For this week’s installment of nourishing recipes from my wonderful postpartum doula, she’s showing us one of the most popular dishes; a salmon rice bowl. Yes plz (I make this at least once a week now)! Written with love from my doula, Stephanie Matthias, herself:
When thinking about one’s overall diet, I think a great place to start is with color – if you’re eating whole foods and your plate is colorful, you’re setting yourself up to get a greater variety of vitamins and nutrients which is what your body needs to perform at its best i.e. heal faster. Not only is this dish just so pretty to look at, it covers almost all the colors of the rainbow.Sweet potato is great for helping to balance women’s hormones, salmon adds a nice amount of fat and protein, spinach is a good source of vitamin k and a, carrots and spinach both provide folate (which is important to replenish postpartum, particularly if you plan on having another child), and sesame seeds help to protect heart health and balance hormones.
If you’re short on time during the day (I.e. your partner is back to work and you’re often home alone with your baby) you can always prepare the components ahead of time and store them in the fridge. Just set everything out on the counter for about 30 minutes before eating so you’re not consuming anything super cold in those first few weeks (a big Chinese medicine postpartum no-no that I’m 100% on board with).
Recipe: Salmon Rice Bowl
ghee (Eat Good Fat is my favorite brand because it has the best flavor)
2 medium sized purple sweet potatoes peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch coins
2 pieces salmon
Coarse sea salt (my favorite is Maldon)
1/2 bunch asparagus about 6-8 stalks, bottom of stems snapped rather than cut
2 carrots washed and peeled
1 10 oz box pre-washed spinach
1/2 cup118 ml short grain brown rice (Lundberg is my favorite brand)
1 tsp toasted white sesame seeds
1 tsp black sesame seeds
1 Tbsp chopped dry roasted peanuts
1 lime juice
3 tsp sesame oil
4 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp coconut sugar
1 1/2 tsp tamari or soy sauce
1. Get started with the rice first since that takes almost an hour to make. Cook according to package instructions (I prefer to use a rice cooker because it’s so much easier).
2. Preheat your oven to 400 F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper for the salmon. Place the salmon on the parchment, drizzle with a generous amount of avocado oil and then season with a very generous pinch of sea salt for each piece. At this point, I find it really helpful to get out some small prep bowls so that I can have all my bowl components ready for assembly later on.
3. Heat a large sauté pan that has a well-fitting lid. Once it’s warm, add a tablespoon of ghee and coat the bottom of the whole pan. With the heat on medium, place all of your sweet potato pieces in one layer in the pan and cover with the lid. I tend to leave these cooking while I prep my other ingredients and then just lift the lid to check on them periodically. Once you see that they’re softening up, remove the lid and let them cook more on each side so that they brown a tiny bit. Once they’re soft all the way through and have a nice light browning on each side, pull the pan from the heat and leave the potato pieces inside.
4. Heat another pan for the asparagus. Once it’s warmed, add a teaspoon of ghee, coat the pan and then add the asparagus. The heat should be high enough that the asparagus starts to make a crackle sound. Sprinkle with a very generous pinch of salt while you’re cooking them. Once they are slightly tender and bright green, turn the heat off and transfer them to a prep bowl.
5. Using the same pan, warm another tablespoon of ghee and add the whole box of spinach. Cook on medium, continuously tossing the leave with tongs so they all get exposed to the heat and cook down. Once all the spinach is cooked, turn off the heat and leave the spinach in the pan.
6. Prep your carrots by getting out a box grater (however, any kind of grater will work) and grating both carrots. Set aside in one of your prep bowls.
7. In a small bowl, combine dressing ingredients – fresh lime juice, sesame oil, fish sauce, coconut sugar and tamari – and whisk to combine.
8. When your rice has about 15 minutes to go, put the salmon in the oven and set a timer for 5 minutes. At 5 minutes, turn your oven to broil and broil the salmon for about 3-4 minutes (depending on the thickness of the pieces), keeping a close eye on it so it doesn’t burn. You want the salmon to have a nice, lightly browned color on top.
9. To assemble, start with a generous few spoonfuls of rice on the bottom of the bowl. I like to arrange the various ingredients around the edge of the bowl, like a clock, and then put the salmon across the middle. Add a nest of shredded carrot, a big pile of spinach, some layered sweet potato slices and then the asparagus. At this point I usually drizzle about a teaspoon of dressing over the veg and rice. Place the salmon piece on top of it all, top with the sesame seeds and peanuts. Drizzle the whole bowl with another tablespoon plus one teaspoon of the dressing.