These grilled salmon kabobs are easy, amazingly delicious and healthy. Tender, perfectly flaky and with tons of flavor, these are nicely caramelized and cooked to juicy perfection. Learn the tricks to make the best out of your salmon grilling experience.
Grilled Salmon Skewers
This blog features some of the best grilled recipes around the world, our popular Kabob Koobideh. Now we turn to grilling fish, so you can make your next healthy and delicious Persian feast with the best salmon kabobs. In fact, these will pair with any cuisine theme.
These flaky, juicy, and flavorful kabobs are ready in less than 30 minutes. Plus, you can feed a large gathering as it takes such a short time to cook. But you must select the best quality salmon, more on that later.
If you have never grilled fish kabobs, this is the time to try. You won’t believe how incredibly easy and delicious they are.
Salmon, Lemon Juice, Olive Oil, Onion Juice, Rosemary, Garlic, Spices, Vegetables, Salt
Spices: Advieh (Persian spice blend, or ground cumin + ground coriander), dried ground ginger, dried mango powder or sumac, ground black pepper
Combination of rosemary, ginger, onion and spices gives an incredible flavor to the salmon kabobs. The dried mango powder adds a hint of smoky tanginess, if you are able to find it at your local Indian grocery store. Add chili flakes if you want to make it spicy.
Marinade: It nicely flavors the fish and keeps it moist. Use leftover marinade for basting to keep the kabobs juicy.
Vegetables: We used tomatoes, red onions, bell peppers and zucchini. But you can try other vegetables too.
How to Select the Best Salmon
- Choose skinless salmon fillet that is firm, thick, bright pink in color, smells fresh and is preferably wild caught. You can have your local grocer remove the skin. If you can find and afford it, choose king or coho salmon.
- Farm raised Atlantic salmon are often more fatty and lower in nutrients due to the manner in which they are raised and fed.
How to Make: Brief Overview
- Combine the marinade ingredients. Toss salmon cubes with the marinade. Grill both sides just until salmon turns opaque.
- We prefer charcoal grill for the amazing flavor it imparts, but you can use gas grill or cook it on stove top or broil it in oven. Full recipe and instructions at end of post.
Caramelized Salmon Crust
To get that mouth watering caramelized look on your fish kabobs try adding some tomato paste into the basting mixture as we did.
Other products that also work great are pomegranate molasses, honey, brown sugar and molasses. You only need to add a little bit of these to your basting mixture. The sugars will caramelize and impart a nice crust, appearance and texture.
What to Serve with Salmon Kabobs
- We love to serve salmon kabobs with rice (Persian dill rice, lentil rice or plain barberry rice — skip the chicken).
- Make great wraps with flatbreads and this lemon dill sauce we used for tuna melt crescent ring.
- Try amazing fish tacos with salsa and guacamole on the side.
- Add it to a salad such as kale quinoa salad with lentils.
- Or simply serve it with a fresh tomato cucumber salad for a low carb meal or with tabbouleh.
- Make sure to serve some delicious beverages such as Ayran.
Health Benefits and Nutrition Facts
This recipe is dairy free, gluten free, egg free, low carb, high protein, nut free and soy free.
Salmon is a great source of long chain omega 3 fatty acids and high quality protein. Plus, it provides a good amount of other nutrients, such as B vitamins, vitamin D, selenium, and potassium.
Regular consumption of salmon has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes. Other beneficial effects include better weight management, reduced inflammation, protection of brain health.
As such, consuming at least two servings of fatty fish per week, such as salmon, is highly recommended.
More Fish Recipes
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Zaalouk (Moroccan Eggplant Dip)
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Preheat oven to 400˚F. Prick the eggplants with a fork in couple spots and place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until the skin turns darker and shrinks. Check foot notes for grilling, broiling or stove top options.
- The eggplants should be cooked through completely in the center. To check, press the back of a fork on the eggplant. It should compress easily all the way into the center without any resistance.
- Cut through the eggplant skin and scoop out the soft cooked flesh and mash it with a fork and set aside.
- Chop the tomatoes into small pieces, discarding some seeds if you wish. See note below for peeled and deseeded tomatoes.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a saucepan at medium setting. Add the chopped tomatoes, minced garlic, paprika, cumin, cayenne or chili powder, ⅓ teaspoon salt and cook until tomatoes are softened, stirring in between, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Add the mashed eggplants and cilantro. Continue to cook over low heat for another 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, mashing it if needed, into a thick but slightly textured dip like consistency.
- Stir in lemon juice and salt. Adjust as per taste, let it cool and transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate it overnight before serving.
- Take the zaalouk from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving and let it come to room temperature. Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Garnish with cilantro and red pepper flakes if you prefer.
- Chunky Zaalouk: To make a chunkier but less traditional zaalouk, insert garlic cloves into eggplant and roast it in the oven at 400˚F, along with the tomatoes. Chop the eggplants and tomatoes. Add the spices, herbs, half the olive oil, salt and mash it up to desired consistency. Drizzle olive oil and serve.
- Cooking Eggplants:
- Grill: Roast eggplants on charcoal or gas grill for 20 to 30 minutes, turning them slowly in between, until skin turns darker and shrinks.
- Broil: Cut eggplants lengthwise into halves and place the cut side down on a foil lined baking sheet. Place on the second rack and broil until skin turns darker and shrinks, about 20 minutes.
- Stovetop: Peel the eggplants completely, only some stripes or leave the skin on if you don’t mind it. Cut the eggplants into small pieces. Steam on high heat until soft or cook in a pan with some water until soft and mushy.
- Easy Zaalouk: Combine all ingredients with ⅓ cup of water and cook it over stove top until softened. Mash it up well and drizzle olive oil.
- Peeled and deseeded tomatoes: If you prefer, you can blanch the tomatoes. Cut a small cross on the surface of tomatoes and dump them in hot boiling water. After a minute, pick out the tomatoes and peel the skin, cut them into halves and deseed. Chop them into small pieces.
- Use more tomatoes if you want the dip to be saucy. You may even try using a little bit of tomato paste to give it thickness.
- Leftovers: Can be refrigerated for 4 to 5 days. You can freeze zaalouk for couple months. Thaw and reheat. Adjust the consistency, evaporating or adding water as needed. Check the seasoning as well.
- Nutrition facts not including any added salt.
- For other variations, tips and serving suggestions, scroll up the page to the blog post.
Grilled Salmon Kabobs
- 2 lbs skinless salmon fillet cut into 1½ inch cubes
- 1 red onion cut into quarters
- 3 roma tomatoes
- 1 green bell pepper cut into quarters
- 1 zucchini cut lengthwise and then into quarters
- Metal Skewers
- Charcoal Grill (Preferred)
- Medium Mixing Bowl
- In a medium bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients — olive oil, lemon juice, red onion juice, garlic, dried rosemary, salt and pepper. Add the salmon cubes, toss to coat and marinate for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, thread the vegetables on ½ inch wide metal skewers (if using wooden or bamboo skewers, soak them in water at least 30 minutes before using).
- Preheat the charcoal grill about 30 minutes before grilling. We recommend using hardwood charcoal and not briquettes for perfect flavor. The grill is ready when the flame has subsided, coals glow uniformly and covered with some ash.Tip: A small fan or hair dryer may be useful. Check this tutorial for more about charcoal grilling.
- Alternatively, grill salmon kabobs using nicely oiled grates on gas grill at medium heat. See note for stove top or broiling options.
- Thread the salmon cubes on ½ inch wide metal skewers. Combine the spices — advieh (or cumin + coriander), dried ground ginger, ground pepper, salt and mango powder or sumac. Sprinkle this mixture generously over salmon cubes on all sides.
- To make the basting mixture, combine leftover marinade with olive oil and pinch of salt. Stir in some tomato paste or saffron water, if preferred.
- Start grilling vegetables ahead of salmon kabobs. When they are about half done, proceed with salmon skewers.
- When the grill is ready, arrange salmon skewers directly over the charcoal grill without the grate, about 4 inches above the glowing coals. Grill kabobs for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, flipping them couple times, until salmon turns opaque throughout. Baste all skewers with basting mixture while grilling and at the end.
- Avoid cooking kabobs too close to the heat source or they will burn on the outside and remain uncooked inside. Do not cook at very low heat and for too long, otherwise they will become dry and overcooked.
- Serve salmon kabobs and grilled vegetables with lemon slices, lavash, rice and sumac on the side.
- Stove top: Brush a grill pan or griddle with olive oil and heat at medium. Place the skewers in one layer, spacing them apart. Cook 4 to 5 minutes on one side, flip and cook on the other side for 3 to 4 minutes until opaque.
- Broil in oven: Place salmon skewers on a baking sheet and broil on high in the top rack for about 5 minutes. Then flip the skewers and broil another 3 to 4 minutes until salmon turns opaque.
- Onion Juice: Process diced red onion in food processor until smooth, and strain the juices.
- Storage: Salmon kabobs will keep well in the refrigerator for couple days. Sprinkle some water and reheat quickly.
- Dried Mango Powder: Also known as ‘amchur’ is available at Indian grocery stores and imparts a hint of smoky tanginess to the kabobs.