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TikTok's Salmon Rice Bowl Recipe Is Everywhere—Here's How to Make It Sustainably

Want to try Emily Mariko's TikTok famous salmon rice bowl? Here's how to shop for salmon sustainably. Or, give it a vegan-friendly twist.

Written by
Kylie Fuller

With millions of views on TikTok, odds are you've seen the viral salmon rice bowl recipe. Created by lifestyle influencer Emily Mariko, the dish isn't just ridiculously easy—it's also a great way to use up leftovers before they go bad, keeping food waste out of the landfill.

So, what does this recipe entail? First, you take cooked salmon out of the fridge and flake it into small pieces in a bowl. Add a layer of leftover rice on top, then put an ice cube in the center. Cover and microwave it, allowing the ice cube to steam the rice to perfection—genius, right?

After it's heated up, add some flavor with a little soy sauce, mayo, and Sriracha. Then here's the fun part: Mariko scoops the rice mixture into small, square pieces of seaweed, giving it some crunchiness.

Between the salmon rice bowl being that easy and flavorful, it's no wonder why it has completely captivated the world... dare we say even more so than baked feta pasta and cookie butter lattes. (Gasp!) With the dish's popularity, it's safe to assume salmon is flying off the shelves.

If you decide to try this recipe, use the tips below to ensure a more sustainable purchase.

How to Buy More Sustainable Salmon

Overfishing is a major problem for our waterways and marine life. It's difficult to regulate fishing, but it can lead to commercial extinction and the introduction of invasive species. For example, bigeye tuna is notoriously overfished, which has threatened the species' survival.

What about salmon? The Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program—the leading organization for ensuring the protection of marine life and combatting overfishing—says some types of salmon are more sustainable than others.

Currently, the Monterey Bay Aquarium recommends sticking with U.S. wild-caught salmon, as over 90% of U.S. production is eco-certified. When looking for these certifications, check for salmon certified by the Marine Stewardship Council or Aquaculture Stewardship Council.

If you're going to buy farmed salmon, the experts recommend sticking to options farmed in certain areas: Maine; New Zealand; British Columbia, Canada; the Faroe Islands; and Scotland’s Orkney Islands.

Something that also helps is buying in season. And, that happens to be summer. Why? Salmon fraud—which involves selling salmon that was not bred or caught sustainably—is far less common in summer. In fact, an Oceana study found salmon fraud only occurred 7% of the time in the summer, but increases to 40% in winter.

Pay close attention to prices, too, because sometimes you get what you pay for. With salmon, National Geographic says cheap options are often unsustainable. Whether it be using too many chemicals, not recirculating the water tanks in farmed situations, or fishing in less regulated areas, salmon that's far below the market price isn't something you probably want on your plate.

Try the Plant-Based Version

@healthygirlkitchen viral salmon + rice bowl….VEGANIZED 🍣🍚 ! @emilymariko do u approve? #salmonricebowl #salmon #rice #emilymariko #plantbased #salmonrice ♬ Smiling All Day Long - Upbeat Happy Music

While buying sustainable salmon is a great option for many, making a vegan version is a planet-friendly choice, too.

If you don't eat fish or simply want to try a plant-based alternative of the famous salmon rice bowl, Danielle Brown of Healthy Girl Kitchen shared a vegan version that swaps in tofu.

To make it, all you need to do is sauté tofu in teriyaki sauce and add some sesame seeds. Then proceed to craft your salmon bowl as usual. Mouth-watering lunch, here you come.