Za’atar-Rubbed Snapper with Couscous Salad

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 40 min
  • Active: 40 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
Awaken the subtly sweet flavors of snapper fillets with lemon zest and za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend that adds nutty, earthy notes to your favorite dishes. A staple in North Africa, couscous makes for the perfect accompaniment and comes together in minutes.



  1. Place the couscous in a large heatproof bowl. Bring 1 cup water to a simmer in a small saucepan; pour over the couscous, cover and let stand until the water is absorbed, about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, grate the zest of 1 lemon, juice 1 1/2 lemons and cut the remaining 1/2 lemon into 4 wedges. Fluff the couscous and add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon juice, bell pepper, cucumber, tomatoes, shallot and parsley; season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate while the fish cooks.
  3. Mix the za'atar, lemon zest and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub onto the flesh side of the fish. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add 2 fish fillets skin-side down, pressing gently to prevent them from curling. Cook until the edges turn opaque, about 4 minutes. Carefully flip the fish and cook until just opaque throughout, about 2 minutes; remove to plates. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and repeat with the remaining 2 fish fillets.
  4. Top the fish with parsley and drizzle with olive oil. Serve with the couscous salad and lemon wedges.

Cook’s Note

You don’t need much olive oil to cook this low-cal snapper, but a drizzle at the end adds extra flavor!