THESE SALMON BOWLS ARE EASY, MAKE AHEAD FRIENDLY, CUSTOMIZABLE, fresh AND GLORIOUSLY FLAVORFUL!
This Salmon Bowl recipe is bursting with bright, zesty Cuban flavors and satisfying textures you will love! It is both fresh yet hearty, comforting yet vibrant and delicious yet HEALTHY and loaded with fixings but wonderfully simple to make! These salmon bowls are loaded with Mojo marinated salmon, rice, black beans, pineapple, plantains, tomatoes, steamed greens, cilantro and avocado crema – are you drooling yet?! This salmon bowl recipe is fabulous for lunches, dinners or meal prep.
Salmon Bowl Recipe
I am super excited today to introduce you to these Mojo Salmon Bowls from Lindsay Cotter’s beautiful cookbook, “Nourishing Superfood Bowls.” These Salmon Bowls are the reason I love bowls. From chipotle chicken burrito bowls, to barbacoa taco hash brown bowls, to chipotle lime shrimp burrito bowls, to these salmon bowls-it is ALL about the hypnotic layers of flavor and texture.
In this salmon bowl recipe, the layers of juicy, crunchy, creamy textures and layers of spicy, zesty, garlicky, citrus, fresh, flavors are a palate pleasing symphony of fresh ingredients and vibrant flavors you will crave!
In additional to the DE-lish factor, these salmon bowls get major points for being HEALTHY and easy to make: – just add rice to your rice cooker, bake the salmon and chop all your toppings. They are also customizable – use all or some of the suggested fixings – and make ahead/meal prep friendly (instructions included).
So, THANK YOU Lindsay and the Nourishing Superfood Bowls Cookbook for this new favorite salmon bowl recipe!
Where did this Salmon Bowl Recipe come from?
Lindsay is one of the kindest, most generous people and talented food bloggers I know. She is the woman behind the popular cooking blog Cotter Crunch and a nutrition specialist for sports nutrition and gluten -free eating.
These salmon bowls are just one of the phenomenal recipes from Lindsay’s Nourishing Superfood Bowls Cookbook. It was SO hard to narrow down which recipe to share with you from her cookbook, and although I finally decided on these salmon bowls, there were dozens and dozens that had me drooling such as: Tex Mex Burrito Bowls, Korean BBQ Chickpea Bento Bowls, Baja Fish Taco Bowls, Deconstructed Stuffed Bell Pepper Bowls and on and on. Here are some more reasons to love Nourishing Superfood Bowls:
- Includes over 75 bowl recipes that are easy to prep, easy to clean up, and very portable.
- All of the recipes come with beautiful photography!
- It includes nutritious recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert.
- The bowls are made with love and real food focus so they are both nutritious and delicious.
- With each recipe you’ll also find a little “superfood” for the brain; meaning, you’ll learn about what you’re eating and what makes it a superfood/bowl.
- These bowl meals are clever way to mix your favorite ingredients which means layers of layer of innovative flavors and textures.
- All recipes are gluten-free with tons of vegan, paleo and grain-free options making it not only a delicious way to eat for yourself but a FABULOUS gift for anyone you know following a gluten free diet.
Although I don’t follow a gluten free diet, I do try and eat healthy and Lindsay’s gorgeous cookbook makes that easy and delicious for everyone! You can purchase it HERE for only $9.99!
Salmon Bowl Ingredients and substitutions
Salmon: you will need 8-10 oz. salmon fillets for salmon bowls, but you can also mix it up and use chicken or shrimp.
- Rice: use white, brown, or my Cilantro Lime Rice recipe (which is as easy as dumping all of the ingredients into a rice cooker) or use cauliflower rice, quinoa, farro, couscous, etc.
- Pineapple: I used fresh pineapple because it can’t be beat but you may also use canned pineapple rings in juice NOT syrup if you’re in a bind.
- Plantain: take care to use a RIPE plantain which means it will be dark brown/black or else it won’t be nearly as sweet.
- Avocado: you can use an avocado and/or my Avocado Crema which I HIGHLY recommend (more on that below).
- Tomato: you can use one sliced tomato or 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes.
- Greens: you will want to steam 5 cups of your favorite greens – this can be anything from spinach to kale to a salad spring mix.
- Black beans: one rinsed and drained 15 oz. can black beans will do the trick.
- Jalapeno: is optional, especially with the use of crushed red pepper flakes.
- Cilantro: chopped cilantro adds a fresh, zesty flair. You can use more or less to taste.
- Lime juice: is needed to enlivened the salmon bowls – don’t skip!
What Salmon should I use?
This Salmon Bowl recipe from the Nourishing Superfood Bowls cookbook specifically specifies wild-caught salmon fillets because you can taste the difference. Here’s what to look for:
- Use wild caught salmon. Always look for wild caught salmon (preferably Alaskan) and avoid farm-raised Atlantic salmon. Wild caught salmon includes king, coho and sockeye salmon. King salmon is the richest tasting, but it is also the most expensive, so don’t feel like you have to buy it – the other varieties will also taste delicious.
- What Salmon should I avoid? Avoid farm-raised Atlantic salmon as it is fatty, less nutritious (due to its artificial diet), waterier and can bake up mushy.
- Can I use frozen salmon? You can certainly use frozen fillets; just take care they are wild caught fillets and you defrost them before baking. Wild caught salmon is always better than farmed salmon – fresh OR frozen.
- What size salmon is best? You can use any salmon that equals 8-10 oz. – more or less. The marinade allows for substantial wiggle room here.
- Where to purchase salmon? I usually purchase salmon at the seafood counter of my grocery store so I know they are fresh and can select fillets of uniform size. My salmon in these salmon bowls is uneven because they are actually wild caught by my parents in Alaska. Costco also has a good selection of salmon and even frozen wild caught salmon fillets in the freezer section.
How to Make salmon Bowls
Step 1: Marinate Salmon
- This salmon is infused with flavor from a super simple mojo marinade of orange juice, lime juice, ground oregano, dried cumin, cilantro, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.
- You’ll reserve part of this marinade to brush on the pineapple and drizzle over the completed salmon bowls – double the flavor without double the work!
- Marinating the salmon doesn’t require any extra time because you pour it over the salmon while you prep the rest of the ingredients, up to 30 minutes.
Step 2: Bake Salmon
- I LOVE baking salmon because the hands-off preparation means you can pop it in the oven and forget about it and it emerges buttery juicy (without butter!), every time.
- You’ll want to bake your salmon fillets at 415 degrees F for 10-12 minutes. Of course, thinner salmon will require less time and thicker salmon will require more time.
Step 3: Grill Pineapple & Plantain
- While the salmon is baking, it’s time to fire up an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan. If you don’t have a grill pan, you can use a nonstick skillet.
- Brush the pineapple and plantain slices with oil and grill for 5 minutes on each side. Grilling caramelizes the sugars and results in complex, sweeter notes.
- The last few minutes of cooking, you’ll brush on some of the reserved marinade to add further complexity of flavor.
Step 4: Assemble Salmon Bowls
- Depending on personal preference, you can either place the rice in one large serving bowl or 3 to 4 separate bowls.
- Top rice with the salmon, grilled pineapple and plantains, avocado, tomato, steamed greens, black beans, green onions, cilantro and optional jalapeno.
Step 5: Add seasonings
- Now that we’ve added all of this fresh goodness to the Salmon Bowls, those ingredients need to be seasoned as well which is easy to do with freshly squeezed lime juice, freshly cracked salt and pepper, crushed red pepper flakes and a generous sprinkle of paprika.
- The red pepper flakes add quite a kick (which I love), but be aware they are spicy so add more or less to taste – or start with less and add more to taste.
Step 6: Get creamy!
- The original salmon bowl recipe doesn’t include avocado crema, but I LOVE it in all my bowls, tacos, etc., so I added to these Salmon Bowls and it was spectacular! It is my favorite condiment and elevates everything it touches and takes minutes to prep with only a handful of ingredients.
- To make avocado crema, simply blend Greek yogurt or sour cream, mayo, lime juice, salt, garlic powder and cumin in your blender – that’s it!
- So, if you’re wondering if it’s worth making for these salmon bowls – the answer YES, always yes!
How do I know when salmon is done?
You can test your salmon for doneness by sight and texture or with a thermometer.
As salmon bakes, it changes from bright pink (raw) to opaque pink. The outside of the salmon should be completely opaque but the center should still be a bit translucent, but not raw. Cooked salmon will also easily flake with a fork along the muscle fibers.
The most accurate way to test your salmon is with an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the salmon. The FDA advises salmon should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, HOWEVER, if you cook your salmon to this temperature it will be overdone because the temperature will continue to rise after baking.
Instead, America’s Test kitchen suggests cooking your salmon to about 125 degrees F (52 degrees C) to avoid dry, overcooked salmon. I usually cook my salmon to just 130 degrees F and the results are always perfect after a 5-minute rest.
Salmon Bowl Tips
- Prep the Avocado Crema first: the crema is very best after being refrigerated for at least one hour so make it first so it has time to chill or pop it in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Use Avocado crema. I know we just talked about this, but this is me begging you not to skip the crema! The refreshing tanginess of the avocado crema cuts through the spiciness of the salmon bowls and the luscious creaminess marries all of the different components together – and it literally takes MINUTES in your blender!
- Use ripe plantains. If you aren’t familiar with plantains, welcome to a wonderful new world! Plantains look like bananas but are quite different. Unripe green plantains are hard and starchy, like a potato – not what we want. For this Salmon Bowl recipe, we want dark brown/black plantains because this means they are fully ripe and wonderfully sweet.
- How to ripen plantains. Green unripe plantains can take up to 10 days to ripen – so plan accordingly! Ripen plantains at room temperature and out of direct sunlight.
- Where to buy plantains. Plantains are widely available throughout the U.S. and should be easily found in the produce section of your grocery store.
- Don’t overcook salmon. Take care not to overcook your salmon because it will only remain buttery, juicy and tender as long as it isn’t overcooked. It is better for salmon to be under-cooked than overcooked in my opinion.
- How to keep salmon warm after cooking. Salmon is always best hot out of the oven, so If your salmon is all cooked but you aren’t quite ready to assemble the salmon bowls, can keep the salmon warm in your oven. Transfer salmon to a wire rack placed on a baking sheet. Place in a 200-degree oven for up to 30 minutes.
- 90 second rice: save time by using brown rice or quinoa packets which take 90 seconds to cook. Leftover rice is also a great shortcut option.
- Customize salmon bowls. You can combine whatever salmon bowl ingredients you have on hand or your favs to make them easy, convenient and delicious every time!
- Low carb salmon bowls. Swap the rice for cauliflower rice, broccoli rice, zoodles, etc. or substitute it with additional steamed greens or fresh greens.
- You don’t have to make a bowl! Turn these salmon bowls into a burrito by wrapping in tortillas, or turn into a wrap by wrapping in spinach wraps (or your fav), or turn into a salad by swapping the rice and steamed greens for fresh lettuce and swapping the avocado crema for Cilantro Lime Dressing or Tomatillo Avocado Ranch.
HOW LONG DO SALMON BOWLS LAST IN THE FRIDGE?
Salmon Bowls will last approximately 3 days in the refrigerator. The cooked/warm components can be stored together: salmon, rice, black beans, steamed greens pineapple, plantains and will allow you to heat them in the microwave without heating the fresh components.
SALMON BOWL RECIPE MEAL PREP
Salmon Bowls make excellent meal prep if you want to prep them ahead of time and serve later. The only trick is to keep the fresh ingredients separate from the warm ingredients so you can reheat the warm ingredients without wilting the fresh ingredients.
- Divide rice between 3-4 containers.
- Top with salmon, grilled pineapple, plantains, steamed greens, and black beans.
- Season with fresh lime juice, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes and a generous, sprinkle of paprika.
- Don’t close containers until salmon has cooled.
- Store green onions, cilantro and optional jalapeno together in a container/bag and store the sliced tomato in its own container/bag.
- Blend Avocado Crema in the blender and transfer to an airtight container. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the crema, cover and refrigerate OR divide between 3-4 plastic bags, squeeze out excess air and twirl the bag to eliminate extra air.
Are Salmon Bowls Healthy?
Yes! These salmon bowls are “packed with fiber, healthy fats, resistant starches, omegas and immunity-boosting superfruit.” – Lindsay
Salmon itself is a nutritious, protein-packed powerhouse and great source vitamins, minerals and important omega-3 fatty acids and by baking the salmon, it is kept low fat.
The other salmon bowl ingredients are also healthy such as black beans which are high in fiber, pineapple which is high in vitamin C and fiber and reduce inflammation, tomatoes which are a great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K as well as lycopene which has been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer.
LOOKING FOR MORE SALMON RECIPES?
- Blackened Salmon with Creamy Cajun Sauce
- Chipotle Salmon with Mango Salsa
- Baked Greek Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce
- Sheet Pan Fajita Salmon with Cilantro Lime Butter
- Asian Barbecue Salmon
- Cajun Salmon with Pineapple, Mango Avocado Salsa
- Sheet Pan Asian Chimichurri Salmon with Pineapple and Snap Peas
- Lemon Garlic Butter Salmon with Crispy Panko and Broccoli
- Sheet Pan Cashew Honey Soy Salmon
- Sweet and Spicy Asian Salmon with Blueberry Pineapple Salsa
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Recipe Source: Nourishing Superfood Bowls by Lindsay Cotter