Salmon with lemon-cilantro vinaigrette and couscous

23 Sep

I found this recipe in an issue of Real Simple magazine last year and I just had to try it. For some reason, I was really intimidated at the thought of making fish at home. I don’t know why, because it really couldn’t be easier and we now make it often. This recipe has become one of our go-to meals. We eat it probably every other week. It’s simple, delicious, and an easy meal to make on a weeknight. It also looks really beautiful on a plate, so it would be a great meal to make for guests. (They don’t need to know how easy it was to make!)


  • 1  box couscous (5-10 oz. depending on how many people you are cooking for.)
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3 salmon filets (sometimes I buy it with the skin on the bottom…Matt likes it.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup of chopped, seeded tomatoes (or use grape tomatoes cut in half)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about the juice of one lemon)


  1. In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, scallions, cilantro, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Cook the couscous according to the package directions.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Season the salmon with the paprika, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook until opaque throughout, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
  5. Place salmon filet on a bed of couscous and spoon the lemon-cilantro vinaigrette over the salmon. Enjoy!
(Recipe adapted from Real Simple Magazine, October 2009)
Ingredients for lemon-cilantro vinaigrette

It’s really more of a salsa than a vinaigrette, isn’t it?

Cooks in 5 minutes! Woohoo!

Boil water, olive oil, and flavor packet (optional) according to package directions. Add dry couscous, stir, remove from heat and place cover on top. In 5 minutes it will be ready.

Fluff with a fork and set aside!

Season both sides with salt, pepper, and paprika.

I make 3 pieces of salmon when making this dish because Matt will eat 2 pieces.

Over medium-high heat, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil and place salmon filets presentation side down. Don’t be tempted to move the salmon around once you lay it in the pan. It needs time to sear and get golden brown. If you try to flip it before it’s ready, you will have a layer of salmon stuck to the pan. Not good.

While this is cooking, I take this time to clean up any mess I’ve made in the kitchen. My mom always told me to clean the kitchen as I go whenever I’m cooking or baking so that I don’t have a huge mess to clean up when everything is said and done. It really does make a huge difference! Thanks mom! 🙂

After 3-4 minutes, salmon should be ready to flip to the bottom side. Give it another 3-4 minutes and it’s done. You won’t want to cook it too much longer or the salmon could be dry. If the salmon flakes with a fork and is light pink in color, it’s ready!

Serve over a bed of couscous and spoon tomato mixture on top. Yum! In less than 30 minutes, you have a healthy, delicious meal that is super easy to make. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do! 🙂


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