These Sesame Salmon Sushi Bowls are simple to prepare at home, and perfect for someone who wants to make sushi for the first time! I love making sushi rolls and nigiri, but I don’t always have time to pull them off. This recipe is the perfect option for homemade sushi that doesn’t take ages, and ideal for beginners or anyone with a busy schedule. Per the recipe, these bowls are absolutely loaded with flavorful salmon and veggies, but you can adjust the toppings and portions as desired.
These sushi bowls come together in a little under an hour, which is the time it takes to prepare the rice. As the rice is cooking, you should have enough time to prepare all the other ingredients (assuming only one person is cooking). If you have more than one person helping, it will come together much quicker, so consider starting the rice a little bit ahead of everything else.
If you’re interested in learning how to make sushi rolls, nigiri, and more, check out my Sushi Beginner’s Guide which will walk you through everything you need to know, from finding ingredients to step-by-step recipes.
Sushi Bowls Vs. Poke Bowls
This recipe is a bit of a hybrid between a sushi bowl and a poke bowl. Traditional sushi bowls (Chirashi Sushi) typically do not add any sauces to the fish, and included few other toppings. Poke bowls, while similar to this bowl, are served over plain white rice, not seasoned sushi rice. This recipe is a “Sushi Bowl” because it’s served over sushi rice, however it distinctly resembles a poke bowl.
I think it’s okay to refer to this dish as either a “Sushi Bowl” or “Poke Bowl”.
Where to Buy Fish for Sushi
Finding fish that is safe, and delicious, for making sushi at home is the #1 barrier most people note when they decide to make sushi for the first time. I purchase fish marked for sushi/sashimi from a Japanese grocery store, but I’ve put together a comprehensive guide of all the options that are available to you. Please click the following link to view the guide: Sourcing Fish for Sushi at Home
Key Tips – Sesame Salmon Sushi Bowls
Customize to your liking.
- Use more or less fish to suit your preference (pictured is 5 oz of salmon per bowl, but anywhere from 3 to 5 oz may be appropriate for a serving)
- There are many options for veggies to include other than the 4 that are noted in this recipe. Some other veggies to consider are: shredded carrots, cucumber, nori, cabbage, corn, white onion, bean sprouts, other varieties of microgreens, seaweed salad, green onion, radish, and whatever you can think of!
This is a great introduction into sushi making.
- Sushi bowls were the first sushi I ever made at home, and I think they’re the perfect introduction to sushi making. Slicing the fish is simple, and you don’t need a sushi knife.
- This recipe is much quicker to prepare than making sushi rolls or nigiri at home.
- If you’re interested in learning how to make sushi at home, check out my Sushi Beginner’s Guide!
Keep the fish refrigerated as much as possible.
- Please keep food safety in mind and do not have the fish out of the fridge longer than necessary. Remove the fish from the fridge just before preparing the sesame salmon, then return the fish to the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the bowls.
Prepare the salmon and veggies as the rice cooks.
- Assuming one person is cooking, you should have enough time to prep all the veggies and the salmon as the rice cooks and rests.
- If more than one person is helping, consider starting the rice a little bit ahead of everything else, so you aren’t waiting around for the rice to cool with everything else ready to go.
Dietary Restrictions – Sesame Salmon Sushi Bowls
This dish is naturally Dairy-Free!
Make it Gluten-Free:
- Most soy sauce contains gluten. To make this dish fully gluten-free, use a gluten-free soy sauce such as tamari.
Variations – Sesame Salmon Sushi Bowls
Make it a poke bowl.
- A poke bowl uses plain, unseasoned rice rather than the seasoned sushi rice that this recipe calls for. To make this a poke bowl, just prepare plain rice instead. This should be a bit faster than the process for making sushi rice, and is also slightly lower in calories.
- This sesame sauce is also delicious over tuna, you can substitute tuna for the salmon without changing anything else about the recipe.
A Note On Serving Sizes
Serving sizes are a very personal thing, making it very difficult for me to select a serving size that suits everyone. I serve this dish as two very large dinner portions (as pictured), but it could easily be split into 3-4 smaller portions. If desired, to serve four, you could prepare a double batch of rice, serve a smaller portion of the fish, and supplement with extra veggies.
Sesame Salmon Sushi Bowls
For Sushi Rice:
- 1 1/2 cups medium grain sushi rice
- 1 3/4 cups warm water
- 6 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar (This should have no calories. If it has calories, the vinegar is already seasoned with sugar and salt.)
- 2 tbsp white sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp table salt
For Sesame Salmon:
- 6-10 oz sushi quality salmon (pictured is 5 oz per bowl)
- 2 green onions
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp toasted white sesame seeds
To Finish Bowl:
- 1/2 medium sized ripe avocado optional
- ~1/2 cup shelled, frozen edamame optional
- ~1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion optional
- ~1/4 cup daikon sprouts optional
- other veggies such as carrots, cucumber, nori, bean sprouts, etc optional
For Sushi Rice:
- Please click here to see my detailed guide to sushi rice if this is your first time preparing it. The rice takes about 50 minutes to prepare, but has a lot of hands-off time. The salmon and veggies for this meal can be prepared as the rice cooks. Optionally, you can substitute plain white rice to make this recipe as a poke bowl instead.
- Place the rice in a large pot (that has a lid). Rinse and drain the rice until the water runs clear, at least 3 times (rinse the rice even if the bag says it's "prewashed"). Drain as much water as possible.
- Add 1 3/4 cup lukewarm water to the pot, close with the lid, and place on the stove top.
- Heat over medium-high heat until the water begins to boil, once boiling cook over medium-high heat for 4 minutes, then reduce heat to very-low and simmer for 15 minutes.
- After simmering, remove from heat and let the pot stand undisturbed for another 15 minutes.
- Scoop the rice into a large non-metallic bowl. Dust with sugar and salt, then pour over the rice vinegar. Using a rice spatula or non-stick spatula mix everything together and break up all the clumps of rice. Mix until every grain of rice is separated and coated in vinegar, the sugar and salt should dissolve completely. Don't worry if the rice seems too wet at this point, that will go away as it cools.
- Allow the rice to cool uncovered, mixing occasionally, until it reaches room temp (about 15 minutes). You can speed this process along by fanning the rice if desired. The rice should be slightly sticky once it's cooled.
- Boil the edamame per package instructions (typically 3-4 minutes), then drain and season lightly with salt.
- Peel the red onion and cut it in half, then slice as thin as possible until you have about 1/4 of a cup.
- Clip daikon sprouts from their base and thoroughly rinse.
- Prepare the avocado last, as it will brown if exposed to air for too long. Peel and thinly slice the 1/2 avocado as desired. I use the method shown in this guide, in the "avocado topping" section.
For Sesame Salmon:
- Rinse the salmon thoroughly, then pat dry with paper towels. Using a very sharp chef's knife, slice the salmon into strips. Once in strips, slice again into cubes. You do not need a sushi knife, a sharp chef's knife will do. I make my cubes about 1/2 inch in size, but choose any size you prefer.
- Remove the root tip of the green onions and discard, then slice as thinly as possible (green and white portions). After slicing, use your hands to separate the rings of the white portion as much as possible.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the cubed salmon, green onion, sesame oil, soy sauce, and sesame seeds. Mix until fully combined. If not using immediately, cover and return to the fridge until ready to use.
For Finished Bowl:
- Divide the sushi rice evenly into the serving dishes, creating a wide, flat base.
- Spoon the salmon into the serving bowls, discarding any sauce that remains in the mixing bowl.
- Top with veggies as desired, then serve immediately with a spoon and chopsticks.
If you like this recipe, you may also like…
If you like this recipe, you might like my Velvet Chicken, Umami Salmon Sushi Roll, or Garlic Eggplant & Crispy Tofu.
Send me pictures of your creations — it’ll make my day! Message @CraftyCookbook on Instagram or tag me in a post! Please note, tagged posts are only visible to me if your account is public. Did you make any interesting changes or substitutions for this recipe? Tell me about them in the comment section below!
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Wow!!! I’ve been wanting to try your sushi recipes but was afraid I would ruin it completely. This seemed a lot easier to try for a beginner and I’m so proud of how they came out!! Will definitely try more if you post more sushi bowl ideas!