Firecracker Salmon Bowls with spicy peanut sauce and a super simple slaw over rice. These nutritious, flavorful bowls come together in just 30 minutes.
Why You'll Love these Firecracker Salmon Bowls
Find the perfect alchemy of spicy, sweet, and deeply savory flavors in these salmon bowls. (Similarly to my favorite Sesame Crusted 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. For more salmon bowl inspo, check out these Salmon Sushi Bowls.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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, 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 rice in a small saucepan until light and fluffy, about 15 minutes.
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 peanut sauce by combining peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, chili sauce, ginger, and garlic. Stir mixture with a whisk until smooth.
Step 3: Sauté salmon in a large skillet over medium-high heat. 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 by combining cabbage, green onion, vinegar, sesame seeds, and salt in a medium bowl; toss to combine.
Step 5: Assemble bowls by dividing 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 peanuts and green onion.
FAQs and Expert Tips:
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.
To Make Ahead. Prepare the sauce up to 5 days ahead, and store in a glass jar with a lid in the refrigerator.
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.
The cooking time heavily depends on the thickness of your salmon.
Atlantic salmon, for example, is thicker and fattier than wild Sockeye salmon. It could take up to twice as long to cook through.
It could depends on if you're using center-cut verses the tail end of a fillet. The former is thicker and thus requires longer cooking.
One sign of doneness is when a fork can insert into the thickest part of the fish with little resistance. Also, when the flesh separates easily from the skin, and just begins to flake when you poke into it.
If you have an instant-read thermometer, the salmon should should register at 120-125° F.
How to Use Leftover 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 Salmon Bowl Recipes to Try:
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
- Large skillet
- Mixing bowls
- 1 cup dry Jasmine rice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 heaping cups finely shredded cabbage (red, green, napa, or savoy cabbage)
- 3 Tbsp. thinly sliced green onion plus more for garnish
- 1 Tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 (6-oz.) skin-on salmon fillets
- ⅓ cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped (dry roasted or honey roasted)
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)
- Optional for spice: ½ tsp. sriracha or chili oil
- Combine rice, 2 cups of water, and a dash of salt in a saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer rice for 13 to 15 minutes, until most of the water is absorbed.Fluff rice with a fork, replace the lid, and turn off heat. Let sit, covered, until you're ready to assemble the bowls.
- Prepare the Firecracker Peanut Sauce by combining peanut butter, soy sauce, sweet red chili sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and sriracha or chili oil (if using) in medium bowl. Stir mixture with a whisk until smooth.If needed, whisk in 1 Tbsp. water to thin out to desired consistency.
- Combine shredded cabbage, green onion, rice vinegar, sesame seeds, and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl; toss to combine. Set aside.
- 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, and cook for 1 to 3 more minutes, depending on thickness, until cooked through. Remove from heat.
- Divide rice evenly into four bowls. Top each bowl with one salmon fillet and a spoonful of cabbage slaw. Drizzle peanut sauce evenly over all components, and garnish with chopped peanuts and extra green onion, if desired.
- Make Ahead. Prepare the sauce up to 5 days ahead, and store in a glass jar with a lid in the refrigerator.
- Store. It's best to store the rice and salmon separate from the sauce and slaw. 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.
- 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.
My husband would love this. I'll have to try it out for dinner. We have fresh caught fish in the freezer from a trip.
This was a “30minute meal” that actually came together in 30m and was delicious! I accidentally picked up trout instead of salmon and enjoyed it just the same.
This recipe is delicious, easy and so quick to make! I have made it 3 times already and just changed up the protein!
So easy and so very delicious!! Everyone loved it!!!! We will have it again for sure!!!
I’m so glad you enjoyed this one, Carla! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!
I only have toasted seasame oil is that okay to use.
Absolutely delicious. Love the combination of flavors and textures. Will make again and again.
Can you make this salmon in the oven/use this peanut sauce like a glaze?
I have a question about the peanut butter for this recipe. Is it natural peanut butter (no salt, no sugar)? The one I buy is natural (not homogenised) but is salted, so wondering if I'm supposed to skip the soy sauce. Thank you!
Hi Cristel - salted natural PB is great! You won't be able to tell a huge difference with the added salt, so I wouldn't worry about it being overly salty. Enjoy!
This is such an amazing dish, even non fish eaters loved it!! I’ve made this several times, it’s quick and delicious.
Hi Anna - I'm so glad you enjoyed this one! It's a fav over here, too 🙂
Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review!
Holy peanut butter this dish was amazing! Just had for dinner and it’s a keeper. Thank you so much for sharing with us!
Woohoo! So glad you enjoyed this one, Lauren! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!
I am new to your recipes, but after trying this amazing dinner, I know I will be making a lot more! Everything was delicious - the sauce is amazing and the slaw was a perfect accompaniment. I added a little bit of leftover coconut milk to the rice cooking liquid and it complimented everything so well. Thank you!
Hi Lily- I'm SO thrilled to hear!! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a rating and review!
I see other comments about licking the plate clean. Guilty as charged. This sauce is so fire(cracker). Made the meal last night, used the leftover sauce from the double batch mixed with some rice noodles and green onions & dipped homemade spring rolls in. Really anything can be used as a vessel for the sauce - spring rolls, tofu, fingers, spoons, bowls. Guilty on all counts.
Hi Lindsay--I'm so thrilled to hear that!! I really appreciate you taking the time to leave such a fabulous review.
The sauce is incredibly addicting! I make a double batch every week now! Totally hooked.
Yay! I'm so glad you enjoy the sauce as much as we do! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review.
This recipe is sooo delicious and easy! I would make double of the sauce because it's so yummy!
Definitely make extra peanut sauce. You'll find yourself licking the plate when you finish this dish.