These veggie-packed quinoa bowls are a simple, nutritious meal the entire family will enjoy. Best of all, they can be prepped in advance, and are delicious either hot or cold.
Grain bowls have been a bit of a fad over the past couple of years. However, it’s a fad that never really appealed to me because they seemed a tad carb dense.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not on a carb-free diet. However, we all know that too many carbs are unhealthy.
So, when I found a grain bowl recipe in the May edition of Cooking Light magazine that included a bit of quinoa and a lot of greens, I was hooked. I loved the idea of a simple veggie-packed bowl with a bit of quinoa and nutrient-dense salmon.
However, my husband and my youngest son are both picky eaters. Plus, the entire family prefers dishes with bold flavours. Thus, the understated seasonings in the original recipe had to change.
Miso and salmon are a match made in heaven. So, it was easy to imagine a rich miso glaze with a hint of sriracha as a starting point. This addition immediately took my quinoa bowls in a decidedly Asian direction.
I really liked the idea of the quick pickle in the original recipe. Pickles add a welcome puckery tang to the bowls, along with a little crunch. However, I changed the original veggies to a mixture of carrot and cucumber, and used rice vinegar to carry the Asian theme throughout the quinoa bowls.
Beware, the pickles are highly addictive. Don’t get tempted to nibble on them while cooking, or you’ll regret it!
The salmon and pickles are served on a bed of quinoa and greens, lightly dressed with a simple lime vinaigrette. So, you wind up with a healthy, balanced meal in a bowl.
Best of all? Even the pickiest eaters won’t mind the baby spinach in these bowls! My youngest son — who squinches up his nose at suggestions of quinoa and spinach — ate the entire thing and helped himself to seconds!
Miso is a protein-rich fermented bean paste from Japan. It is usually made from soybeans, but can also be made from barley, and include a variety of grains.
If you’ve never tried miso before, you’re in for a wonderful surprise. It is a rich, flavourful paste that adds a welcome hit of umami to just about anything.
The good news is, it’s also incredibly healthy! Benefits of consuming miso include:
- A dose of healthy probiotics which improve your digestion and your body’s immune response;
- Reduced cardiovascular risk;
- Healthy antioxidants which inhibit tumours; and
- A healthy dose of copper, manganese, phosphorus, B vitamins, and vitamin K.
Miso is widely available in Asian markets or on the Asian aisle of well-stocked supermarkets. In most markets, you will find three varieties of miso paste: white (shiro), yellow (shinsu), and red (aka).
This recipe calls for the darkest miso, which is most flavourful, and it’s also fermented for the longest time. If you are shy about the flavour intensity, you could use one of the lighter misos the first time around. However, with a fish as rich as salmon, I believe the red miso is really the best complement.
This recipe is going on a regular rotation in my house. I hope your family likes it every bit as much as mine does. Bon appétit!
Miso Glazed Salmon and Quinoa Bowls
These nutrient dense miso glazed salmon quinoa bowls are bound to become a family favourite. They make a rich, flavourful, balanced meal. Best of all? They can be prepped in advance. So, these quinoa bowls are an easy, guilt-free supper for busy moms.
- 1 560 g skin-on salmon fillet (about 1.2 pounds)
- For the marinade
- 1/4 cup red miso paste
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons rice wine (or dry sherry)
- 1 tablespoon sriracha
- For the quinoa
- 2 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked mixed red and white quinoa
- 200 g baby spinach (about 7 ounces), finely chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped (about 15 g)
- 1 lime, juice of
- 4 tablespoons canola oil
- 1/4 teaspoon red chilli flakes (optional)
- salt, to taste
- For the pickle
- 2 small carrots, peeled and sliced (with a mandoline or vegetable peeler) very thin, lengthwise
- 1 medium cucumber, peeled and sliced (with a mandoline or vegetable peeler) into thin strips
- 2 teaspoons crushed garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon natural sea salt
- 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- Step 1 Preheat broiler.
- Step 2 Unwrap the salmon. Cut it into six equal portions and place it in a rectangular baking dish (or refrigerator container).
- Step 3 Whisk the marinade ingredients together to combine thoroughly. Pour the marinade over the fish, massaging to ensure the marinade covers the fish completely. Cover tightly and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour. (For best results, marinate for 24 hours.)
- Step 4 Meanwhile, place the quinoa and the chicken stock in a saucepan, placed over high heat. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat to medium low and continue cooking (uncovered) for about 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed and quinoa is al dente. Remove from heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
- Step 5 While quinoa is cooking, combine the pickle ingredients in a small bowl, tossing to thoroughly combine, and set aside for about 20 minutes.
- Step 6 Line a baking tray with foil and arrange marinated salmon fillets on the baking tray, leaving any excess marinade behind. Place on a rack about 6 inches under the preheated broiler for 4-6 minutes or until just cooked through and lightly browned.
- Step 7 At serving time, toss quinoa, chopped spinach, and chopped coriander together until thoroughly combined.
- Step 8 Then, whisk together the lime juice, canola oil, chilli flakes (if using) and salt to create a light vinaigrette. Toss the vinaigrette with the quinoa mixture. Taste, and adjust salt if necessary.
- Step 9 At serving time, assemble the bowls by arranging a bed of the quinoa, spinach mixture in the base of each one. Top with a salmon fillet and garnish with the carrot and cucumber ribbons. Serve immediately.