This salmon grain bowl is perfect for the day after your 4th of July BBQ when you have some leftover grilled vegetables, though fresh grilled kohlrabi, baby bok choy, and cucumber are totally worth it. You're missing out if you haven't tried grilled cucumber! Paired with crispy skin pan-seared salmon over a bed of flavorful bulgur wheat and you have a complete meal. A little bit of lemon juice, salt, and ground white pepper will enhance the natural flavors of all your ingredients.
click below to watch how to make a salmon bulgur grain bowl
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This cooking video shows you:
- how to pan-sear salmon
- how to cook bulgur
- how to assemble a salmon grain bowl with grill vegetables (cucumber, kohlrabi, and baby bok choy)
main ingredients at a glance
INGREDIENTS YOU'LL NEED FOR THIS RECIPE
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup bulgur wheat
- 2 cups low sodium chicken stock
- kosher salt
- 2 medium carrots
- 6 ounces baby bok choy
- 12 ounces kohlrabi
- 1 english cucumber or 2 persian cucumbers
- 1 lemon
- canola oil
- 12 ounces salmon fillet (portioned into 3 ounce fillets)
- ground white pepper
how to make this salmon grain bowl with grilled vegetables - step by step
Grain bowls tend to have a few different components, but that's also what makes them so great (they're customizable and make a complete meal)!
I'm going to walk through each component below (the grain, grilling vegetables, and cooking salmon). If you are a more experienced cook or you're just in a hurry, jump straight to the recipe.
how to cook bulgur
Bulgur is a whole grain that is both easy to cook and has a delicious nutty flavor. It only takes about 12 minutes to cook and has a slightly chewy bite to it that makes eating bulgur in grain bowls and salads quite satisfying.
pro tip: cook bulgur with lightly seasoned low sodium chicken stock or vegetable stock to give it extra flavor. This is an awesome way to cook any whole grain (farro, barley, and wheat berries to name a few).
Heat a small pot on medium heat and add 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Toast 1 cup of bulgur in the heated pot for 10-15 seconds until fragrant, then add 2 cups of low sodium chicken stock.
Stir, allow to heat up to boil, and turn down to simmer for 12 minutes until bulgur is cooked and most of the liquid is absorbed.
note: be careful to not overcook the bulgur or you'll end up with a more soggy texture like instant oatmeal.
bulgur substitutes that would work for this recipe:
- brown rice
how to prepare the vegetables for grilling
Prepare your vegetables while the bulgur is simmering.
Peel and julienne 2 medium carrots (photo 1). I love using this julienne peeler (*affiliate link) to make this super easy.
Then place julienne carrots into 3 cups of ice water (photo 2). This gives the carrot pieces a pretty curl and helps the cut carrots stay crunchy.
grilled baby bok choy
Wash and quarter 6 ounces of baby bok choy lengthwise (photos 3 - 4) and set aside.
Tear off kohlrabi stems, cut off the top, and cut the fibrous skin with a chefs knife (photos 5 - 7).
Then cut kohlrabi into ½ inch thick slices (photo 8).
You may be asking, "what is kohlrabi?"
Kohlrabi is also known as German turnip and is a part of the cabbage family. It tastes like a cross between cabbage and broccoli and is wonderfully crispy and sweet when grilled or sautéed.
It can also be eaten raw when thinly sliced.
Cut 1 English cucumber in half and cut the ends off (photo 9), then cut each half down the middle lengthwise (photo 10).
You won't regret trying grilled cucumber if you haven't had it before.
The heat from grilling enhances the juiciness of cucumbers while you still get the crunch.
Heat your grill or grill pan until smoking hot, then oil the grill. I use the Lodge grill pan (*affiliate link) when I'm only grilling a few items.
Grill the prepared baby bok choy, kohlrabi, and cucumber for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove from the grill and season with salt and fresh lemon juice.
pro tip: I use a rolled up old kitchen towel to oil my grill. When the grill is hot, use tongs to dip the rolled up towel into a container of canola oil and rub it over the hot grates until they are shiny. This will help prevent the vegetables from sticking.
how to pan-sear salmon and get delicious crispy skin
Have your local seafood market fishmonger cut 3-ounce portions of salmon fillets. I like to buy wild caught salmon when it's available, usually between May to September.
Remove the salmon from your refrigerator at least 20 minutes before you're ready to cook it. This allows the salmon to cook more evenly when it hits a hot pan.
Season both sides of salmon fillets with ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt and 1 small pinch of ground white pepper right before cooking.
Heat a 10-inch non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil when the pan is hot (starts to slightly smoke). It's important to add the salmon fillets after the pan is hot. This prevents the salmon from sticking and gives you crispy skin.
Sear salmon fillets skin-side down first, then lower heat to medium and allow 80% of the fish to cook. You can tell by the change of color from the side of the fillets. The color will become opaque from bottom to top as the fish cooks.
Flip the fillets once the skin becomes golden brown and crispy (about 2 minutes depending on the thickness). Cook until the center of the thickest portion of the fillet is warm (60ºC/145ºF).
Season with fresh lemon juice and remove from the pan.
how do you know when salmon is done cooking if you don't have a thermometer?
pro tip: use a cake tester to test the thickest portion and then touch the tip of the tester on the skin right below your lower lip (it should be warm to touch).
salmon grain bowl assembly
Divide cooked bulgur evenly between 4 bowls. Top each bowl with cooked salmon, skin-side up, grilled vegetables, and julienned carrots.
COOKING WITH KIDS - what can kids help with?
- help wash vegetables
- placing julienned carrots into ice bath and watch them curl
- squeeze lemon on the grilled vegetables
- help assemble the grain bowl
This recipe seems like it has a lot of components, but it's actually quite easy to make. It only takes 30 minutes to make if you already have leftover grilled vegetables and it works especially well for weekend meal preps!
Don't have already grilled veggies? No worries. You can sauté the prepared vegetables in a hot pan before cooking your salmon. This will save you from one more cookware to wash.
Let me know how you like grilled cucumber in the comments below. I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Happy cooking! ~ Cin
more summer recipes
- simple watermelon, cucumber, and mint salad
- sweet and savory sautéed green beans with basil
- turkey zucchini meatballs with easy fresh tomato sauce
- not your ordinary vegan tacos with roasted cauliflower, lentils, and cherries
- browse all summer recipes
- charlie bird's farro salad by ina garten
Please give this recipe a star rating below and leave a comment. I would appreciate it so much and would love to hear about your experience or if you put your own twist on the recipe. Show off your results by taking a photo and tagging @thesoundofcooking on Instagram. I would love to share what you come up with!
Disclosure: The recipe below may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon
crispy skin salmon grain bowl with grilled vegetables
the sound of cooking video
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and julienned
- 3 cups ice water
- 6 ounces baby bok choy, quartered lengthwise
- 12 ounces kohlrabi, peeled and cut into ½ inch thick slices
- 1 english cucumber, halved lengthwise (or 2 persian cucumbers)
- ¼ teaspoon salt, kosher
- ¼ lemon, juiced
- Heat a small pot on medium heat and add 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Toast 1 cup of bulgur in the heated pot for 10-15 seconds until fragrant, then add 2 cups of low sodium chicken stock.
- Stir, allow to heat up to boil, and turn down to simmer for 12 minutes until bulgur is cooked and most of the liquid is absorbed.
- Place julienne carrots into 3 cups of ice water. This gives the carrot pieces a pretty curl and helps the cut carrots stay crunchy.
- Prepare vegetables while bulgur is simmering. Heat grill until smoking hot, then oil grill.
- Grill prepared bok choy, kohlrabi, and cucumber for 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove from grill, season salt and fresh lemon juice.
- Season both sides of salmon fillets with ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt and 1 small pinch of ground white pepper right before cooking.
- Heat a 10 inch pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil when the pan is hot (starts to slightly smoke). It's important to add the salmon fillets after the pan is hot. This prevents the salmon from sticking and gives you crispy skin.
- Sear salmon fillets skin-side down first, then lower heat to medium and allow 80% of the fish to cook. The color will become opaque from bottom to top as the fish cooks. Flip the fillets once the skin becomes golden brown and crispy (about 2 minutes depending on the thickness). Cook until the center of the thickest portion of the fillet is warm (60ºC/145ºF). Season with fresh lemon juice and remove from the pan.
bulgur grain bowl assembly:
- Divide cooked bulgur evenly between 4 bowls. Top each bowl with cooked salmon, skin-side up, grilled vegetables, and julienned carrots.
cooking equipment and pantry items used in this salmon grain bowl recipe
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