Skip to Content


Recipe: salmon skewers with lemon-parsley pesto

Focused on Health - June 2012

grill salmon skewersPlanning your next barbecue?  This recipe for salmon skewers should be a welcome guest. And, that’s not just because they taste good.

These salmon skewers also are good for you. That’s because salmon is a great source of disease-fighting vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. And, it’s a healthy alternative to red meat (including beef) and processed meats, which can raise your risk of diseases like cancer.


1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 cup fresh basil 
1/4 cup capers, drained
2 tsp. grated lemon rind
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
2 and 1/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 pounds skinless, boneless salmon fillets, cut into 1-inch chunks 
1/4 tsp. salt, divided
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray
4 cups hot cooked orzo
Parsley sprigs (if desired)


  1. Prepare grill.
  2. Combine first 7 ingredients (cheese through garlic) in food processor. Add 1 ½ tablespoons oil to herb mixture; process until smooth, scraping sides. Set aside.
  3. Thread fish evenly on each of 16 skewers. Brush fish with remaining 1 tablespoon oil; sprinkle evenly with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper. Arrange skewers on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 1 minute on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove skewers from grill, and keep warm.
  4. Combine orzo and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, and toss well. Place ½ cup orzo on each of 8 plates. Place 2 salmon skewers on top of each plate of orzo. Garnish each plate with 1 tablespoon of the herb mixture. Garnish with parsley sprigs if desired.

Yield: 8 servings

Each serving provides:
Calories: 407
Total fat: 12.7 grams
Saturated fat: 2.6 grams
Carbohydrates: 43.3 grams
Protein: 29.2 grams
Fiber: 2.1 grams
Iron: 3 milligrams
Cholesterol: 58 milligrams
Sodium: 398 milligrams
Calcium: 87 milligrams

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get the latest on protecting your body from cancer. 


Cancer Risk Check

Could you be more likely to get cancer?

Find out by taking MD Anderson’s Cancer Risk Check.

Focused on Health on Twitter

© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center