This vegan salmon bowl hits all the right spots! Scrumptious, simple, easy, and super yum with mayo and then scorched vegan cheese.
I love wrapping tofu with nori/seaweed to create the seafood taste. I first shared this method for my Vegan Fish Head noodle soup a few years back and loved it so much. This time, I marinated the tofu first, then pan-fry with sauce before adding the nori. This prevents the nori from shrinking too much during cooking.
Vegan Salmon Bowl Cooking Tips
- Types of rice – I personally love short grain or sushi rice for this bowl. However, other grains such as brown or Jasmine works too.
- Which tofu to use – I used firm tofu that were simply drained and pat dry. No press needed. If you look at the video, you’ll notice that my tofu slab looks like ‘sponge’ with holes. Those gems are needed to absorb the marinade. Use a spatula to transfer the tofu to avoid breaking them, if your tofu is softer. Yes, extra firm is great, you just need to marinate the tofu longer.
- Sauce – I have 2 types of sauces here, one for marinate and one for basting or seasoning. The marinade is a simple mix of soy sauce and kelp or dashi powder. For seasoning, I used mirin, hot water mix with kelp powder, soy sauce, sugar, and maple syrup. Please note that I used light soy sauce which is generally less salty with a touch of sweetness. Adjust the saltiness if other soy sauce is used. If you like teriyaki sauce, then check out this recipe.
- Is cheese necessary? It’s not, but it does adds an umami taste to the vegan salmon. If you don’t have a blow torch, you may place the cooked and wrapped tofu slabs on a baking pan, then top with vegan cheese and broil until it melts. This will also make the tofu drier though, so I suggest that you do this step quickly.
How to Make this Delicious Bowl
First, drain out the tofu water, then pat dry with a towel. Cut the block into 3 equal slabs or about 1.5cm thick. Place soy sauce and kelp powder in a pan. Marinate tofu (rubbing all sides with sauce) for about 15 minutes.
Next, make the sauce. Place the mirin, hot water with kelp water, soy sauce, sugar, and maple syrup in a bowl. Stir to combine.
Then, make the spicy mayo sauce by combining 3 tablespoons of vegan mayo with 1 tablespoon of Sriracha or chili sauce. Cut a nori sheet into 3 long strips, set aside.
Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat and add a drizzle of oil. Lower the marinated slab onto the hot pan. Cook in batches if needed. Pan-fry until a thin crust forms on both sides.
Add 2-3 spoonfuls of sauce, and move the tofu around the pan to catch as much sauce as possible.
TIP – What to do with the leftover sauce? Don’t worry, you can cook it further until thicken and drizzle it on top of rice (tastes just like unagi sauce). Or save it for other marinades.
Once the tofu turns deep golden or when it has absorbs all the sauce, remove it from the pan. Place it on a nori strip and wrap around it.
To serve, scoop rice into a bowl and top with furikake (rice seasoning made from seaweed and sesame seeds). Place tofu slab on the rice, add a few squeezes of spicy mayo, and a handful of vegan cheese.
Using a blow torch, melt the cheese, then garnish with chopped scallions. Serve warm.
If you try this recipe, I would love to hear your feedback and see your beautiful re-creation. Leave me a comment, rate it, and tag @woon.heng and #woonheng to your photos on Instagram or Facebook. Happy cooking, friends!
Vegan Salmon Bowl made from Tofu
- Cooked grains of choice
- 14 oz firm tofu cut into 3 slabs
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon dashi powder or kelp powder or mushrooms seasoning
- 1 Nori sheet – cut into 3 strips
- 3 tablespoons mirin
- ⅓ cup of hot water mix with 1 teaspoon kelp powder or use kombu dashi stock
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons vegan mayo
- 1 tablespoon chili sauce or sriracha
- Furikake rice seasoning made from nori and sesame seeds
- Drain tofu, then pat dry with a towel. Slice into 3 rectangle slabs.
- Mix 1 tablespoon soy sauce and kelp powder in a pan (big enough to fit all the tofu).
- Marinate tofu for 15 minutes (rubbing the surface with the marinade).
- To make the sauce, combine mirin, hot water with kelp powder, soy sauce, maple syrup and sugar in a bowl. Stir to combine.
- To create a spicy mayo, mix together vegan mayo and chili sauce until incorporated.
- Next, heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add about a tablespoon of oil. Carefully slide marinated tofu onto the hot pan. Cook in batches if needed, adding more when necessary.
- Pan-fry until tofu is golden brown (the larger surface). Add 2-3 spoons of sauce. Gently push the tofu around the pan so it catches all the sauce.
- Meanwhile, place a nori strip on a plate. Lay the cooked slab on top and fold the nori needs over.
- Place cooked rice in a bowl and sprinkle with furikake. Next, top with vegan salmon, drizzle with spicy mayo, and top with a handful of vegan cheese. Using a hand torch, melt the cheese and garnish with chopped scalions. Serve warm.
I’ve eaten a lot of tofu in my 20+ years as a vegetarian and this is the absolute best! I left off the cheese because I’ve lost the taste for it but followed everything else. Thank you! Looking forward to trying more of your recipes.
This recipe made my day! I miss eating salmon and this was every bit as good as the real thing (or better when you consider I don’t feel gross afterwards.) Quick and easy to make and soooo delicious! Craving satisfied! I couldn’t find kelp powder so I just put a nori sheet in the blender. Not sure that’s quite the same but it worked for me. Will definitely put this on the recipe rotation!
We loved this. Pretty easy. I cut my tofu wrong way so it was thick and still worked out. Couldn’t find kelp powder so used chicken stock flavouring.
I ran to make this as soon as I came across the recipe. I was not disappointed. This dish is not overly complicated, it’s quick, and full of flavour. I’ll definitely be making this again!