Entree, Seafood

Salmon Noodle Bowls With Spicy Peanut Sauce

These salmon noodle bowls with spicy peanut sauce are addictively delicious. Ground salmon balls are coated in panko crumbs and fried in coconut oil that is crispy, delicate, and full of Asian-inspired flavors. Brown rice ramen noodles are nestled over a crunchy slaw and drenched with a lip-smacking peanut sauce.

Until a few years ago, I never had to buy salmon, halibut, or shrimp! I know…lucky me, right? Unless, of course, you hate seafood. My father’s love of fishing (Mexico, Canada, or Alaska) always supplied me with a freezer full.

However, I was literally at a loss when I had to start buying it and where to buy the freshest and most local fish.
Now, if you’re not a huge salmon fan, maybe because of the taste and texture, or never really feeling confident in cooking it, this recipe is for you!

The little salmon “meatballs” are flavorful and incredibly moist (sorry, I hate that word too).
It’s incredibly easy to put together and can be made ahead, so all you have to do is fry up the salmon balls and assemble everything in a bowl. All in all, it’s a creative and fun way to eat salmon!

And if you’re reading this and wondering, does it matter if I use fresh, canned, or leftover cooked salmon? Yes, yes, and yes! They all are great options for various recipes, but fresh raw salmon is the only choice for these little gems.

Here’s Why You Should Use Fresh Raw Salmon

  1. Because these salmon balls are small, the raw salmon works perfectly to hold everything together. ( think meatballs). Using canned or leftover cooked salmon will undoubtedly leave you with a mess (trying to hold everything together) unless you pulverize it, and that will leave you with a tough, dry salmon ball.
  2. The taste and texture! Using raw salmon will create a more tender texture. For years, I always made salmon patties as a way to use up leftover cooked salmon filets. They were good but a little too dried out, and I didn’t want to keep adding more egg or mayo to offset that. One day, I experimented with raw…and never looked back. lol.

Ingredient Notes And Substitutions

Ingredients for salmon noodle bolws

Salmon ~ Fresh! Not canned or already cooked. And I highly recommend you choose fresh over farmed salmon if possible.

Green onions ~ add a nice mild flavor, and because the salmon balls cook so fast, the green onions don’t need to cook. You could substitute onions; however, you’ll need to chop them very fine so they can cook and soften. You can also add or substitute basil or cilantro.

Egg ~ acts as a binder and adds extra moisture.

Breadcrumbs ~ are also a binder and add body and texture

Garlic & ginger ~ Fresh, NOT ground. I often use the fresh frozen cubes as a little time-saving option. They also sell the fresh ginger and garlic paste in tubes and can be found in the produce section of your local markets.

Chile-garlic paste ~ optional. It adds a nice spicy but subtle kick but is optional. You can substitute sriracha.

example of salmon balls being scoooped

What’s the Difference, Farmed Or Fresh Salmon?

How the salmon is sourced makes a difference on many levels: taste, texture, nutritional content, and environmental concerns. Here are some key differences, but if you would like to dive deeper and learn a little more, here is a great article, or this one.

And I have to say it...Fish shouldn’t taste or smell fishy, but rather, taste and smell like the sea.

  • Fresh (wild-caught) is considered to be the healthiest and is naturally rich in omega-3 fatty acids. It has a deep red/pink color, has a less direct environmental impact, and has a richer, and more robust flavor.
  • Wild-caught salmon refers to fish that are caught in their natural habitat—oceans, seas, or rivers. These salmon are not raised in captivity.
  • Farmed Salmon. While farmed salmon has omega-3 fatty acids, it also contains large amounts of omega-6, which overshadow the omega-3s, lessening the health benefits.
  • Farmed salmon also requires synthetic additives in order to become pink in color. Without this dye, farmed salmon would be grey. It is milder in flavor, with a softer and less firm texture. It is also said to have less environmental impact and be more sustainable.

There are a lot of opinions and controversy regarding farmed versus wild-caught salmon, so it all boils down to personal choices.

Different Ways To Serve This Recipe And Tips

I love how versatile these little salmon balls are!

  • Appetizers ~ make them a little smaller and serve with the peanut sauce for dipping.
  • Make salmon patties ~ instead of balls, form the salmon into patties. Fry them up (or air fry them) and serve alongside a salad, or make salmon burgers….my fave!

Make Ahead And Storage

Streamline your mealtime with a little prep!

  • Make the peanut sauce as instructed and store it in a sealed jar or airtight container in the refrigerator. It can be refrigerated for up to a week.
  • Make the salmon balls. Once you have rolled them into balls, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place them in the freezer for about 30 minutes to an hour. Then, store them in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Or in the refrigerator for up to 1 day before you want to cook them.
Peanut dressing being poured over salmon noodle bowls

How To Make Salmon Noodle Bowls With Spicy Peanut Sauce

Here is a quick run-through! Scroll down to find the printable recipe card with complete ingredients and instructions.

  1. For the salmon balls. Mince or grind the fresh salmon fillets. You can use a food processor or a sharp knife to do this.
  2. Combine the ground salmon with green onions, garlic, ginger, egg, salt, pepper, and chile-garlic paste, and mix until all the ingredients are well mixed. Add the breadcrumbs and stir to combine.
  3. Using a one-inch cookie scoop or your hands, form the salmon into balls and place them on parchment paper. You can make the salmon ball as big or as little as you like. Add panko crumbs to a plate or bowl and gently roll the salmon balls around until evenly coated.
  4. Heat the coconut oil in a pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, carefully place the salmon meatballs in the pan, allowing them to cook until golden brown on all sides.

For the spicy peanut sauce & Noodles

  1. Add the peanut butter, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, lime juice, honey, and chile-garlic paste to a small food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Set aside or place in refrigerator until ready to use.
  2. Cook the noodles per package instructions. After you drain the noodles, add a few tablespoons of the peanut sauce. This not only keeps the noodles from sticking together but also gives a boost of flavor before adding them to the slaw.

Assemble

  1. On a plate or bowl, layer the slaw on the bottom, followed by the peanut noodles and salmon balls, and finally, drizzle or smother with the peanut sauce.
Print
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Salmon Noodle Bowls With Spicy Peanut Sauce


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  • Author: Teri Wallingford
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 24 servings 1x

Description

These salmon noodle bowls with spicy peanut sauce are addictively delicious. Ground fresh salmon balls are coated in panko crumbs and fried in coconut oil that is crispy, delicate, and full of Asian-inspired flavors. Brown rice ramen noodles are nestled over a crunchy slaw and drenched with a lip-smacking peanut sauce.


Ingredients

Units Scale

For the spicy peanut sauce ( or use a store-bought) Makes about 3/4, so double this if you LOVE more sauce!

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 12 teaspoons sriracha or red Thai chile paste. Depending on heat preference
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice, about 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 12 tablespoons brown sugar. Depending on your preference for sweetness

For the noodles

  • Choose any noodle you prefer. I used a brown rice ramen noodle. Pad Thai, udon, or glass noodles all work great.
  • 12 bags of an Asian salad kit

For the salmon balls

  • 1.5 pound fresh salmon, rinsed and skin removed. (wild-caught for maximum flavor if possible)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic. (prepared fresh garlic paste in tubes works great)
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger. (prepared fresh ginger paste in tubes works great)
  • 2 green onions finely chopped
  • 12 teaspoons sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs (more if needed)


Instructions

For the spicy peanut sauce

  1. Add the peanut butter, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, lime juice, honey, brown sugar, and chile-garlic paste to a small food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Set aside or place in refrigerator until ready to use the salmon balls.

Cook the noodles

  1. Cook the noodles according to the packaged instructions.
  2. After you drain the noodles, add a few tablespoons of the peanut sauce. This not only keeps the noodles from sticking together but also gives a boost of flavor before adding them to the slaw. Set aside until ready to assemble.

For the salmon balls

  1. Begin by finely mincing or grinding fresh salmon fillets. You can use a food processor or a sharp knife to do this. The goal is to achieve a consistent, medium-fine texture.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the ground salmon with green onions, garlic, ginger, egg, salt, pepper, and chile-garlic paste, and mix until all the ingredients are well combined. The mixture will be wet, but that’s okay-
  3. Add the breadcrumbs and stir to combine. The mixture will come together as the breadcrumbs get absorbed. Be careful not to overmix, as this can result in dense salmon balls. Let it sit for a few minutes, and stir again to see if you need to add a little more breadcrumbs. The mixture should hold together ( think meatballs ).
  4. Using a one-inch cookie scoop or your hands, form the salmon into balls and place them on parchment paper. You can make the salmon ball as big or as little as you like. At this point, you can reserve only the amount you want to use and freeze the rest. See the note below for storage.
  5. Add panko crumbs to a plate or bowl and gently roll the salmon balls around until evenly coated.
  6. Heat the coconut oil in a pan over medium heat. You’ll want about  1/4 to 1/2 inch- they don’t need to be submerged in oil.
  7. Once the oil is hot, carefully place the salmon meatballs in the pan, allowing them to cook until golden brown on all sides. Remove, and place on paper towels.

Assemble 

TIP: Use the dressing packet that comes with the salad kit to dress the slaw before you assemble!

  1. On a plate or bowl, layer the slaw on the bottom, followed by the peanut noodles and salmon balls, and finally, drizzle or smother with the peanut sauce.

Notes

* Storage & Make Ahead 

  • Make the salmon balls. Once you have rolled them into balls, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place them in the freezer for about 30 minutes to an hour. Then, store them in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Or in the refrigerator for up to 1 day before you want to cook them.

For the peanut sauce

  • Make the peanut sauce as instructed and store it in a sealed jar or airtight container in the refrigerator. It can be refrigerated for up to a week.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 7
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: Thai Inspired

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