Weeknight Sushi Bowls

Last Thursday,
I posted the above photo on instagram stories and it almost blew up my phone. Not the actual photo, but the messages people sent in reaction. The one that sums it up the best is perhaps this: Sushi on a weeknight? I can’t decide if I really love you or really hate you right now. 

I’m writing to make sure you know that in this case — actually in all cases — love wins. These sushi bowls might’ve been the easiest meal I’ve made all year, and certainly among the most delicious. That’s because they were sort of cheater sushi bowls and required none of the precision and preparation that you probably think of when you think of sushi dinners. When I make poke, there is a method to seasoning the rice, and there are fancy ingredients to hunt down, like shiso; and when we make sushi rolls, well, there are actual rolls to roll, and so that usually happens on Saturday nights.

I didn’t mess around with any of that this time, especially since we were planning to binge-watch a few episodes of the thriller Fauda, and dinner could not have gone fast enough. Earlier in the day, in between appointments, I found myself in the same neighborhood as my favorite Asian market (indeed, having access to one is the hardest part of the recipe), where I tossed some sushi-grade salmon and pickled ginger into my basket. I had everything else at home, including the ponzu and the seasoned rice vinegar, which I placed on the kitchen table, as if they were bottles of ketchup and mustard, alongside bowls of rice and a pile of green toppings that I prepared while the rice cooked. Done.

Salmon Sushi Bowls

2 cups brown sushi rice
3/4 pound sushi grade salmon, cut into bite-size cubes as shown
2 avocados, sliced (we used one because not everyone at the table likes them in sushi bowls; also here’s a good video tutorial for pretty slices)
1 bunch scallions (white and light green parts), chopped
2 Japanese cucumbers, sliced
1 cup shelled edamame beans
Ponzu sauce (citrus-spiked soy sauce)
Furikake (dried seaweed/fish/sesame seasoning)
Seasoned rice wine vinegar
Pickled ginger (optional)

Prepare sushi rice according to package directions. While it cooks, prepare the remainder of your ingredients and lay out on a platter as shown. Spoon rice into bowls and have diners customize their bowls as desired, finishing with a drizzle of ponzu, a splash of vinegar, and furikake.

P.S. The peanut sauce shown in the photo is the sauce from this recipe. As you know, sometimes I like to drizzle it on steamed spinach with sesame seeds. (Any leftover sauce gets tossed with noodles the next night.)

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The Japanese call these bowls chirashi. My husband and I are big fans of DALS. We’re both Amherst class 95.


That looks delicious, I can’t wait to try it! What a genius idea, and a nice break from all the heavy foods that seem to be required by this awful winter weather.

Tess Williams

What is your go-to Asian market? All of the sushi-grade fish I can seem to find in NYC is insanely expensive, like $19/pound!!


Yeah sadly it seems that’s just how much sushi-grade fish costs. I guess that explains why sushi itself is always so expensive!


“Sushi grade” is a marketing term that is not regulated. At all.
For raw high quality salmon H mart in koreatown on 32nd street has high turnover and sells to a discerning customer base. Otherwise go to the lobster place in chelsea market, citarella, or eataly. NOT whole foods and certainly not the markets in chinatown.


This looks great! We loved Fauda, too and went straight into watching Casa de Papel after it. It’s amazing!!


This ticked all the boxes—walked in the door at 5:15, eating at 6, 3 (!!!) veggies my kids like, and felt like a treat on a weeknight for the grown ups. Thank you!


Sushi bowls are known as chirashi-zushi in Japan. “Chirashi” refers to something that is sprinkled randomly over the surface. Sushi can be anything that is on sushi rice. It does not have to be raw fish. Cooked items are used as well. And sushi rice is seasoned with a kind of dressing made of vinegar and some salt etc, etc. It is really important to have good seasoned sushi rice.

A lot of chirashi sushi in Japan is made at home using drained canned tuna and boiled shrimp! It would be considered a special treat, a special lunch or a special dinner. Various veggies like cucumbers are used raw. And those veggies that need cooking like green beans are indeed cooked and cooled before use. Thin egg “omelettes” are made, cooled, then sliced very very thin. Shiso leaves, thinly sliced nori seaweed are strewn over the top. A small portion of Ikura may be strewn over the top to add a gorgeous garnish!

But anything that you like can be used.