If you’re a fan of healthy, fresh ingredients and quick meals, this salmon poke bowl is perfect for you! So easy to make, it comes together in no time and has so many possibilities to customize.
I’ll admit, I’ve been sucked into a trend.
Since my youngest started preschool a few months ago, the mornings he is there have had a change in routine. Since it’s a bit away from our house, but only lasts a few hours, I have tended to hang out in cafes and the library near there.
I get a reasonable amount done and it’s an excuse to have lunch out on my own before I pick him up. Ideally, he likes if I bring him some leftovers too. A couple places in the area serve poke bowls and I’ve become a little hooked. I love that they are full of fresh ingredients, they feed my raw fish habit, and it’s easy to have something different from last time.
What is a Poke Bowl?
Poke bowls have evolved from the basic poke dish, which is a traditional Hawaiian way of preparing raw fish. Poke is traditionally made with ahi tuna, but since it’s expensive, it can also be made with other fish.
Poke is made by cutting the fish in to cubes and mixing them with a simple marinade, usually seasoned soy sauce or soy, rice vinegar or citrus, a little sugar and some sesame oil. It draws on the Hawaiian influences from Japan as well as the abundance of fresh, high quality fish.
A poke bowl classically combines the poke itself with a rice base and often some vegetables and other toppings. These days, you might see the rice replaced with salad, quinoa and other bases, and the toppings have become numerous and varied.
While traditionalists may not be a fan of how they have evolved, as long as you realize they’re not really Hawaiian these days, they’re a delicious option.
What do you put in a Poke Bowl?
There are a few options but the components of a poke bowl typically fall in a few groups:
- Rice or other base – this can be sushi rice, brown rice or another base entirely. You can also use noodles, zoodles, quinoa or make it a salad.
- Protein – here I have used salmon, but you can add tuna or other firm fish prepared the same way. If you are nervous about raw fish, you could use seasoned cooked shrimp, or even chicken or tofu.
- Sauce – this can either be just some of the slightly salty marinade, as I have here, or you can add in a spicy sauce or other favorite dressings. Common choices are ponzu or gochujang.
- Vegetables (and maybe fruit) – you can keep it minimalist without these, but they add great flavor and color. I have included some classics of avocado, mango and edamame, but you could also include cucumber, seaweed, radishes or onion.
- Crunchy topping – although you don’t have to, a little crunch adds a great contrast in texture. It can be as simple as some toasted sesame seeds, or for example crispy onions, chopped macadamia nuts, crisp seaweed or lotus root chips.
How do you make a poke bowl?
Putting together a poke bowl really takes no time at all. All you do is:
- Cook the rice.
- Dice the fish and combine with the simple dressing.
- Chop any vegetables or fruit for the topping.
- Put the rice at the base of your bowl, top with the fish, vegetables and fruit then sprinkle on the topping.
This salmon poke bowl is so quick and easy to make, fantastic for lunch and so easy to change up. I’ve given a pretty easy and common set of ingredients below. I think they work well for both flavor and color, but really, experiment and go with what you have and enjoy. A poke bowl is all about fun, fresh, fast and delicious food so make it your own!
Enjoy dishes with raw fish? Try these!
Salmon poke bowl
- 1/2 cup rice (becomes 1 cup cooked)
- 8 oz salmon (sushi grade)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp brown sugar
- 1/2 avocado
- 1/2 mango
- 1/4 cup edamame (cooked)
- 1/2 tsp sesame seeds
- Set the rice to cook according to packet instructions. Set aside once cooked.
- Meanwhile trim any skin and brown flesh from the salmon and cut into a relatively small dice.
- Mix together the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and brown sugar. Toss the salmon in the soy mixture and set aside.
- Peel and dice the avocado and mango.
- Put together the 2 poke bowls by putting half of the rice in each bowl, then topping with half of the avocado, mango and edamame in little piles on one side.
- Put half the salmon in each bowl on the other side, holding back most of the marinade as you take it out (a little in with the rice is good to add some flavor).
- Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top and serve.
Remember to pin for later!