This salmon bowl recipe with rice is the definition of an easy and healthy dinner! Drizzle with a creamy sauce and prepare to be amazed.
One of the easiest concepts there is? The bowl meal. Bowl food has surged in popularity in the past few years, and here’s why: it’s easy, healthy, and totally free-form. Even better, everything is cozier in a bowl (so says the Wall Street Journal). So here’s the epitome of a healthy bowl meal: this Simplest Salmon Bowl! The tender, seasoned fish is offset with rice, crisp tender broccoli, and covered in an easy, creamy flavor popping sauce. Try the Tahini Dressing or Miso Dressing, and prepare to be amazed. Here’s how to build this simple dinner idea — and a few cheater options to make it even quicker.
Pick your grain: rice or other!
This recipe is designed as a salmon rice bowl, but you could use any sort of whole grain you like! It’s a loose concept that’s like our grain bowl: you can use just about anything. Here are a few ideas, listed from quickest to longest lead time:
- Couscous: Couscous is small round pasta, and it cooks in just 5 minutes. (If speed is your goal, think about using smoked salmon too! See below.)
- Rice: White rice is done in 20 minutes, brown rice takes about 40 minutes (but you can make ahead and reheat it!)
- Quinoa: Mix up a pot of perfectly seasoned quinoa: it’s filling and gluten free
- Farro: Farro is another tasty whole grain that’s chewy like barley
Find the best quality fish for a salmon bowl
Next up: let’s talk about the salmon! Salmon can vary widely in quality. You’ll want to find the highest quality salmon you can find. Some frozen salmon can be low quality and have a very fishy taste. Here’s how to find a good piece of salmon for this salmon bowl:
- Fresh salmon is best. You can find good frozen salmon, but for the very best salmon, buy it fresh from your local seafood counter. Frozen also works if you can find Coho (see below).
- Buy wild caught salmon. Wild caught is the way to go! It’s most sustainable and has the best flavor.
- Coho is a good choice. We tend to like Coho salmon for its mild flavor: it’s a good middle of the road option in terms of price. Of course, King salmon is incredible but more of a splurge. Avoid Atlantic salmon as it is typically farmed salmon.
Cheater method: use canned salmon or smoked salmon!
Want to save money and time with your salmon? Use canned salmon or smoked salmon for this salmon bowl instead! Here are a few notes about each:
- Canned salmon is the cheapest option. It has the texture of canned tuna, but it tastes like salmon (yum!). Season it to taste with olive oil and salt and pepper before serving.
- Smoked salmon is about the same cost as fresh salmon, but it doesn’t require cooking! All you have to do is flake it off into the bowl and it has incredible flavor.
Time saver tip: Your fastest salmon bowl recipe is using couscous and smoked salmon. You can likely make the entire meal in about 15 minutes!
Make the best pan fried broccoli
What else do you need for this salmon bowl recipe? Broccoli! Broccoli is our go-to side vegetable because it’s got fiber, protein, and loads of vitamin C. You can cook broccoli in many different ways, but the fastest and easiest method is this Pan Fried Broccoli (That We Make Every Day). And we really do make it almost every day!
Try this method, and we hope you’ll be convinced to add it into your life as a side dish for lots of meals…even outside of this salmon rice bowl!
Top it with a simple sauce
Last up: the sauce! Here’s what ties the entire bowl together. And for us: we don’t want to have to whip out a blender here. No, we want sauces that take no time at all to whip up! Here are our 2 preferred sauces for this bowl, and then a few other ideas:
- Tahini Dressing: This all-purpose tahini dressing is bursting with savory and delicious flavor (Alex’s favorite)
- Miso Dressing: This miso dressing is another umami-loaded sauce with a hint of citrus (my favorite)
- Other options: Change up the vibe and try our Lemon Dill Sauce or even White BBQ Sauce
Salmon bowl variations: other veggies or sauces!
There are so many ways to vary this salmon bowl! It’s more of an idea than a recipe, really. But at the same time, it’s helpful to have all the cooking methods in one place in a recipe (right?). Here are some more ideas for varying this salmon bowl:
- Add edamame and green onions, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds
- Make it with Spanish rice and cilantro lime sauce
- Add mango salsa and cilantro sauce
- Go for lemon dill sauce and add sliced cherry tomatoes or blistered tomatoes
- Skip the rice and serve with corn salad
What would you serve with your salmon bowl? Let us know in the comments below!
This salmon bowl recipe is…
Gluten-free, dairy-free and pescatarian.Print
This salmon bowl recipe is the definition of a fast and easy dinner! Throw it all together with a killer sauce and prepare to be amazed.
- 1 cup dry rice of any type (or couscous for a quicker meal)
- 1 recipe Tahini Dressing or Miso Dressing
- 1 pound wild caught salmon fillets, skin on*
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh broccoli, stem on (about 3 large heads or 6 heaping cups florets)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder (optional)
- Make the rice: Start the rice (go to How to Make Rice or Instant Pot Rice).
- Mix the sauce: Make the Tahini Sauce or Miso Sauce (or make in advance and refrigerate).
- Broil the salmon**: Preheat the broiler to high. Place a large sheet of aluminum foil on a baking sheet and brush it with olive oil. Pat each piece of salmon dry and place it on the foil skin side down. Brush salmon with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (evenly divided among the fillets) and fresh ground pepper. Broil 4 to 5 minutes for very thin salmon or 7 to 10 minutes for 1-inch thick salmon, until it’s just tender and pink at the center (the internal temperature should be between 125 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit in the center).
- Meanwhile, make the broccoli: Chop the broccoli into medium sized florets. In small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup water with the garlic powder, onion powder and mustard powder. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil to a large skillet and heat it on medium high heat. Add broccoli and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook 2 to 3 minutes until starting to brown, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium, and add the water and spices. Cook an additional 4 to 5 minutes until fork tender, stirring occasionally. Taste and add additional salt and black pepper as necessary. Serve immediately.
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Salmon bowl, Salmon bowl recipe, Salmon rice bowl
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.