This Salmon Poke Bowl recipe first appeared on Savory Experiments where I am a contributor.
Sushi night has never been so simple! Made with sushi-grade salmon, white rice, fresh cucumber, creamy avocado, and fresh mango, these poke bowls are a perfectly easy DIY sushi night at home.
Looking for more romantic seafood dinners for two? Try one of my favorites next: Maryland Crab Cakes, Air Fryer Miso Glazed Chilean Sea Bass, and Lobster Pasta With Champagne Butter Sauce.
Poke Bowl Recipe
Have you ever had a poke bowl (pronounced “poh-KAY bowl”)? If not, get ready to fall in love, because you are in for a treat!
Poke is diced raw fish (salmon, tuna, or white fish) served either as an appetizer or a main course. This dish is native to Hawaiian cuisine, but traditional forms are Japanese and called poké/poki.
“Poke” literally means “cut into pieces” which I have always found interesting because the name refers to the slices or cubes of raw fish that are served in a bowl along with rice, dressing, vegetables, and seasonings.
Ingredients needed to make a Poke Bowl
Below you will find the ingredients to make both the poke bowl and the poke bowl sauce/poke dressing. The fun thing about these bowls is that you can customize them any way you like.
Follow this recipe exactly or use it as a guide and add some of your favorite mix-ins!
Fish: you can’t make a poke bowl without delicious fresh fish / sushi-grade fish. In this recipe, I used sushi-grade salmon. However, you can use sushi-grade tuna as well and make tuna poke bowls.
Rice: whether you use sushi rice, short-grain white rice, brown rice, jasmine rice, or gluten-free cauliflower rice, rice is an essential ingredient as it is the base ingredient for your bowl.
Toppings: dress up your bowl with delicious toppings like English cucumbers, radishes, avocados, and mangos.
Poke bowl sauce
This sauce is a delicious combination of: low sodium soy sauce, lemon juice, toasted sesame oil, mirin, rice wine vinegar, garlic, ginger, and scallions.
Make a vegan poke bowl by swapping fish with tofu!
*For a detailed list of ingredients and measurements, please reference the recipe card down below.
Picking the Right Salmon
When consuming raw fish, it is extremely important to know and understand what you are buying, preparing, and eating.
That said, I like using high quality Sockeye salmon also known as red salmon.
Sockeye salmon is best for sushi and poke because their flesh is bright orange and the flavor is incredibly rich. Most importantly, it is safe to eat raw.
What is sushi grade salmon?
Sushi grade salmon or fish is the term given to fish that shows it is safe to prepare and eat raw. You will see this term or phrase used on restaurant menus and grocery store packaging.
So what makes it “sushi grade”? This is really important because believe it or not, even though all fish you buy at the store is safe to eat, not all of it is safe to eat raw!
Sushi-grade fish is caught very quickly … sorry in advance for the details … bled upon capture, gutted really quickly after, and iced thoroughly.
Because salmon is a known parasitic fish, it is frozen at 0°F for 7 days or flash-frozen at -35°F for 15 hours.
Where to find sushi grade salmon
If you are lucky enough to live near a fish market, I recommend starting there. However, a fish market is not required and doesn’t always carry sushi grade fish. Make sure you always ask if it’s sushi grade before purchasing, no matter where you are.
You can usually find sushi-grade salmon in a high-end grocery store, a local grocery store with a fish counter, and sometimes in the freezer section near the fish and seafood.
If you are shopping at your local Whole Foods or Wegmans you will notice they carry a variety of sushi-grade fish. You can find the fish skinned, cut into rectangular pieces, and packaged in boxes; which I love because it makes prepping these bowls really easy.
I’ve noticed the sushi grade fish is with the sushi and not the seafood counter in my local stores.
Can I use regular salmon for poke?
No! I cannot stress this enough. Do not use regular salmon for your poke bowls or sushi at home. You must use sushi grade salmon. The last thing you want to do is get sick from eating salmon that is not suitable to eat raw.
Sushi grade salmon will always be marked as such. However, if you have questions about the quality of salmon you are looking at, ask someone at the fish counter or an employee in the store.
Let them know you are going to prepare and eat it raw and they will point you in the right direction.
How to Make a Poke Bowl with Salmon
1. Marinate the salmon. Combine all poke bowl sauce ingredients and the white parts of the green onions together in a large mixing bowl. With a sharp knife, slice the salmon into 1-inch cubes against the grain, and add to the mixing bowl with the poke sauce. Toss to combine and marinate for 15-45 minutes, no longer than 1 hour.
2. Cook the rice. Meanwhile, cook the rice according to package instructions
3. Assemble the bowls. Divide the cooked rice between bowls and place salmon, sliced cucumber, radishes, avocado, and mango on top. I like to add a drizzle of homemade spicy mayo on top.
What is usually in a poke bowl?
Although you can find a lot of variety in poke bowls, they usually consist of the same basic ingredients like rice, with protein choices of tuna, tofu, salmon, and a number of toppings.
Poke bowl sauces are also an essential part of the dish and typically consist of wasabi mayo, spicy mayo, sriracha sauce, eel sauce, sesame oil, and more!
Toppings for your Poke Bowl
Looking to add or change things up? The best part of poke bowls is the variety of toppings. No two bowls will ever be the same if you consider some of these other delicious toppings:
- Spicy salmon
- Yellowtail tuna
- Kukui nuts
- Pineapple chunks
- Seaweed Snacks (my favorite!)
- Red onion
- Pickled ginger
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Sesame seeds
- Coconut aminos
- Lemon juice
- Lime juice
- Fresh herbs
You can also change up your grains and go with something a little healthier like quinoa or mixed greens.
Are poke bowls healthier than sushi?
Possibly, it really depends on what you are adding to your bowl, the serving size and what sushi rolls you are comparing them against.
By the time you are done loading up your bowl, it might actually be higher in calories than your typical sushi roll.
The difference between a bowl and a roll is overall you will get better overall nutritional value, health benefits, and fewer empty carbs out of a bowl compared to eating roll after roll.
I like to balance my bowls with a small amount of rice and a larger portion of mixed greens and raw vegetables.
Helpful Kitchen Tools
Make prepping dinner even easier with some of my favorite kitchen tools to prepare this recipe!
Bowls: whether you are using a small bowl, medium bowl, or making 1 large poke bowl in a serving bowl, These are some of my favorite bowls to use for poke.
Mandoline: I recommend using a vegetable peeler to make thinly sliced cucumbers and radishes easier to prepare.
Pan: if you aren’t able to find sushi grade salmon or prefer cooked salmon, I recommend using a frying pan to prepare your salmon fillet pieces.
Rice cooker: speed up the process of cooking rice with this handy rice cooker. You will never believe how quickly rice will be ready!
Cutting board: I like to use a plastic cutting board to prepare raw fish so I can thoroughly clean it.
Knife: a high quality sharp knife makes slicing into raw fish easy and creates smooth edges.
WANT TO TRY THIS SALMON POKE BOWL RECIPE?
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Salmon Poke Bowl
- 10 ounces sushi grade salmon
- 1/2 cup white rice
- 1 english cucumber, thinly sliced
- 2 radishes, thinly sliced
- 1 avocado, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup mango, diced
- spicy mayo recipe, for serving
Poke bowl sauce
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger, or ginger paste
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seed oil
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced and white parts separated
- Combine garlic, grated ginger, mirin, soy sauce, lemon juice, toasted sesame seed oil, rice vinegar, and the white parts of the green onions together in a large mixing bowl. Slice the salmon into 1 inch cubes against the grain, and add to the mixing bowl with the poke sauce. Toss to combine and marinate for 15-45 minutes, no longer than 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, cook the rice according to package instructions
- Divide the cooked rice between bowls and top with marinated salmon, sliced cucumber, radishes, avocado, and mango.
Oooh, poke is a favorite for my husband. This salmon poke bowl looks incredible and I love all that color.
I’m absolutely in love with poke bowls and salmon is one of my favorite kinds of fish; there’s so much to love about this dish! Will definitely be making it for lunch next week 🙂
This salmon poke bowl is colorful and delicious! It looks like something I’d get at a restaurant. I love all the flavors of the fresh vegetables with the poke sauce. It really pulls everything together nicely!
I am looking into it recently and found that sushi-grade is in fact only a marketing term. There is no national governing body grades the fish as USDA grades the beef. So when you see a piece of fish labeled sushi- or sashimi-grade, that means that the seller has judged it safe to eat raw. The claim is only as trustworthy as the fish market that makes it. Although there is always a risk, farm raised salmon is generally considered safe as long as it’s previous blast frozen.