Salmon has become a favorite weeknight meal at house Macheesmo. Both of my kids actually really like it, which I realize is maybe odd. While they tend to like simple, baked salmon with lemon (or my chip-crusted salmon), I pushed the boundaries recently with these Spicy Salmon Bowls!
Importantly, it’s easy to make these bowls not spicy if you have little eaters or just don’t want the spicy kick. But, I’m here for the spicy!
I feel like these salmon bowls look fancy and are almost something you would get at a nice lunch place (close to a poke bowl) , but they take just 30 minutes to make (at the most) and you can serve them with a wide range of grains and carbs and crunchy veggies.
I actually thought even leftovers the next day were great!
Dig in and add these salmon bowls to your meal plan!
What kind of salmon works for this recipe?
I always recommend buying the best salmon you can afford, but the truth is that for this recipe, any salmon will work just fine. You can use wild-caught, farm-raised, or frozen and thawed salmon.
You can use a full side of salmon or salmon fillets for these salmon rice bowls.
What I wouldn’t use is very high-end sushi-grade salmon. Save that for raw sushi or true salmon poke bowls.
Marinating the salmon
There’s no reason to marinate this salmon for hours, although you can do it in advance if you like. The marinade mix is very important though as it gives the salmon loads of flavor and the sugar in the marinade allows the sauce to caramelize on the salmon.
For the marinade, whisk together some oil, brown sugar (or honey), soy sauce, lime juice, lime zest, fresh garlic, fresh ginger, and sriracha for a spicy kick (you can leave out the sriracha if you are going the non-spicy route).
Cube your salmon into about 1-inch chunks and marinate it for at least 15 minutes but a few hours is fine as well.
Cooking the salmon – Two ways
There are two easy ways to cook this salmon.
Method one is my preferred method which is to toss the marinated salmon with some sesame seeds and bake it at 400˚F in the oven for about 6 minutes. This will cook the salmon through without overcooking it and toast the sesame seeds a bit as well.
This method works best if you use a baking pan lined with parchment paper so the salmon doesn’t stick.
Method two might be easier for some which is to just cook the salmon in a nonstick skillet for a few minutes on medium heat. This will be faster than the oven method, but it is easy to overcook the salmon and also the salmon pieces can fall apart if you mess with them too much while they cook.
The benefit of method two is that the sauce on the salmon turns into a glaze in the pan which is very delicious.
Either way works so choose your favorite or try them both!
What to serve as a base for these bowls
As a base for these spicy salmon bowls, you can use a wide variety of grains. Rice would be the easiest and you can use white rice or brown rice. On this particular day I used some wild rice which does take longer to cook, but has a fantastic flavor.
Other serving options would be quinoa or something low-carb like cauliflower rice.
- Kick these bowls up a notch by serving it over crispy rice!
Crunchy vegetable topping ideas
There are dozens of fun vegetables you could use for these spicy salmon bowls. I used mini cucumbers, snap peas, red peppers, and green onions. I also added some slivered jalapenos for extra spicy kick.
Other ideas would be:
- Sauteed mushrooms
- Shredded carrots
- Sweet peas
- Fresh herbs like cilantro or Thai basil
To finish off the bowls, drizzle on some spicy mayo or use a mix of Kewpie mayo and a spicy chili oil. I used this hot sesame oil which was absolute fire but you could also use sriracha or something like chili crisp. (I got this hot sesame oil at my local Asian Grocer).
However you top it or serve it, these salmon bowls are truly delicious and much easier to make than you might think!
Give them a shot!
I’m normally not a huge fan of leftover seafood, but I thought these spicy salmon bowls store well actually. I would store the ingredients separately and then you can reheat the salmon in a skillet over low heat or in the microwave for just 20 seconds.
If you don’t want to heat the salmon, it’s actually okay cold as well, almost like a salmon salad.
Store the salmon in an airtight container and I would plan to eat the leftovers within a day or two.
These bowls are a great source of protein and you could use them for meal prepping by doing the salmon in advance.
Spicy Salmon Bowls
- 1 pound salmon, cubed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar, or honey
- 1 medium lime, zest and juice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon sriracha
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, for coating
Other Bowl Ingredients:
- 2 cups white rice, or any rice
- 1 red pepper, sliced
- 1 cucumber, chopped
- 1 cup snap peas, chopped
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, sliced thin
- Sesame Seeds, garnish
- Kewpie mayonnaise, drizzle
- Chili oil, drizzle
- For the salmon, remove skin from salmon and cube into 1-inch cubes. Whisk together olive oil, brown sugar, lime juice and zest, black pepper, garlic, ginger, and sriracha and marinate salmon for at least 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400˚F and toss marinated salmon with sesame seeds. Transfer to baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 6-7 minutes until salmon is cooked through and sauce is caramelized.
- Cook rice according to package instructions. You can use any rice or grain for the base. Slice other toppings as well.
- Assemble salmon bowls in wide bowls with the grain base, followed by about 4 ounces of salmon, crunchy veggies, and drizzles of spicy sriracha mayo or other spicy sauce of your choice. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve immediately.