Salmon Poke Bowl

The salmon poke bowl is a perfect one-bowl meal that’s easy to make and packed with nutrition. The recipe uses an extra aromatic sauce that has the right balance of savory, sour, sweet, and spicy. The dish is quick enough to make for a weekday dinner and fancy enough to serve at your weekend dinner party. {Gluten-free adaptable}

Salmon poke bowl

Summer means poke!

Mmm… There’s really only one dish I crave when I’m hankering for a delicious combination of contrasting textures and vibrant colors and flavors that take me to the beach. A main dish of native Hawaiian cuisine, poke is basically diced raw fish, traditionally tuna, salmon, or octopus, marinated in Asian seasonings. It has strong Japanese influences, which is why the traditional marinade is made from ingredients such as soy sauce and rice vinegar.

My approach to the recipe was to keep it simple and refreshing. I used the traditional approach with fresh aromatics to create a rich sauce that goes perfectly with the salmon.

The other day, when I was testing the recipe, my friend came over and insisted I let him try it out. I was so nervous because he’s from Hawaii. To my biggest relief, he LOVED the taste and finished the whole bowl. So I’m proud to say that this recipe is Hawaiian-approved!

Salmon poke bowl close up

An introduction to sushi-grade salmon

Why frozen salmon

Choosing a high-quality salmon not only makes a difference in the taste of your dish, but for raw seafood especially, you want to make sure it’s 100% clean and safe to eat.

The FDA Food Code states that fish eaten raw should be frozen at -4 degrees Fahrenheit for a minimum of seven days, or for 15 hours at a temperature of -31 degrees F. Fish for sushi usually uses the latter approach, called flash freezing. The process kills the parasites while retaining the texture of the fish. And you can usually find a “sushi grade” label on fish that’s processed this way.

That’s why a poke recipe usually recommends using frozen salmon instead of fresh salmon.

Where to buy sushi-grade salmon

You can usually find sushi-grade salmon in a high-end grocery store, in the freezer session near the fish and seafood section. For example, the Whole Foods near us carries various kinds of sushi-grade fish – skinned, cut into rectangular pieces, and packaged in boxes. When I was living in Austin, we usually went to Central Market to buy sushi-grade salmon and tuna.

For this recipe, I used Sockeye salmon from the Copper River Prince William Sound Marketing Association. It’s a non-profit in rural Alaska that works on behalf of 540 fishing families to help share their stories and their salmon with the world. Copper River salmon are handled with extreme care on their journey from net to plate. Their Sockeye salmon is robust and rich in flavor with a firm texture that makes it perfect for a poke bowl.

Sushi grade salmon at WholeFoods

What to do if you cannot find sushi-grade salmon

Not all salmon have parasites. But they are usually more susceptible to parasites than other types of fish such as tuna. That’s why it’s always a good idea to buy frozen salmon.

But when you cannot find sushi-grade salmon, using wild-caught salmon from a reliable source might be your next best option.

Living in the wild and eating their natural diet, wild-caught salmon have a lower risk of contamination from man-made toxins. Also, they’re less likely to be exposed to antibiotics, pesticides, colorings, and other harmful substances used in some farm-raised fish. Farm-raised salmon usually grow up in poor crowded conditions, with higher rates of bacteria, parasites, and diseases.

Cut salmon into cubes

Cooking notes

1. How to fast prepping the sauce

It’s important to finely grate the aromatics, so you won’t bite into big chunks of ginger and garlic. I usually use a garlic press to finely grate the garlic and a lemon zester to grate the ginger. Not only does this speed up your prep, but it also makes your sauce texture really fine.

Alternatively, you can mix the sauce ingredients with a hand blender.

Grated ginger and garlic

2. Make sushi rice (optional but highly recommended)

In short, sushi rice is made with short-grain white rice, steamed just like regular rice with a piece of kombu (dried seaweed), then mixed with rice vinegar and sugar while hot, and chilled to room temperature. It is super easy to make and will make your poke bowl extra delicious. My go-to sushi rice recipe is from Just One Cookbook. When I’m super lazy, I usually skip soaking the rice, adding the kombu, and mix the rice in my rice cooker bowl instead.

Of course, you can always use regular steamed rice for your poke bowl. Short grain white rice is the default grain for this recipe. But I would use brown rice or mixed grains if I wanted my dish extra healthy. I made extra sauce in this recipe, so you can drizzle more sauce onto your rice if you’re not making sushi rice.

3. Keep the toppings simple

There are many ways to garnish your poke bowl, but I find that simplicity is key.

Some common veggies that go well with the salmon poke bowl include:

  • Avocado (highly recommended)
  • Cabbage (or coleslaw mix)
  • Blanched spinach
  • Finely chopped kale, in small amounts
  • Rehydrated wakame (a type of dried seaweed, usually used in Japanese salads)
  • Blanched edamame
  • Sliced or cubed cucumber
  • Thinly sliced radish, in small amounts

I always use avocado in my salmon poke bowl, simply because it naturally goes so well with raw fish and adds a beautiful buttery texture. You can choose another one or two ingredients from the list, but you don’t want the veggies to overpower the fish.

Some nice garnishes include:

  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Dried nori sheets, cut into strips
  • Furikake (Japanese rice seasoning, made with sesame seeds, nori, salt, and sugar)
  • Japanese pickled ginger

Many poke bowl recipes use salmon roe or other types of fish roe (caviar). If you have those on hand, it’s nice to add a small spoon to your bowl. Because fish roe are usually very salty, you should reduce the amount of sauce according to your taste.

Ingredients for making salmon poke bowl

4. Storage

The salmon poke bowl tastes the best when served fresh. If you’re planning to serve the dish later, you can always make the sauce and cook the rice beforehand. It takes no time to assemble the dish.

On the other hand, if you’ve already made the poke bowl and have leftovers, you can store it in an airtight container for a day. The salmon will slowly cook in the vinegar and slightly change its texture, but the result will remain tasty.

Cubed salmon in a bowl with green onions

Cubed salmon with marinade

More easy dinner recipes

Salmon poke bowls served with avocado and coleslaw

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

Salmon poke bowl - a perfect one-bowl meal that’s easy to make and packed with nutrition. The recipe uses an extra aromatic sauce that has the right balance of savory, sour, sweet, and spicy. The dish is quick enough to make for a weekday dinner and fancy enough to serve at your weekend dinner party. {Gluten-free adaptable}

Salmon Poke Bowl

The salmon poke bowl is a perfect one-bowl meal that’s easy to make and packed with nutrition. The recipe uses an extra aromatic sauce that has the right balance of savory, sour, sweet, and spicy. The dish is quick enough to make for a weekday dinner and fancy enough to serve at your weekend dinner party. {Gluten-free adaptable}
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main
Cuisine: hawaiian
Keyword: restaurant-style
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 770kcal
Author: Maggie Zhu

Ingredients

  • 1 pound sashimi-grade salmon previously frozen wild salmon
  • 2 green onions , thinly sliced and separated
  • 4 cups cooked white rice (or brown rice, or sushi rice) (*Footnote 1)

Sauce

  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil , toasted
  • 2 cloves garlic , finely grated
  • 2 teaspoons ginger , finely grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Topping options

  • 1 cup edamame , cooked (Optional)
  • 2 cups salad greens (or coleslaw mix, or sliced purple cabbage)
  • 1 large avocado , cubed (Highly recommended)
  • Furikake (or toasted sesame seeds) (Optional)

Instructions

Prepare the poke

  • Remove the salmon skin and discard it. Examine the salmon to see if there are any bones lodged in the meat and use a pair of fishbone tweezers remove them. Cut the salmon into 1/2-inch cubes. Add the salmon into a medium-sized bowl and set it aside.
  • Add the sauce ingredients into a small bowl and mix well.
  • Add the green onion to the bowl with the salmon. Pour in half of the sauce. Use a rubber spatula to gently mix the salmon until it’s evenly coated with the sauce. Taste the salmon and mix in a bit more sauce if needed.

Assemble the bowl

  • Portion the rice and transfer it to each serving bowl. Add the salmon, edamame, vegetables (salad greens, coleslaw mix, or sliced purple cabbage), and avocado on top of the rice. Garnish with furikake or toasted sesame seeds. Serve the remaining sauce on the side.
  • Serve immediately as a main dish.

Notes

  1. You can serve the poke bowl with the type of steamed rice you prefer (including brown rice, multi-grain rice, etc). Refer to the blog post above for more information on the rice. If you prefer to make sushi rice, use the recipe from Just One Cookbook.
  2. The nutrition facts are calculated based on 1 of the 4 servings of this recipe, including the rice and veggie toppings.

Nutrition

Serving: 4g | Calories: 770kcal | Carbohydrates: 98.5g | Protein: 39.9g | Fat: 24.3g | Saturated Fat: 4.3g | Cholesterol: 63mg | Sodium: 1126mg | Potassium: 1312mg | Fiber: 8.6g | Sugar: 7.9g | Calcium: 200mg | Iron: 8mg
Salmon poke bowl - a perfect one-bowl meal that’s easy to make and packed with nutrition. The recipe uses an extra aromatic sauce that has the right balance of savory, sour, sweet, and spicy. The dish is quick enough to make for a weekday dinner and fancy enough to serve at your weekend dinner party. {Gluten-free adaptable}

Disclosure

Omnivore's Cookbook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
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