This weekend was restorative. Instead of back-to-back birthday parties (a normal occurrence with three children in school), we left the house only to buy groceries and wine. It was lazy in the sense of not checking much off our to-do lists, but comforting to stay home, invite friends over, and talk late into the evening. B.K. (that’s Before Kids), this rainy, long weekend is exactly the kind where we would have jumped into the car and gone for a long drive, destination unknown, probably in search of a good meal.
There’s something equally soothing about a noodle bowl. Growing up as a Jewish-American, I spent many a meal seated around large, round, communal tables in local Chinese restaurants. Jews and Asian people share a special bond, after all. That bond being that we don’t celebrate Christmas or Easter and still need to eat…
Clean Asian flavors, like the ones found in this miso marinated salmon bowl, will therefore always be restorative to me.
I did a little research and it seems that marinating fish in miso is a traditional Japanese technique. Perhaps you’re thinking that the fish will be overwhelmingly salty, but the miso actually adds a mild sweetness. I’m telling you, these bowls can do no wrong. I’ve been craving them since I licked the last ones clean (is that how my youngest picked up the skill…?!), and nothing speaks louder to my love for a recipe than how quickly I plan to make it again.
Chewy udon, a hint of spice from the chiles, fistfuls of cilantro. If cozying up with a bowl of these noodles and miso salmon is not yet part of your weeklong meal plan, it’s time to rethink that menu.
What’s in these miso-marinated salmon bowls?
The star of this dish is the miso marinade for the salmon. It’s made with few ingredients, but packs in a lot of flavor. For the miso salmon marinade, you’ll need white miso paste, soy sauce, mirin, Sriracha, fresh ginger and garlic, pure maple syrup, and cornstarch.
And for the salmon bowls, you’ll need skin-on salmon fillets (the skin adds so much flavor!), honey, udon noodles, oil, broccolini, spinach, scallions, red chiles, fresh cilantro, and lime. These miso-marinated salmon bowls are filling but won’t leave you feeling weighed down.
How to make salmon bowls
You’ll first need to whisk together the marinade, and then let the salmon marinate in the fridge for 24 hours. I know, I know, it’s a long time to wait, but it results in the most flavorful miso salmon!
Once the salmon has marinated, place it skin-side down on a baking sheet and bake until it flakes easily with a fork. Save the marinade — you’ll use it in a bit! During the last few minutes the salmon is in the oven, drizzle honey over top. It caramelizes in the oven and contrasts beautifully with the red chiles.
While the salmon bakes, boil the udon noodles according to package instructions. In a wok or large skillet, heat a little oil and saute the broccolini in it. Pour in the marinade and cook until it begins to bubble, then stir in the noodles, scallions and spinach.
Once the fish is fully cooked, assemble the salmon bowls and garnish with fresh cilantro and lime.
Is there an udon noodle substitute I can use?
Yes, if you can’t find udon noodles at your grocery store, you can use thick-cut egg noodles instead. In general, you want to use a noodle that’s slightly chewy when cooked and that isn’t too thin.
Can you eat salmon skin?
It’s the best part of the salmon! Salmon skin crisps up when cooked and is incredibly flavorful. Definitely eat the skin on this miso-marinated salmon!
Tips for making miso-marinated salmon bowls
If you like a lot of heat, feel free to add more Sriracha to the miso marinade. If you’re making this meal for kids, use your best judgement when amping up the spice level.
Also, make sure to dissolve the cornstarch in a little water before adding it to the marinade. If you skip this step, you’ll wind up with chunks of cornstarch in the miso marinade.
I expected these miso salmon bowls would be best warm, but both my husband and I preferred them at room temperature, making this the perfect work lunch or make-ahead meal for a group.
If you make my miso-marinated salmon bowls, please let me know by leaving a review below!
For additional easy seafood recipes, check out the following:
Miso-Marinated Salmon Bowls
- 2 Tbsp white miso paste
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup mirin
- 1 Tbsp sriracha
- 1 Tbsp fresh ginger (minced)
- 2 garlic cloves (minced)
- 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
- 2 tsp cornstarch
Salmon and noodles
- 4 6-ounce skin-on salmon fillets
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 12 oz udon Japanese wheat noodles, (or egg noodles)
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
- 7 oz Broccolini or broccoli florets
- 4 oz spinach
- 2 scallions (thinly sliced)
- 1 or 2 red chiles (finely sliced)
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro
- 1 lime (cut into wedges)
Marinate the salmon:
- In a medium bowl, whisk together all the marinade ingredients except the cornstarch until combined. In a small bowl, stir the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water until dissolved, then whisk it into the marinade.
Make the salmon and noodles:
- Place the salmon in a casserole and top with the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for 24 hours, turning the fish once or twice.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the salmon skin-side down on the baking sheet, reserving the marinade. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the fish is easily flaked with a fork. With about 5 minutes of time remaining, drizzle the honey over the salmon. The honey will caramelize.
- Meanwhile, when the salmon is about halfway done cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the egg noodles according to the package directions, drain, and set aside.
- Heat a large wok or pan over medium heat and add the vegetable oil. When the oil is hot add the Broccolini and cook for 2 minutes, keeping it moving the entire time. Pour the reserved marinade in the wok and bring to a simmer. Add the noodles and give everything a toss to coat well. Stir in the spinach, scallions, and chiles and give the pan one last toss.
- Portion the noodles into four serving bowls and top with the salmon fillets. Serve with fresh cilantro and lime wedges.
*Recipe adapted from Dennis Prescott’s Eat Delicious.