February 22, 2021
When I want to eat a simple but healthy restaurant-worthy meal at home, these avocado salmon bowls drizzled with spicy mayo hit the spot!
There’s so much to talk about this recipe but I’ll keep it simple: salmon is good for you, and when cooked well, it’s flaky, delicious, and never dry.
I first tried this recipe in one of my Blue Apon meals and seeing the success of it with my family, I decided to recreate it at home and share the recipe with you!
How to Make Rice Bowls
If you want to make rice bowls that everyone will love, there are two things to consider: the rice and the toppings.
Whether you use sushi rice or long-grain jasmine rice to make your rice bowl, making sure the rice is cooked al dente (not mushy) is essential.
I like to cook my rice in a rice cooker if I have the time or on the stovetop when I’m cooking it at the same time as I make the meal.
After you decide what type of rice you’ll be making, the next thing is the toppings! Obviously, this recipe has thought about the toppings for you with perfectly cooked salmon and the spicy mayo sauce.
In general, you want to think of a rice bowl as a build-a-meal opportunity. For this I use this formula:
- Grain: rice, farro, quinoa
- Veggies: your choice, cooked or uncooked
- Protein: grilled chicken, fish, shrimp, steamed edamame, or a fried egg
- Drizzles: your sauce of choice!
Sushi rice, cooked salmon, marinated cucumbers, avocado, and the highly addictive, spicy mayo! Excuse my drooling.
Salmon Bowl Ingredients
I love the flavors of Asian cuisine, but I don’t keep many of the essential ingredients at home since I don’t use them often.
For this reason and my love for anything spicy mayo, I wanted to simplify the ingredients for you and provide some options in case you are out of an ingredient or two.
Here are the ingredients for this salmon bowl:
- Skin-on salmon fillets
- Soy Sauce
- Brown Sugar
- Sushi rice or regular white rice
- Persian cucumbers or English cucumber
- Rice Vinegar
- Mirin or rice vinegar + 1 teaspoon sugar
- Chili Paste or Sriracha
Choosing your Salmon
Recently, I started ordering salmon online from Fulton Fish Market and wow, it’s been a game-changer! They offer portioned pieces or the entire fillet, which I find to be very cost-effective and easy to slice into the portions I need.
How to Make Spicy Mayo
If you often request extra spicy mayo at your local sushi spot, you’ll agree this version is the bomb.com! All you need is a handful of ingredients: mayonnaise, water, and your favorite chili paste or Sriracha.
Whisk the ingredients together in a small bowl, and you’re ready to drizzle it over anything and everything.
Whether you use your favorite Asian chili paste, like sambal oelek, which you can find in the Asian section of most grocery stores, or Sriracha, you can easily adjust the level of heat based on what you and your family like by adding more to the recipe below.
Salmon Bowl Recipe
Toppings are always my favorite part of salmon bowls, and this recipe did a fantastic job of using everyday ingredients, like avocado and cucumbers; which in my opinion go perfectly together to level out the spicy mayo.
Alright, time to make this happen, here’s what to do:
- Cook the Rice
In a medium pot, combine the rice, a pinch of salt, and just under 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook, without stirring, for about 17 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Turn off the heat and fluff with a fork.
- Cook the Salmon
While the rice cooks, pat the fish dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper on both sides.
In a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the seasoned fish, skin side up.
Loosely cover the pan with a lid allowing an area uncovered to reduce splatter and retain heat. Cook the salmon, without disturbing it, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Flip and cook 4 to 6 minutes, or until browned and cooked through, about 145F. Remove from heat and transfer the salmon to a large bowl.
- Assemble the Veggies
Medium dice the cucumbers. Combine in a bowl. Add the white sugar and rice vinegar; stir to coat. Set aside to marinate, stirring occasionally, at least 10 minutes. Taste, then season with salt and pepper if desired.
Halve and pit the avocado. Using a spoon, remove the avocado from the skin, then medium dice. Place in a bowl. Do this right before assembling.
- Make the Spicy Mayo
In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon of water, and as much of the chili paste as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be.
- Assemble and Serve
When cool enough to handle, carefully remove the skin from the salmon in the bowl. Using two forks, flake the fish into large pieces.
In a small dish, combine soy sauce and brown sugar. Pour over salmon, and combine.
Build your salmon bowls by adding a base of rice, topped with fish, avocado, cucumber slices, and a drizzle of spicy mayo.
If you’re looking for another flavor make these rice bowls with epic miso-glazed salmon.
How to Prep Ahead Rice Bowls
Another reason to make rice bowls on the regular is that a lot of the items can be prepped ahead and assembled on-demand or also cooked and stored in glass containers and become a delicious recipe as part of your lunch meal prep.
To prep ahead you can either:
Prep the Ingredients and Refrigerate Separately
Cook the rice, make the Spicy Mayo, and marinate the cucumber. Refrigerate everything in separate airtight containers for up to 2 days.
This method allows you to assemble a delicious meal, in less than 20 minutes, even on the busiest of weeknights. When ready to eat for dinner, all you have to do is cook the salmon, heat the rice, and build your salmon bowl.
Cook, Assemble, and Store
Along with other meal prep recipes, sometimes I like to prepare this entire recipe from start to finish, assemble the bowls in individual meal prep containers, and refrigerate them for the week.
That way, a healthy meal is on hand for me to grab and pack in a lunch bag or to the office. Just be sure to enjoy it within 2-3 days.
Packing Salmon Bowls for Lunch
Since you can prepare and pack these ahead of time, they make a great lunch for the office or school. This is how I do it:
- Heat the rice and fish, which were packed alone in a meal prep container.
- Top with cucumbers, slice avocado, and drizzle with spicy mayo; all of which were packed separately.
Can’t get enough delicious salmon? Try my garlic butter salmon bowls next!
Avocado Salmon Bowls with Spicy Mayo
- 4 salmon fillets, skin-on
- 3 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup sushi rice or jasmine rice, or white rice
- 1 medium English cucumber, diced small
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- ½ to 1 teaspoon chili paste or Sriracha
- 1 avocado, diced
- In a medium pot, combine the rice, a pinch of salt, and just under 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook, without stirring, for about 17 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Turn off the heat and fluff with a fork.
- While the rice cooks, pat the fish dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper on both sides.
- In a large non-stick pan over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Place the salmon, skin side up, and cook, for for 6 to 8 minutes, or until lightly browned. I find it helpful to loosely half-cover the pan with a lid to reduce kitchen splatter.
- Flip the salmon and cook for an additional 4 to 6 minutes, until it’s cooked through, about 145F. Remove from heat and transfer the salmon to a large bowl.
- In a medium bowl, combine the rice vinegar and white sugar. Place the diced cucumbers inside and stir to combine. Let it sit for about 10 minutes, while the salmon cooks, tossing them in the sauce a few times.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon of water, and chili paste.
- In a small bowl, combine soy sauce and brown sugar to create the soy glaze sauce.
- Remove skins from salmon, drizzle the soy glaze over the salmon pieces and with two forks, shred the salmon meat and combine with the sauce.
- Assemble the salmon bowls by adding a base of rice, topped with fish, diced avocado, cucumber slices, and a drizzle of spicy mayo.