature of the meat, and even the outside temperature if you’re cooking outside.
  12. This would be great served with Tzatziki Sauce


You can definitely use almonds or walnuts if pine nuts are not in the budget. I'm a huge fan of Newman's Own Olive Oil and Vinegar Dressing (affiliate link) but for basting kebabs you can use any vinaigrette with not more than 2-3 grams of sugar per serving.

This recipe adapted slightly from How To Eat Better For Less Money (affiliate link) a very old cookbook that still has plenty of good ideas.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 454Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 147mgSodium: 708mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 35g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Suggestions:
This recipe is great for low-carb or Keto diet plans who would prefer higher-fat ground beef. If you use lean ground beef and low-sugar vinaigrette to brush the kebabs, this recipe is perfect for any phase of the original South Beach Diet.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Grilling Recipes to find more recipes like this one. Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You can also Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Pinterest image of Hamburger Kabobs

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    35 Comments on “Hamburger Kabobs”

  1. Thanks CJ; same to you!

  2. These look great … happy Sunday 🙂

  3. Kate, so glad you enjoyed them!

    Lydia, I think Greek seasoning would be a great addition to this!

    Donna, you are so kind; thanks!

    Shirley, I was amused by the idea of "French" dressing!

    Claire, haven't tried either of those variations, but would love to hear how it works if you try it.

  4. Wondering if anyone has tried this with ground turkey. (We can get dark meat ground turkey at Whole Foods) and using ground flax seed as a substitute for the egg (or just leaving the egg out). (I am learning to cook without egg, dairy, wheat, beef, and a few more due to some food reactivity in our family).

  5. These look delicious! I would have never thought to make hamburgers using the kabob method. Cool that this is a James Beard recipe, and a vinaigrette is sooooo much better than "true" French dressing! 😉

    Thanks, Kalyn!

  6. Yours is one of those food bogs that I look forward to reading because I learn something every single time. I am most definitely going to try brushing meat with vinaigrette right before I grill it. Thanks for all you have taught me over the years. May you live and blog forever!

  7. In place of Vegesal, which is hard to find here, I think I'll use some Greek seasoning. The flavors would work very well in the kabobs, and I always have it in my pantry.

  8. These were great! We made them for dinner tonight and didn't even add the vinaigrette. We did put them in the food processor and I imagine that made it even better. It certainly helped my 6-year-old eat them without complaint. 🙂


  9. I'm not sure what you mean when you say "would help." If you thought they were too dry without basting with the vinaigrette, then I think you could add some to the mixture.

  10. Kayln: I made these for the first time tonight. We both liked them a lot! My only question is, I didn't realize until the end that you were supposed to have basted the kebobs before they got broiled/grilled. I ended adding the dressing as an afterthought. Do you think adding a bit of the dressing to the meat mixture & letting it marinate a bit would help? I thought that might harden up the mixture a bit.

  11. Hi Kalyn, I stopped in to tell you that I made these last evening. I made the recipe just as you stated (with some concern hubby would turn his nose up at the nuts in the meat!) and we both LOVED it. Very flavorful and not dry by any means. (I did use venison in place of beef.)

    Thank you so much for your index of recipes for the South Beach Diet. We have followed this before and are following it again – so to have your index is like a God send!

  12. Ish, don’t really know; I’ve never even had buffalo so I don’t know how it would cook up compared to beef.

  13. I made this recipe with ground buffalo instead of beef because thats what I bought. It was ok though lacked flavor — it tasted mostly just like the meat. I must have not basted enough of the dressing on or maybe need to spice it up a bit more. Any reason why this would taste drastically different with ground buffalo?

  14. Hi Kalyn, I found your website bc of the SB diet. It is absolutely brilliant! I wish I could come and live with you so that I could eat your recipes every day. I’ve made several things from your website and they are all super good. I think my favorite is this recipe, though. Instead of making kabobs I put it in the oven like a meatloaf. It is super good as meatloaf because it is light (thanks to the nuts and parsley) and less dense than your average meatloaf. Instead of dipping in ketchup, I made a homemade lemon vinagrette to dip in and it was delicious. I love your cooked cheese cake too! Keep up the recipes and experimentation. I love it!

  15. Yummy! Thanks for visiting my blog Obiter Dicta by Steve.

    I wish that I could come to the Utah Bloggers conference next week, but I’m in St. George.

  16. What’s old is new again! Looks really good! I’m always happy with Beard.

  17. What an awesome submission! Great job!

  18. Laura Rebecca, can’t wait to see what others come up with.

    Steven, You’re right, this was great retro food. I think this would have been pretty gourmet for the 70’s. Not sure about the sound of your mom’s French dressing chicken. I’ve never been a French dressing fan at all.

  19. Some retro food is great, this is a good example. The “French Dressing” thing triggered a memory, my Mom used to make a baked chicken dish that used the nasty orange stuff from the bottle and I remember it being quite good. I was about 10 at the time so consider that before you try it, I liked Count Chocula cereal then as well.

  20. Thank you so much for your submission — from James Beard as well, King of Cookbooks!