Smoked Salmon Sushi Bowls are easy to make at home and cost way less than your sushi takeout. This recipe subs out the raw fish for smoked salmon and imitation crab, then piles on the veggies and a spicy sriracha mayo for a great-tasting sushi bowl. These smoked salmon rice bowls are the perfect thing to make when you’re craving sushi but don’t want to order in.
Anyone else love sushi but hate the price tag? I LOVE going out for sushi but unfortunately, my pocketbook doesn’t. Sushi bowls are the perfect alternative when you’re craving sushi but can’t get the real thing for whatever reason.
What’s a sushi bowl?
If you’re reading this, you’re likely a lover of sushi. But making sushi rolls at home can be difficult. Getting all the ingredients inside the nori sheets and getting them to stick is definitely an art! Sushi bowls are a great way to enjoy the delicious flavors of sushi without having to make the rolls. Consider this your lazy guide to sushi!
Another benefit of sushi bowls is that you’re able to really explore a lot of different flavors in a single bowl. You can only fit so many ingredients in a sushi roll. By turning that into a bowl, you can add in extras to really enhance the texture and flavor of the dish.
Ingredients for this smoked salmon sushi bowl.
Sushi bowls are easy to make and so customizable! The one thing that’s always included is rice, which is seasoned with vinegar and sugar. The rest of the ingredients are typically up to you, but here’s the combination I love:
- Sushi rice. Sushi rice is very short-grained white rice and is typically seasoned when used in making sushi. When making these bowls, you’ll combine the cooked rice with a mixture of rice vinegar, sugar, and salt for the perfect sushi rice.
- Smoked salmon. I think smoked salmon gives these bowls the perfect texture of sashimi without having to worry about dealing with raw fish. You can use any type of smoked salmon you like. Try experimenting with different flavors depending on the veggies you choose for your bowl.
- Imitation crab meat. I was playing around with the textures and flavors and added in some imitation crab meat for a bit of a California roll bowl feel.
- Veggies. Some classics to include are carrots, cucumbers, and avocados. I also added green onions and jalapenos for extra flavor and spice.
- Nori. Nori sheets are easy to find in the snack aisle of your local grocery store. I used some kitchen scissors to slice it into thin strips. It adds a nice salty, umami crunch to the sushi bowls.
- Sesame seeds. Lightly toasted sesame seeds add some great visual interest and texture to sushi bowls.
- Sriracha mayo. In my opinion, this sushi bowl sauce makes the dish. Creamy and spicy all at once - it’s the perfect finishing touch.
The best part about a sushi bowl is the endless options you have when building it! I love smoked salmon here since it gives the feel of raw fish without the worry of dealing with it on my own. But there are tons of options you can choose from if you’re looking for a different texture or flavor.
- Crab meat. This recipe also incorporates imitation crab to give it a bit of that California Roll vibe. Try using crab meat on its own (sans smoked salmon) - real or imitation.
- Crispy tofu. This would be a great vegan option and it’s so easy to customize the flavor of tofu.
- Shrimp. Adding some marinated cooked shrimp would be a great option here.
- Raw fish. If you feel confident in your ability to prepare raw fish safely, go for it! This task is intimidating for most people due to health concerns and risks. This article from Serious Eats shares how to prepare raw fish safely if that’s something you’re into. The biggest points here are to make sure you trust your fish market, ensure your prep area and tools are clean, and keep your fish cold.
- Experiment with different veggies and sauces! Radishes, edamame, soy sauce, or sesame oil - there are tons of veggies you can try to mix these sushi bowls up.
How to make this smoked salmon rice bowl
There are a few steps to making your smoked salmon sushi bowls: making the sushi rice, assembling your bowl, and making the sriracha mayo.
How to make perfect sushi rice.
- For perfect sushi rice, start by placing the rice in a colander (make sure the holes are small enough that the rice won’t fall through!). Then rinse the rice until the water turns from cloudy to clear and allow the water to drain for about 5-10 minutes. This is an important step since if you don’t rinse your rice, there will be too much excess starch on each grain. This can give the rice a gummy feel and destroy its texture.
- Cook the sushi rice. Next, boil a pot of water, then add your sushi rice. Cook the rice per the instructions on the packaging. This should typically take about 15 minutes. Remove the rice and allow it to sit for an additional 10 minutes.
- Make the rice seasoning. While your rice is resting, make your rice seasoning. Classic sushi rice is seasoned with rice vinegar, salt, and sugar. Combine all three in a medium bowl and stir until combined. (If the sugar is not dissolving easily, you can also heat this mixture over low heat in a saucepan and stir until the sugar dissolves. If you use this method, just make sure the mixture cools completely before adding it to your rice).
- Mix the rice with the vinegar mixture. Slowly add the vinegar mixture to the cooked and cooled sushi rice. Because sushi rice is naturally sticky, you’ll want to add a little bit at a time, then carefully fold it into the rice with a spatula. Continue adding the seasoning in batches until everything is incorporated. Be careful with this step, as it’s easy to smush the rice if you’re too rough when mixing it.
Assemble your bowl.
Once your perfect sushi rice is ready, it’s time to assemble your sushi bowls!
- Place a small scoop of rice into a bowl.
- Add your toppings on top of the rice. I like to group the toppings together in different areas of the bowl to make a colorful presentation.
- Sprinkle the fish and veggies with the lightly toasted sesame seeds.
Make the sriracha mayo
- Sriracha mayo is easy to find these days at the grocery store, but it’s also really easy to make your own! Simply mix mayo and sriracha together to form the sushi dressing. I used a 3:2 ratio of mayo to sriracha (3 tablespoon of mayo and 2 tablespoon of sriracha sauce each). But the beauty of making your own is you can dial up or down the spice by adjusting the ratio. Add more sriracha to make it spicier, and less to make it mild.
Do I have to use sushi rice?
It’s the best option since sushi rice has a higher starch content, which gives it that sticky texture you want for sushi bowls. But if you can’t find it (or it is astronomically expensive) just try to find a short-grain rice to substitute. Risotto rice or Arborio rice would be good alternatives. You could even use cauliflower rice if you’re looking to make this bowl grain free!
Nori is basically dried seaweed. It’s used in lots of Japanese dishes and can easily be found at your local grocery store. Apart from using it in this sushi bowl recipe, my kids love it as a snack and it’s a healthier alternative to chips!
Isn’t this sort of like a poke bowl?
Sort of - many of the elements are the same. The main difference between a poke bowl and a sushi bowl is that poke bowls typically contain fish that has been chopped into small cubes that are then marinated in a sauce or seasoning and served with rice. Sushi bowls contain fish that is sliced and then served with rice and sauces on the side or on top.
If you try these Smoked Salmon Sushi Bowls, let me know what you think in the comments below! And don’t forget to tag me on Instagram @frontrangefed with a pic!
More Easy Weeknight Dinners
- Miso Chicken
- Cajun Shrimp Pasta
- Easy Kung Pao Tofu
- Sheet Pan Chicken Thighs With Sausage And Potatoes
- Chicken And Yellow Rice
Easy Smoked Salmon Sushi Bowls
Perfect Sushi Rice Ingredients
- 2 cups sushi rice
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
Sushi Bowl Toppings
- 8 oz smoked salmon
- 4 oz imitation crab (optional)
- 1 carrot
- 1 cucumber
- 1 avocado
- 1 pack nori snack, cut into strips
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds, lightly toasted
- 2 green onions
- 1-2 jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp sriracha sauce
- Add your sushi rice to a colander and rinse until the water runs clear. Allow the rice to sit in the colander for 5-10 minutes to fully drain.
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. At 15 minutes, turn off heat and let the rice rest for 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, prepare your toppings. Shred the carrot, slice the avocado, slice the cucumber, and prepare your seafood of choice (imitation crab or smoked salmon).
- Prepare the sriracha mayo by mixing together the mayonnaise and sriracha sauce. Set aside.
- Prepare the sushi rice dressing by cobining the rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a small bowl. Stir until dissolved. *See note
- Once your rice has fully rested, add the vinegar dressing, in batches, to the rice, and stir gently to combine. Be careful not to be too aggressive when mixing the dressing with the rice. Sushi rice is delicate and you want to avoid smushing it.
- Assemble your sushi bowls! Place 1 cup of the sushi rice in a bowl, then top with the carrots, cucumber slices, crab or smoked salmon, avocado, and some nori pieces. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the top. Drizzle the sriracha mayo over the top, if desired.