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Middle Eastern Salmon and Lemon Kebabs
with couscous / citrus and avocados

Active: 45 minTotal: 45 min

Alternating salmon and lemon makes kebabs that are eye-catching and flavorful. We featured these kebabs back in 2015 but are giving them a fresh take in this bright and colorful citrus-packed meal.
Smarts: This meal takes quite a bit of prep, from threading the salmon onto skewers to chopping the citrus and avocado. Feel free to simplify by leaving the salmon filets whole and just searing in a pan. (Top with the lemon slices.)



  • Stock, any type - 1 cup (sub water)
  • Salt - 1/4 tsp
  • Butter - 2 Tbsp
  • Couscous, uncooked - 3/4 cup
Middle Eastern Salmon and Lemon Kebabs:
  • Skewers, wooden, bamboo, or metal - 16
  • Salmon - 1 1/2 lbs, cubed (look for skinless salmon filets or ask the fishmonger to remove the skin)
  • Za'atar - 1 Tbsp
  • Lemons - 2, sliced thinly into rounds
Citrus and Avocados:
  • Shallots - 1 clove, diced
  • Mustard, Dijon - 1/2 tsp
  • Vinegar, red wine - 2 tsp
  • Oil, olive - 2 Tbsp
  • Citrus fruit - 1 lb, chopped (grapefruit, oranges, or a combination)
  • Avocados - 2, chopped

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 serving
Servings Per Recipe 4
Amount Per Serving
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% Daily Value
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  1. Make couscous - (Double if making Wednesday’s meal.) Combine stock, salt, and butter in a saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in couscous and cover with lid. Let stand for ~5 minutes before fluffing with a fork. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  2. Skewers - (If cooking on the grill, get grill heating before continuing with prep.) If using wooden / bamboo skewers, soak in water for 10 minutes.
  3. Make vinaigrette - Dice shallots. Whisk shallots with mustard and vinegar. Add oil while whisking. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  4. Salmon - Rinse and pat dry. Chop into 1” / 2.5 cm cubes. (Note: Don’t worry if some pieces aren’t perfectly cubed; you can fold them over when threading them onto skewers.) Toss salmon with za’atar and some salt and pepper. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
  5. Lemons - Thinly slice into rounds. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
  6. Citrus fruit / Avocados - Prep as directed and combine.
  7. Assemble skewers - Alternate threading salmon and lemons (folded into halves or quarters) onto skewers. (Using two skewers together can make it easier to flip the skewers as they cook.)


  1. If cooking on a grill: Heat grill to 450F / 232C degrees. Clean grates and brush with some oil. Add salmon kebabs and sear on both sides until salmon is just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes total.
  2. If cooking on the stovetop: Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Brush pan with some oil. Add salmon kebabs and sear on both sides until salmon is just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes total.
  3. Toss citrus and avocados in vinaigrette. Season with a pinch of salt.
  4. If couscous was made ahead, reheat in the microwave (reserve half if doubled).
  5. Serve salmon skewers with couscous and citrus / avocados on the side. (The citrus / avocados and vinaigrette are great spooned over top of the couscous.) Enjoy!

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This meal has 28 reviews

So good, and without the skewers this was so quick and easy. I was tempted to skip the vinaigrette because oranges with vinegar sounded unappealing, but I trusted Cook Smarts and, as always, was glad I did.

By: Leila
Posted: Sep 02, 2019
Diet: Original

Tempting to subtract a star because of the higher than average prep work but it ended up tasting delicious. Fresh made cauliflower rice was at least as good as store bought and mixed well with the citrus salad. The fish was amazing on the grill. I had to order Za'atar spice online. The salad of citrus and avocado was an unexpected combination for me and it tasted great with the vinaigrette. Very filling. Final note, I used a mixture of grapefruit and orange in the salad which worked well.

By: Matt
Posted: Sep 01, 2019
Diet: Paleo

Added olives and harissa. Love the yogurt sauce. Would add more spinach next time.

By: Rachel
Posted: Aug 26, 2019
Diet: Vegetarian

Made vegetarian lentils (overcooked my lentils, but mushy with spinach and spices was still delicious), plus skillet cooked lemon salmon. Caramelized the shallot for dressing and it was amazing, salad was the best part of my meal. Will make citrus salad version at some point.

By: Shawn
Posted: Aug 25, 2019
Diet: Vegetarian

Didn't bother with the skewers, and it was still lovely. The salad was unusual but pretty good.

By: Jenn
Posted: Aug 24, 2019
Diet: Original

This was a big hit in our home. The lemon flavor was amazing on the salmon.

By: Catherine
Posted: Aug 22, 2019
Diet: Gluten-free