Salmon Donburi Bowl with Sesame Kale Salad and Pickled Vegetables

Salmon Donburi Bowl with Sesame Kale Salad and Pickled Vegetables
Photo by Kelley Jordan

We’ve taken a favorite Japanese staple, unadon (eel rice bowl), and given it a little twist. The kale salad is not traditional, but it is pretty tasty! And salmon stands in for the eel. Keta is fairly lean — much leaner than eel — and can dry out if broiled until the glaze is darkly caramelized.

Salmon Donburi Bowl with Sesame Kale Salad and Pickled Vegetables | Sitka Salmon Shares

Prep time: 30 min
Total time: 30 min
Serves: 2


  • 1 ½ cups sushi rice
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 large washed and dried kale leaves, stems and inner ribs removed
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang or sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 portions keta salmon, pin bones removed


  1. Combine the rice, 2 cups of water, and ½ teaspoon salt in a small saucepan and let sit for 5 minutes. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over low heat until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed, 20 minutes. Keep covered until ready to serve.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the cucumbers, carrot, vinegar, sugar, and ½ teaspoon salt and let sit while you prepare the rest of the meal.
  3. In another bowl, tear the kale into bite size pieces. Add the neutral oil, ½ teaspoon sesame oil, 2 teaspoons sesame seeds, and a pinch of salt and gently massage to wilt the leaves. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, gochujang, and 1 tablespoon water.
  4. Preheat the broiler, set the rack 6 inches from the heat source and line a baking sheet with foil. In a small bowl, combine the mirin, soy sauce, and remaining ½ teaspoon sesame oil. Set the fish on the baking sheet, skin-side down, and season with salt. Brush with half of the soy sauce mixture and broil until the fish is firm and just beginning to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Brush with the remaining soy mixture and broil until lightly glazed, 2 to 3 minutes longer.
  5. Spoon the rice into bowls and top with salmon, pickled vegetables, and kale salad. Drizzle with some of the pickle dressing and spicy mayo, and garnish with the remaining sesame seeds.

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Pro Tips

Pair it Up

Pair it Up

Match the nutty flavors of toasted sesame seeds with a crisp, aromatic Austrian riesling. Or keep to the theme and choose your favorite honjozo sake or Japanese-style white ale.

Spice it Up

Spice it Up

Add a generous pinch of Korean pepper flakes (gochugaru) or crushed red chili flakes to the cucumbers for a quick kimchi-like pickle.


Change it Up

Change it Up

Wrap any leftover rice, salmon, and kale in sheets of nori (Japanese seaweed) for easy sushi rolls.

Lighten it Up

Lighten it Up

Substituting short grain brown rice for white sushi rice adds texture, nutty flavor, and fiber.


*The information displayed is our analysis of the recipe based on its ingredients and preparation, and should not be considered a substitute for professional nutrition advice.

Salmon Donburi Bowl with Sesame Kale Salad and Pickled Vegetables Recipe | Sitka Salmon Shares

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