Grilled Swordfish Kabobs with Capers, Olives, & Pickle-y Onions

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These easy Grilled Swordfish Kabobs are a seafood lover's grilling season dream! Quickly dip cubed swordfish in a smoky-spiced marinade, thread it onto skewers, & grill until it's perfectly tender. Served alongside a bright & briney salad made with olives, capers, tomatoes, & pickle-y onions, these swordfish kabobs are the best grilled seafood dinner!
Grilled Swordfish Kabobs plated on a large serving platter with swordfish marinade as a serving sauce & a simple salad of olives, capers, tomatoes, & thinly sliced red onion. The platter sits atop a creamy cement surface alongside a striped gray linen napkin, a few sprigs of fresh parsley, & a small ceramic plate with the same pickley salad.
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Grilled Swordfish…Made Easy & Extra Flavorful!

Earlier this summer, the biggest recipe request from the PWWB Community was for solid grilled seafood recipes. As I brainstormed recipes, grilled swordfish kept coming to mind – when it comes to grilled seafood, it’s my absolute favorite. Thanks to its firm texture, swordfish grills up absolutely beautifully, & it’s most commonly prepared in the form of meaty steaks. (In fact, if you’re trying to cut back on red meat, swordfish steaks are a great swap for grilled beef!)

Wanting to mix things up a little bit for PWWB, we landed on these Grilled Swordfish Kabobs. They have the same wonderful texture of grilled swordfish steaks, but they’re a little easier to grill because they’re threaded on skewers – no need to worry about them falling apart or sticking. If you’ve been intimidated by grilling fish, swordfish kabobs are a great starting point!

What really makes this recipe special, though, is its flavor. The swordfish soaks up a bold marinade that doubles as a serving sauce, seasoning the fish with bright lemon as well as rich, earthy flavor from spices like cumin & smoked paprika. I like to serve these skewers with a really simple salad of juicy summer tomatoes, ‘pickle-y’ onions, capers, & castelvetrano olives. It’s textural, punchy, bold, & flavor-filled – basically all of the best things in the world!

Grilled Swordfish Kabobs plated on a large serving platter with swordfish marinade as a serving sauce & a simple salad of olives, capers, tomatoes, & thinly sliced red onion.

Grilled Swordfish Kabobs Recipe Highlights

You’ll love this easy grilled swordfish kabobs recipe because it’s (click for shortcuts within this post!)

  • BOLD & FLAVORFUL! Mild & meaty swordfish seasoned with a smoky-spiced marinade & served alongside a briney, punchy salad of tomatoes, pickle-y onions, olives, & capers…grilled seafood doesn’t get more flavorful than this!
  • EASY TO GRILL. If you’ve never learned how to grill swordfish before, this is your invitation to try! Rather than grilling whole swordfish steaks, the swordfish is threaded on skewers – they’re easier to handle & won’t fall apart on the grill.
  • SIMPLY THE BEST! Need I say more?! 😉

If you’re a seafood lover, these swordfish kabobs are a must-try. Add this recipe to your summer bucket list ASAP – you won’t regret it! ♡ Read on to learn more about these Grilled Swordfish Kabobs, or jump straight to the recipe & get grilling!

This flavor-filled recipe starts with a Simple Grilled Swordfish Marinade.

This swordfish kabobs recipe starts with a marinade that packs a biiig punch of flavor despite its minimal ingredients list. The really slick part is that the swordfish marinade plays double duty in this recipe. You’ll use it to marinate the fish, of course, but also as a sauce for serving. Dual purpose with half the work – a major win!

Full ingredients list & measurements provided in the Recipe Card, below.

HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • Swordfish – Of course! You should be able to find swordfish readily available at your favorite fish monger or at a conventional grocery store with a good seafood counter, though it never hurts to call in advance just to double check. Swordfish is most often sold portioned into ‘steaks’ (crosswise slices of the swordfish fillet). To prepare the swordfish for grilled kabobs, simply slice these swordfish steaks into 1 1/2-inch cubes.
  • Aromatics – Loads of garlic & lemon for brightness. Be sure to use both the zest & juice for maximum flavor. Look for a lemon that has thin skin & feels heavy for its weight to ensure it’s juicy enough!
  • Spices – A simple combination of citrusy coriander, earthy cumin, & smoky smoked paprika. If you like a little bit of heat, you could also add a dash of cayenne pepper for kick.
  • Olive oil – To bring everything together. Since we’re grilling these kabobs, there’s no need to use your finest extra virgin olive oil for this swordfish kabob marinade – regular olive oil is great. Or, sub it out with your favorite high smoke point oil, like grapeseed oil or avocado oil.

To assemble. ⇢ Simply add all of the ingredients to a small bowl & whisk to combine – pretty easy! Divide the marinade in half – toss the cubed fish with one half of the swordfish marinade & reserve the remaining marinade for serving.

Marinaded cubed swordfish threaded on 4 bamboo skewers sitting in a dark gray baking sheet atop a creamy cement surface.

QUICK TIPS & TRICKS.

  • Suggested marinating time. ⇢ Given the amount of citrus in this swordfish kabob marinade, the ideal marinade time is really short – the 15-20 minutes that it takes for the grill to preheat is perfect.
  • Meal prep tip! ⇢ Despite the suggested marinating times for this swordfish kabob marinade, you can still get ahead on your dinner by prepping the marinade in advance. (A little bonus? The flavors of the marinade meld together even more the longer it sits!) Prep the marinade & store it in a jar or an airtight container in the refrigerator. The marinade will keep for up to 5 days. The night you make grilled swordfish kabobs for dinner, simply pour it over the swordfish when you light the grill. Pretty slick!
  • Don’t forget! ⇢ If you’re using bamboo skewers for your grilled swordfish kabobs, be sure to soak them in water at least 20 minutes prior to assembly to prevent them from charring to a crisp on the grill.

How to Cook Swordfish Kabobs on the Grill?

If you’ve never cooked swordfish on the grill, these grilled swordfish kabobs are the perfect place to start! Because we’re using smaller pieces of swordfish (rather than a larger steak), the swordfish grills up very quickly – there’s a much less likelihood that it falls apart on the grates or dries out as it grills.

Swordfish kabobs on grill grates, with deep grill marks.

Full Recipe Directions with step-by-step photos provided in the Recipe Card, below.

Here’s everything you need to know:

  • What temperature to grill swordfish? ⇢ The best temperature for grilling swordfish is in the range of 400-450 degrees F, the ‘medium’ setting on most conventional propane grills. To prevent sticking, be sure to start with a clean grill, scraping any debris or built up residue from the grill grates once the grill is hot. (For more guidance, check out How to Clean Your Grill!)
  • How long to grill swordfish kabobs? ⇢ These grilled swordfish kabobs require just 4-5 minutes per side, flipping halfway through (about 8-10 minutes total). For bests results, use a grill spatula with a thin profile to carefully flip the kabobs. Personally, I like this BBQ Fish Spatula or something like this BBQ Turner.
  • How do you know when swordfish is done on the grill? ⇢ The swordfish kabobs are ready to remove from the grill once they pull away from the grates easily. For the most precise results and to keep your swordfish really moist, use an instant-read thermometer to check doneness. The internal temperature of the cubed swordfish (without hitting the skewer) should register an internal temperature of 130 degrees F.

Serving Suggestions for the BEST Grilled Swordfish Dinner!

With the swordfish kabobs grilled, all that’s left to do is serve them & enjoy!

Grilled Swordfish Kabobs plated on a large serving platter with swordfish marinade as a serving sauce & a simple salad of olives, capers, tomatoes, & thinly sliced red onion. The platter sits atop a creamy cement surface alongside a striped gray linen napkin, a few sprigs of fresh parsley, & a jar of fresh parsley.

Because smoky, grilled swordfish pairs so beautifully with bright, briney flavors, I like serving these swordfish kabobs with a very simple salad of capers, castelvetrano olives, juicy-sweet summer tomatoes, & ‘pickle-y’ onions. To make pickle-y onions, simply toss thinly sliced red onions with lemon juice. The acidity of the lemon mellows out the astringent flavor of onion without having to go through the effort of making pickled onions.

If you’re not typically a fan of olives, I really encourage you to give castelvetrano olives a try! They’re very mild in flavor with a satisfying & meaty texture, & they pair really beautifully with the other flavors & textures of this grilled swordfish recipe.

Don’t forget to finish it all off with a generous drizzle of the reserved marinade. Its bright-yet-spiced flavors tie everything together – smoky swordfish, briney capers & olives, bright summer tomatoes, & pickle-y onions.

Grilled Swordfish Kabobs plated on a large serving platter with swordfish marinade as a serving sauce & a simple salad of olives, capers, tomatoes, & thinly sliced red onion. The platter sits atop a creamy cement surface alongside a second smaller ceramic plate with the same pickley salad.

I can’t wait for you to try these Grilled Swordfish Kabobs! They’re so fun & impressive to serve, yet they’re simple enough for weeknight grilling. I know you’ll love them as much as we do – if you do give them a try, be sure to let me know!: Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations!

Love easy seafood recipes? Try these Zesty Grilled Shrimp Skewers with Pistachio PestoGrilled Cod Fish Tacos with Ginger-Lime Slaw & Avocado Crema, or this Seared Scallop Pesto Pasta next! Happy cooking! ♡

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Grilled Swordfish Kabobs plated on a large serving platter with swordfish marinade as a serving sauce & a simple salad of olives, capers, tomatoes, & thinly sliced red onion. The platter sits atop a creamy cement surface alongside a striped gray linen napkin, a few sprigs of fresh parsley, & a small ceramic plate with the same pickley salad. Peeking into the frame is a jar of fresh parsley.

Grilled Swordfish Kabobs with Capers, Olives, & Pickle-y Onions

  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4 1x
  • Category: Main Dishes, Seafood Recipes
  • Method: Grilling & Smoking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These easy Grilled Swordfish Kabobs are a seafood lover’s grilling season dream! Quickly dip cubed swordfish in a smoky-spiced marinade, thread it onto skewers, & grill until it’s perfectly tender. Served alongside a bright & briney salad made with olives, capers, tomatoes, & pickle-y onions, these swordfish kabobs are the best grilled seafood dinner!


Ingredients

Scale

for the swordfish kabobs:

  • 1 1/2 pounds swordfish steaks, cut into uniform 2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large, juicy lemon, zested & juiced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika 
  • kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season
  • 68 stainless steel or bamboo skewers (soaked in water at least 20 minutes prior to assembly)

briney tomato salad with capers, olives, & pickle-y onions:

  • 1 large, juicy lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 23 ounces pitted castelvetrano or frescatrano olives, roughly chopped or torn
  • 1 tablespoon capers, roughly choppedGrilled swordfish kabobs ingredients arranged on a creamy cement surface – swordfish steaks, tomatoes, lemons, olives, onion, garlic, spices, capers, & olive oil.

Instructions

  1. Prep: Preheat the grill for medium direct heat grilling, 400-450 degrees F. Gather & prep all ingredients. It’s especially helpful to take care of the briney tomato salad at this point: Add the lemon juice to a medium bowl with the thinly sliced red onion & toss to combine. Set aside, & prep remaining salad ingredients (slice tomatoes, roughly chop olives & capers).Weber Genesis II Propane Grill on a deck.
  2. Prepare the swordfish marinade: Add the olive oil, lemon zest & juice, garlic, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, & ground black pepper as desired to a small bowl or jar. Whisk or shake to combine. Set aside, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Grilled swordfish marinade in a liquid measuring glass with a spoon in it. The glass sits atop a creamy cement surface. Peeking in the side of the frame is a bowl of cubed swordfish for grilled swordfish kabobs, covered in the marinade.
  3. Season & skewer the swordfish: Place the cubed swordfish in a large bowl. Pour half of the prepared marinade over top. Set aside the remaining marinade, reserving it for serving. Toss the swordfish to coat it in the marinade. Thread the seasoned swordfish on skewers. Marinaded cubed swordfish threaded on 4 bamboo skewers sitting in a dark gray baking sheet atop a creamy cement surface.
  4. Grill the swordfish kabobs: Once the grill is hot, clean the grates by scraping away any built up reside. Transfer the prepared swordfish kabobs to the grill. Grill over direct heat for 4-5 minutes per side, just until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the fish registers 130 degrees F. Remove the kabobs from the grill & set aside to rest 5-10 minutes before serving.Swordfish kabobs on grill grates, with deep grill marks.
  5. Serve: Place the grilled swordfish kabobs on a large plate or serving platter. Arrange the pickle-y onions, tomatoes, olives, & capers around the kabobs, seasoning with kosher salt & ground black pepper to taste. Drizzle the reserved marinade over top & serve immediately. Enjoy! Grilled Swordfish Kabobs plated on a large serving platter with swordfish marinade as a serving sauce & a simple salad of olives, capers, tomatoes, & thinly sliced red onion. The platter sits atop a creamy cement surface alongside a striped gray linen napkin, a few sprigs of fresh parsley, & a small ceramic plate with the same pickley salad. Peeking into the frame is a jar of fresh parsley.


Notes

  • Storage & Reheating: Swordfish kabobs are best enjoyed the day you grill them, though leftovers will keep, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 2 days. Enjoy leftovers cold, or reheat in the microwave just until warmed through.
  • 20-Minute Meal Prep: Nearly all of the active prep work for these grilled swordfish kabobs comes from prepping the grilled swordfish marinade & chopping veggies for the briney salad. Prep either or both in advance for a great head start on your grilled swordfish kabobs dinner – it’ll take 20 minutes, tops:
    • Prep the grilled swordfish marinade according to Step 2 of Recipe Directions, above. Store in a jar or airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. The day you’d like to make grilled swordfish kabobs, all you have to do is cube the swordfish & toss it into the marinade – quick & easy! (10 minutes active prep)
    • Prep the veggies as noted in the Ingredients List above –  thinly slice 1/2 red onion, halve or quarter 8 ounces cherr tomatoes, & roughly chop or tear 2-3 ounces olives. Store in individual airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. (10 minutes active prep)

Keywords: seafood recipes, main dishes, healthy recipe, gluten-free, dairy-free, pescatarian, grilling recipes, summer, spring, weeknight cooking

Recipe Developed by Madeline Fitzgerald | Food Styling by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by Rachel Cook, Half Acre House.

Grilled Swordfish Kabobs plated on a large serving platter with swordfish marinade as a serving sauce & a simple salad of olives, capers, tomatoes, & thinly sliced red onion. The platter sits atop a creamy cement surface alongside a striped gray linen napkin & a few sprigs of fresh parsley.

Ready to Hit the Grill?

If this all still feels new to you, I encourage you to head over to Grilling 101, a compilation of tips & tricks for all of the grilling basics – everything from how to light your grill to how to clean your grill.

All this talk about grilling have you feelin’ ready to hit the grill? Me too! Be sure to check out this post for my 15 go-to marinades you need this grilling season. At our house, a good marinade is at the heart of grilling season. I’m positive these marinades will be on repeat at your house this summer! For even more grilled goodness, be sure to check out all of our Grilling & Smoking recipes.

& lastly! Be sure to give @playswellwithbutter a follow on Instagram – I’ll be teaching you how to grill up some goodness all summer long, & we have so much fun on Instagram!

Want more grilling tips & recipes?

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Hi there, I'm Jess!

If there’s 1 thing to know about me, it’s this: I am head-over-heels in love with food. I’m on a mission to make weeknight cooking flavorful, fast, & fun for other foodies, & PWWB is where I share foolproof recipes that deliver major flavor with minimal effort. Other true loves: pretty shoes, puppies, Grey’s Anatomy, & my cozy kitchen in Minneapolis, MN.

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Comments

  1. 8.11.21
    Kate Walter said:

    Make this NOW! even if you THINK you don’t really want swordfish!! PWWB has the lemony flavorful marinade to perfection. Just a juicy, give me more, perfection of a dish with fresh tomatoes, olives, capers portioned just right! (Tip! Rely on ANY of PWWB arsenal of marinades)