Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
A bowlful of fish, whole grain and veggies is going to be a very nutritious meal for most of us. The customizable dish known as poke (pronounced “POH-keh”) is ubiquitous in Hawaii and delivers perfectly balance carbs, protein, and fat to help you recover like a pro.
And it gets even better when you consider that the benefits of the mega-healthy omega-3 fats in salmon are well-proven: higher levels of anti-inflammatory omega-3 acids in the blood increases life expectancy by almost five years, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Of course, colorful vegetables earn top honors when it comes to healthy salmon bowl ingredients and eating more whole grains, like quinoa, has been found to improve several markers of heart health, including cholesterol numbers. The trio of fish, quinoa, and salmon infuses this big bowl of nutrition with enough protein to make it easier to build and maintain lean body mass.
You’ve probably seen trendy poke bowls on social media and menus of restaurants of all stripes. You may even live in a city where poke food trucks are a thing. But making your own is far from a high-flying kitchen feat—it’s everything that’s amazing about sushi, but in a nutrient-packed bowl. Great warm or pulled straight from the fridge, this also makes a standout packed lunch if you are burned out on sandwiches.
The Spicy, Almost-Poke Salmon Bowl
Poke means “to slice or cut” in Hawaiian and refers to chunks of raw, marinated fish that is then tossed over rice and topped with vegetables and sauces. This riff uses cubes of cooked salmon for those who are squeamish about using raw fish and a base of quinoa which provides a bigger nutritional bang than rice (more protein, extra fiber). Consider going with wild salmon, which typically gets higher sustainability marks than most farmed versions, though the latter is still a good option if that is what your budget allows. Mango or pineapple offers a hit of sweetness, edamame adds even more nutrition, and the fiery dressing will certainly perk up your taste buds. But feel free to freestyle it and throw together your favorite ingredients, aiming for a variety of textures and flavors. Cubes of tuna or tofu (for you plant-only eaters), shredded carrot, brown or red rice, roasted peanuts….the opportunities are endless. The quinoa, salmon, edamame, and dressing can all be made up to two days in advance of serving for a meal in a hurry.
Makes 4 Servings
- 4 (4–5 oz.) salmon fillets
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 cup frozen shelled edamame
- 2 cups cubed mango or pineapple
- 2 cups sliced cucumber
- 1 cup sliced radish
- 1 avocado, thinly sliced
- 2 cups microgreens or arugula
- 2 scallions (green onions), thinly sliced
- 2 nori sheets, crumbled (optional)
- 4 tsp. sesame seeds
- 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar or cider vinegar
- Juice of ½ lime
- 1 Tbsp. Sriracha
- 2 tsp. sesame oil
- 2 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
- 2 tsp. honey
- ¼ tsp. salt
- Preheat oven to 300°F. Season salmon with salt and pepper and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake fish for 15 minutes, or until just barely cooked through in the thickest part of the flesh. Let rest for 5 minutes and then gently break apart flesh into 1-inch chunks.
- Place quinoa and 1¾ cups water and a couple of pinches salt in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, until quinoa is tender and liquid has absorbed, about 15 minutes. Set aside, covered, for 5 minutes and then fluff quinoa with a fork.
- Prepare edamame according to package directions and drain well.
- In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, lime juice, Sriracha, sesame oil, ginger, honey, and salt.
- In large serving bowls, layer in quinoa, edamame, mango or pineapple, cucumber, radish, avocado, salmon, microgreens and scallions. Scatter on nori if using and sesame seeds. Drizzle on the dressing.