Firecracker Salmon Bowls with spicy peanut sauce and a super simple slaw over Jasmine rice. These nutritious, flavorful bowls come together in just 30 minutes.
September is National Rice Month, and this year marks the 30th anniversary of National Rice Month! This is a time to celebrate the U.S. rice industry, including farmers, producers and manufacturers. I hope you enjoy this recipe featuring U.S.-grown Jasmine rice.
Why You'll Love these Firecracker Salmon Bowls
Find the perfect alchemy of spicy, sweet, and deeply savory flavors in these salmon bowls. First, we start with a fluffy foundation of fragrant Jasmine rice. Next comes a perfectly seared salmon fillet, accompanied by a light, simple veg slaw. And to finish it off, one of the most wildly flavorful peanut sauces in my recipe arsenal.
You truly can't beat this ingredient lineup, and it's one you'll want to come back to on repeat. And did I mention these bowls come together in just 30 minutes? Meal prep or weeknight dinner couldn't get simpler, or more delicious.
Recipe Ingredients and Substitutions:
- Salmon: You need four 6-oz. salmon fillets for these rice bowls, which can be wild-caught or sustainably farmed. If purchasing wild, I suggest either King (or Chinook) salmon, which has a higher fat content and richer flavor. Sockeye, on the other hand, is much leaner and easier to overcook.
- U.S. Jasmine Rice: Jasmine rice is known for its aromatic flavor and soft texture, which makes it one of my favorite rice varieties to cook with. It's a major ingredient in many Thai recipes, which is why it compliments the savory, umami-rich peanut sauce so well. Interestingly, the aroma of Jasmine rice is attributed to a much higher proportion of 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline, a naturally occurring compound in all rice.
- Veg Slaw: For a crunchy compliment to the salmon and rice bowls, I like to whip up a simple cabbage slaw. You can either purchase a bag of pre-shredded cabbage (or coleslaw mix), or shred the cabbage yourself. In addition to the slaw, you need some green onion, a squeeze of lime juice (or vinegar), and a dash of salt.
- Firecracker Peanut Sauce: This is where the flavor fiesta really kicks off. You won't believe how easy, yet wildly delicious this sauce is. And luckily, it leans heavily on pantry ingredients that you may already have on hand. You need: peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, chili sauce, rice vinegar, and some zesty aromatics like ginger and garlic.
- Garnishes: Feel free to get as wild as you wish with the toppings, however my go-to's are crushed peanuts and more green onion. A little extra crunch and nutty goodness really round out the bowl with savory depth and richness.
Step 1: Cook the U.S. Jasmine Rice
Combine rice, water, and salt in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a light boil, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to low. Let the rice simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, until most of the water is absorbed. Replace the lid and turn off the heat.
Allow the pot to sit, undisturbed, for another 10 minutes, or until you're ready to assemble the rice bowls. (The residual heat will steam the rice and absorb any remaining water, leaving your rice moist and pleasantly sticky.)
Step 2: Prepare Firecracker Peanut Sauce
In a medium bowl, combine peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, chili sauce, ginger, and garlic. Stir mixture with a whisk until smooth.
Step 3: Sauté the Salmon
While the rice cooks, prepare the salmon by seasoning the flesh with salt and pepper. Next, heat a glug of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, Place the fish skin-side down in the pan, pressing down firmly with a spatula. Let the salmon cook about 3 minutes, until it appears ~75% cooked on the sides. Flip the salmon, turn off the heat, and cook for 1 to 2 more minutes, until cooked through. Remove from heat.
Step 4: Prepare Slaw
Combine shredded cabbage, green onion, lime juice (or vinegar), and salt in a medium bowl; toss to combine.
Step 5: Assemble Salmon Firecracker Bowls
Divide rice evenly into each of four bowls. Top each bowl with one salmon fillet and a spoonful of slaw. Next, drizzle peanut sauce evenly over all components, and garnish with chopped peanuts and green onion. Serve immediately, and enjoy immensely.
FAQs and Expert Tips:
Is Rice Healthy?
U.S.-grown rice contributes more than 15 vitamins and minerals, including folic acid and other B-vitamins, as well as iron and zinc. It’s comprised of complex carbohydrates, which are more slowly digested and can help keep you full longer. Plus, it’s naturally gluten free and the least allergenic of all grains.
Its nutrition profile and versatility make rice one of my go-to grains for weekday cooking. Not to mention it’s easy to find, inexpensive, and the perfect blank canvas for an array of recipes.
Meal Prep and Storage:
- To Make Ahead. Prepare the sauce up to 5 days ahead, and store in a glass jar with a lid in the refrigerator. You can also cook the rice up to 2 days ahead, and store in an airtight container with a wet paper towel placed over the rice.
- To Store. It's best to store the rice and salmon separate from the sauce, slaw, and toppings. This way, the sauce and garnishes don't take on any fishy flavor. This also makes it easier to just reheat just the rice and salmon, and add remaining ingredients after.
- To Reheat. Gently reheat the rice and salmon in the microwave until warm. Alternatively, cook both components in a dry skillet over medium heat until hot.
- To Freeze. This recipe is best enjoyed fresh, and should NOT be frozen.
Other Uses of Firecracker Peanut Sauce:
If you end up with extra sauce (or just make a double batch from the start), here are some tasty ways to use it up:
- Drizzle over roasted vegetables like sweet potatoes, butternut squash, cauliflower, or broccoli
- Toss with crispy tofu, baked tempeh, or grilled chicken and serve with rice noodles and veggies.
- Spread on a sandwich or wrap, or dress up a black bean burger.
More Recipes using Rice:
Spanish Rice and Beans -- reader favorite!
If you give these firecracker salmon bowls a try, snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth on Instagram so I can see your beautiful creations. Also, follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest recipe updates!
Firecracker Salmon Bowls (30 Mins)
- Small saucepan with a lid
- Large skillet
- Mixing bowls
- 1 cup dry U.S.-grown Jasmine rice
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 (6-oz.) skin-on salmon fillets
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 heaping cups shredded cabbage
- 3 Tbsp. thinly sliced green onion plus more for garnish
- 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar or lime juice
- ⅓ cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
Firecracker Peanut Sauce
- ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 Tbsp. lower-sodium soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp. Thai sweet red chili sauce (I use Thai Kitchen brand)
- 1 ½ Tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. sesame oil (not toasted)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tsp. freshly grated ginger (sub ½ tsp. ground ginger)
- Combine rice, 2 cups of water, and a dash of salt in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a light boil, cover the pot, and reduce heat to low. Let the rice simmer for 13 to 15 minutes, until most of the water is absorbed. Replace the lid and turn off the heat. Allow the pot to sit, undisturbed, for another 10 minutes, or until you're ready to assemble the bowls.
- Prepare the Firecracker Peanut Sauce by combining peanut butter, soy sauce, red chili sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger in medium bowl. Stir mixture with a whisk until smooth. If needed, whisk in 1 Tbsp. water to thin out to desired consistency.
- Prepare the salmon by seasoning the flesh with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, Place the fish skin-side down in the pan, pressing down firmly with a spatula. Let the salmon cook about 3 minutes, until it appears ~75% cooked on the sides. Flip the salmon, turn off the heat, and cook for 1 to 3 more minutes, depending on thickness, until cooked through. Remove from heat.
- Combine shredded cabbage, green onion, vinegar (or lime juice), and a dash of salt in a medium bowl; toss to combine.
- Divide rice evenly into each of four bowls. Top each bowl with one salmon fillet and a spoonful of cabbage slaw. Next, drizzle peanut sauce evenly over all components, and garnish with chopped peanuts and extra green onion, if desired.