This easy salmon rice bowl recipe features flakey salmon coated in a honey garlic sauce on top of coconut rice with a fresh cucumber avocado salad. Cook the salmon in under 8 minutes for a quick weeknight dinner or meal prep them for lunches the next day.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, eating healthy doesn't have to be boring. This delicious salmon rice bowl is proof that you can pack in healthy fats, protein and veggies and still look forward to a great meal.
We especially love salmon recipes for this because it cooks quickly and can be prepared so many ways. Our favorites are salmon pesto pasta, teriyaki glazed salmon, herb grilled salmon and blackened salmon.
What is a Salmon Rice Bowl?
A salmon rice bowl is a recipe that features fluffy rice with an assortment of veggies, topping and of course, salmon. It's a great way to switch up lunch or dinnertime because it's an entire meal made in one bowl. There are so many ways to customize a salmon rice bowl including the way the salmon is cooked, what type of veggies go in it and the toppings and sauces to serve it with.
Elements of a Salmon Rice Bowl
Let's quickly chat about each element that makes up a rice bowl. I want to give you a few variations of each so you feel inspired to get creative and make your own salmon bowl after you try this one!
- Rice: This is the base of the recipe and is the starting point to a delicious bowl. I especially love the rice because it absorbs all the delicious juices and sauces from the salmon and toppings. A few rice options coconut rice (our favorite!), white rice (microwave rice is a great option), brown rice, cauliflower rice (low carb option) or even quinoa.
- Salmon: We sliced our salmon into chunks and coated it in a honey garlic sauce that's sweet and zippy (thanks to the ginger). You can make this quickly on the stove like us or use another quick cooking method (keep reading).
- Fresh Veggies: A rice bowl isn't complete without some delicious vegetables to pair with the salmon and rice. We stuck with the Asian-inspired flavors and used cucumber and avocado slices for a fresh salad topping.
- Toppings: Do not skip all the extra toppings. It may seem extra, but the toppings are what really bring this dish together and make it stand out. We love green onions, sesame seeds, cilantro and spicy mayo (more on this in the recipe card).
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
This list is a bit lengthy, but they're not overly pricey, and they're things we keep in our fridge and pantry most of the time. Jump down to the recipe card for exact amounts and instructions.
- Rice: we used a long grain white rice for our coconut rice recipe, but brown rice or even quinoa are great options.
- Coconut milk: full fat canned coconut milk makes the rice so much more flavorful!
- Coconut aminos: this is a gluten-free sub for soy sauce. We also love tamari as an option.
- Honey: raw honey is best and gives this salmon a touch of sweetness.
- Sesame oil: I love the nutty flavor this oil has and often cook with it in my Asian-inspired recipes. Swap for olive oil if you have that.
- Ginger: there is nothing better than fresh grated ginger. Grab it in the produce section near the garlic then peel the skin off and use a zester to grate it.
- Sriracha: A little spice helps balance out the sweetness. You can use any hot sauce you have on hand.
- Garlic: don't be intimated by the amount of garlic in this recipe. It is honey garlic salmon after all.
- Salmon fillets: a wild caught salmon is always the best choice! Salmon is such a great source of omega 3 fatty acid and protein.
- Avocado: another great source of healthy fats!
- English cucumber: I prefer this variety because the skin is soft and mild so you don't have to peel it.
- Red onion: for a bit of crunch in the salad.
- Lime juice: this acid helps balance out the sweetness in the salmon and adds a bright flavor to the salad.
- Cilantro: cooking with fresh herbs is one of my secrets to better food. Don't skip it!
How to Make Salmon Rice Bowls
- Make the rice: simmer the rice with coconut milk and salt and let it cook for about 20 minutes, until it's fluffy.
- Cucumber avocado salad: toss together all of the salad toppings quickly in a medium bowl and throw it in the fridge to marinate until you're ready to serve.
- Make the sauce: add the sauce ingredients to a small bowl and give it a good whisk.
- Sear the salmon: Cut the salmon into bite sized pieces, if you haven’t already. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cubed salmon, skin-side-down, and let the salmon cook for 2-3 minutes, until it crisps. Flip the pieces over and add the minced garlic and gently stir to cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Pour the sauce over the salmon and cook for another 2 more minutes. Remove the salmon to cutting board or plate then let the sauce simmer over medium heat to thicken slightly while you assemble the bowls.
- Assemble: Place the riced the honey garlic salmon on top of the rice then spoon a few tablespoons of the thickened sauce on top. Top with the cucumber avocado salad (measure with love), then finish with sesame seed, green onion or spicy mayo.
Prefer to Watch Instead of Read?
Store: place any leftover bowls in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days (the avocado may not last that long, so add fresh before seerving). I recommend storing the leftover rice and salad separately.
Meal prep: this recipe is a great meal prep option and can be made once to enjoy as quick lunches. The only ingredient that doesn't prep well is the avocado so save that to add on top right before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
I usually buy frozen salmon filets rather than the salmon at the counter. The salmon at the counter is almost always previously frozen and I don’t know how long it’s thawed so i prefer to do it myself so it’s more fresh. This way, i can keep it in the freezer until I’m ready to use it all. Go for a wild caught option. We also love to use delivery services like Sitka Salmon Shares.
Keeping the skin on the salmon is a personal preference. It’s completely ok to eat and is actually really good when it gets nice and crispy. However, you can ask the butcher at the grocery store to remove the skin at no additional cost.
The key to tender, flaky salmon is cooking it well. It's easy to overcook salmon so use an Instant read thermometer to know when it's done. Remove the salmon around 135°F (or a little sooner) to allow for carryover cooking.
Mix the salmon chunks in the sauce then add everything to the air fryer basket and air fryer at 390°F for 6-8 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 135°F. Make sure to keep the sauce at the bottom of the air fryer basket to drizzle on top of the bowl before serving.
Toss the cubed salmon with the sauce then spread it out evenly on a large baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Bake at 450°F for 6-8 minutes, or until the internal temp reaches 135°F. Again, save the sauce to top!
More Easy Salmon Recipes
- Salmon pesto pasta
Honey Garlic Salmon Rice Bowls
- 2 cups basmati or long grain white rice
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Honey Garlic Salmon
- 1/3 cup tamari or coconut aminos
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon sriracha
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 cloves minced garlic
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
- 4 (4-6 ounce) skin on salmon filet cut into 1-inch cubes *see notes for skinless
- Toppings: green onion and sesame seeds and spicy mayo
Cucumber Avocado Salad
- 2 avocados diced
- 1 english cucumber sliced into half moons
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 2 tablespoons lime juice (about 1/2 a lime)
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Spicy Mayo (Optional)
- 1/2 cup mayo or japanese mayo
- 2 tablespoons sriracha
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Non-stick Saute Pan
- Add the rice to a bowl and fill with water then swish it around and drain it. Repeat this one more time to remove excess starches off the rice. This helps the coconut rice become light and fluffy rather than gummy and thick.
- Combine the water, salt and coconut milk in a pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the rice and stir once then reduce the heat too medium-low and cook, covered, for 20 minutes.
Cucumber Avocado Salad
- While the rice is cooking, toss together the avocado, cucumber, red onion, lime juice, green onion and cilantro. Set aside or store in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
Honey Garlic Salmon
- While the rice is still cooking, pat the salmon fillets dry with a paper towel then cut the salmon into bite sized pieces, if you haven’t already. In a large bowl, whisk together the tamari, honey, sesame oil, ginger, sriracha and salt and set aside.
- Add the olive or avocado oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot and shimmering, add the cubed salmon, skin-side-down, and cook for 2-3 minutes, until it crisps. Use tongs to carefully flip the salmon over then add the minced garlic and gently stir to cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add the prepared sauce and continue cooking for 2 more minutes, or until the internal temperature of the salmon reaches 135 °F (this allows for 10° of carryover cooking).
- Remove the salmon to a clean cutting board, plate or bowl. Turn the heat down to medium- low and add 1-2 tablespoons of water to the sauce and whisk well to bring the sauce back together. Allow it to simmer for 3-4 more minutes to thicken. Remove from the heat.
- The coconut rice should be done at this point so place your desired amount in the bottom of the bowl. Add the honey garlic salmon then spoon a few tablespoons of the thickened sauce on top.
- Add a generous amount of the cucumber avocado salad to the top and garnish with sesame seeds and green onion.
- Optional: Quickly stir together the mayo, sriracha and honey and serve with the bowls for additional spicy flavor.