Crunchy, satisfying, sweet, and lightly spicy, Sweet & Smoky Salmon Quinoa Bowls are a flavorful dinner recipe you won't be able to get enough of! Perfectly cooked salmon and cucumber mango salad top steamed quinoa and shredded cabbage for a complete and easy-to-make meal.
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Recharge your dinner recipe rotation with sweet and smoky salmon bowls. With nutty quinoa, crisp bitter-sweet cabbage, juicy and crunchy cucumber mango salad, smoky and sweet salmon, and creamy sriracha mayo, there's nothing not to love about this quinoa and salmon recipe.
Taking less than 35 minutes to make, these impressive yet simple-to-assemble bowls are a satisfying weeknight meal but also fitting for a dinner party or al fresco dinner with friends. Serve with lemon or lime-infused seltzer water, rosé, or even gin and tonics!
Why You'll Love Quinoa and Salmon Bowls
- Full of Flavor and Texture. Savory, smoky, briney, crunchy, juicy, peppery, and sweet; this quinoa bowl recipe has it all!
- A Complete Meal. With healthy carbs, protein, vegetables, and fats, this salmon and quinoa bowl recipe can stand alone as a satisfying meal.
- Fresh. Sweet mango, crunchy cucumber and cabbage, and pepper red onion are just a few of the elements that make these bowls a bright and summery delight.
- Delicious Year-Round. Though, of course, these bowls aren't only good for summer months. Use defrosted frozen mango instead of fresh to make this quinoa bowl with salmon any time of year!
- Quinoa: Either traditional or tri-color quinoa are great picks for this recipe.
- Salmon: Cut into large cubes, making the perfect quinoa protein bowl topper. Use skin-on salmon for the easiest grilling.
- Sweet and Smoky Seasoning: The star of this sweet, savory, smoky, and lightly spicy show. I used Grill Mates Sweet & Smoky Rub (pictured above), though any similar blend will work.
- Mangoes: Choose mangoes that are heavy for their size and have flesh that is tender enough that it gives just slightly when pressed firmly, yet gently.
- Cucumber: I recommend baby cucumbers, though English cucumbers (also known as seedless cucumbers) also work great in this protein bowl recipe.
- Red Onion: Minced finely.
- Cilantro: Completes the cucumber mango salsa with its peppery and pungent notes. If you are cilantro adverse, this ingredient can be omitted from the recipe.
- Avocados: Check the avocados for ripeness by looking for a dark green skin that gives just slightly when pressed firmly, yet gently.
- Lime Juice: Brightens the flavors of the mango and cucumber, tying the whole salad together.
- Crumbled Feta Cheese: The salty and briny notes of this cheese add dimension to the salad and are a perfect complement to the sweet and smoky notes of the seasoned salmon.
- Shredded Cabbage: For additional veg and crunch.
- Sriracha Mayonnaise (Optional): Adds additional creamy and smoky notes to the salmon salad bowl, making it truly one-of-a-kind.
- Sweet and Smoky Seasoning Blend: If you can't find a similar sweet and smoky seasoning blend, you can also make your own using this recipe.
- Cheese: In a pinch, crumbled goat cheese can work in place of feta.
- Onion: Thinly sliced green onions or minced sweet or Vidalia onions can substitute for red onion.
How to Make Salmon and Quinoa Bowls
For the complete recipe and measurements, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: Cook rinsed quinoa according to the package directions.
Step 2: Preheat the grill to 450-500℉ for 10 minutes or heat a grill pan over medium-high heat until water sputters when flicked on it.
Step 3: Brush the skin side of the salmon with the oil. Cut the salmon into large chunks and season with the sweet and smoky seasoning.
Step 4: Add the salmon to the grill or grill pan, skin side down, and cook covered for 5-6 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through and flakes easily.
Step 5: Flip the salmon to the flesh side down and grill long enough for grill marks to form.
Step 6: Remove the salmon from the grill and let rest for 2-3 minutes.
Step 7: In a large mixing bowl, gently stir the cucumbers, red onion, cilantro, mango, avocados, feta cheese, sweet and smoky seasoning, and lime juice together until combined.
Step 8: Assemble the quinoa salmon bowls: divide the quinoa between 4 large bowls. Top with equal amounts of cucumber mango salad, shredded cabbage, and sriracha mayo (if desired). Serve hot!
- Rinse the Quinoa Before Cooking. This will remove the soapy flavor from the quinoa, allowing the flavors of the salmon bowl to shine.
- Grill the Salmon Skin Side Down on High Heat. If grilling the salmon on the grill instead of a grill pan, preheat the grill to 450-500 degrees Fahrenheit for 5-10 minutes. Oil the skin side of the salmon and place the salmon chunks, skin side down, on the grill. The salmon will be ready to flip when the skin releases easily from the grill. Cook for only 1-2 minutes more or until grill marks just form.
- Option: Air Fry The Salmon. If you have an air fryer, you can also air fry the salmon. Preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees. Brush the air fryer basket or tray with olive oil and air fry the salmon chunks for 4-6 minutes or until the salmon flakes easily with a fork.
- To Make Sriracha Mayo, just stir together ½ cup mayonnaise, 2-4 teaspoons sriracha (or to your taste), and ½ teaspoon lemon juice.
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2-4 teaspoons sriracha
- ½ teaspoon lemon juice
Make this salmon quinoa salad your own by making any of the following adjustments to the recipe.
- Extra Spicy: Enjoy an extra kick of heat by adding a sliced jalapeño or an additional serrano pepper to the cucumber mango salad.
- Protein: Switch up the protein by substituting shrimp for the salmon, or topping the salmon grain bowl with grilled shrimp skewers. Toss the raw shrimp in the sweet and smoky seasoning before grilling for the best flavor.
- Vegetables: Cucumber and mango are a match made in heaven, but you can also add chopped sweet peppers or halved cherry tomatoes to the cucumber mango salad for extra flavor, crunch, and color!
- Fruit: Don't have mangoes? Fresh peaches, plums, or even diced pineapple are delicious substitutions.
- Grains: Make almost any variety of salmon grain bowls by switching up the grains you make this recipe with. Rice, brown rice, farro, and whole wheat couscous are all fabulous options!
Serve the quinoa salmon bowls with sriracha mayonnaise and additional crumbled feta cheese and cilantro. These bowls are hearty enough to serve on their own for a satisfying dinner or lunch. For some extra staying power, though, you can serve these bowls with toasted baguettes or ciabatta bread, avocado gazpacho, roasted broccoli, or crackers.
This recipe is naturally gluten-free. To make it dairy-free, simply omit the crumbled feta cheese from the mango cucumber salad.
- Storage: Leftovers keep covered in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. For best results, store the different components of the bowls separately and assemble the salmon protein bowls before serving. These bowls, unfortunately, do not freeze well.
The best way to make quinoa taste good is to rinse it thoroughly before cooking. Doing so removes the soapy flavor from the grain, leaving a clean, nutty, and fresh flavor. Once you have cooked the quinoa this way, you can enjoy it almost anywhere you would enjoy rice for a delicious dining experience!
You can serve quinoa bowls either hot or cold; it all depends on your personal preference and the ingredients that are in your bowl. I recommend serving these sweet and smoky salmon and quinoa bowls warm, however, as the seasoned salmon is extra flavorful when served hot!
Tools Needed to Make This Recipe
- Cutting Board
- Chef Knife
- Measuring Cups
- Mixing Bowl
- Silicone Spatula
- Grill or Grill Pan
More Dinner Recipes
- Chicken Caprese Sandwiches
- Caramelized Zucchini Pasta
- Grilled Blackened Salmon with Shrimp
- Shortcut Short Ribs
Thank you for making Quinoa Salmon Bowls! If you enjoyed it, please follow me on Instagram @mindfulcooks and tag your recipe creations with #mindfulcooks!
Sweet & Smoky Salmon Quinoa Bowls
- 1 ½ cups quinoa rinsed and drained
Sweet & Smoky Salmon
- 1 tablespoon neutral cooking oil avocado oil, canola oil, grapeseed oil
- 1 lb salmon fillet (preferably skin-on)
- 2 tablespoons sweet and smoky seasoning I used Grill Mates
Cucumber Mango Salad
- 2 baby cucumbers chopped, or 1 heaping cup of chopped cucumbers
- ¼ cup red onion chopped
- ¼ cup cilantro chopped
- 1 large mango pitted, peeled, and chopped
- 2 small avocados pitted and chopped
- ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
- 2 teaspoons sweet and smoky seasoning I used Grill Mates
- ½ lime, juiced or 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 serrano pepper sliced
- 2 cups shredded cabbage
- sriracha mayonnaise for serving (optional)
- Cook the rinsed quinoa according to the package directions.
- While the quinoa cooks, grill the salmon. Preheat the grill to 450-500℉ for 10 minutes or heat a grill pan over medium-high heat until water sputters when flicked on it. Brush the skin side of the salmon with the oil. Cut the salmon into large chunks and season with the sweet and smoky seasoning.
- Add the salmon to the grill or grill pan, skin side down, and cook covered for 5-6 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through and flakes easily. Flip the salmon to flesh side down and grill long enough for grill marks to form. Remove the salmon from the grill and let rest for 2-3 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl, gently stir the cucumbers, red onion, cilantro, mango, avocados, feta cheese, sweet and smoky seasoning, and lime juice together until combined.
- Assemble the quinoa salmon bowls: divide the quinoa between 4 large bowls. Top with equal amounts of cucumber mango salad, shredded cabbage, and sriracha mayo (if desired). Serve hot!
- Storage: Leftovers keep covered in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. They do not freeze well.
- Sriracha Mayonnaise: To make sriracha mayo, stir together the following in a small bowl and season to taste with additional sriracha and salt:
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2-4 teaspoons sriracha
- ½ teaspoon lemon juice