Thai Basil Pesto Salmon Bowl

By Jess

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If you’re looking for a great paleo recipe that makes a satisfying meal and will leave you feeling completely energized, you’ve come to the right place. This Thai pesto and salmon bowl recipe truly has it all; a zesty Thai style pesto made from scratch, a paleo-approved rice replacement in the form of cauliflower florets processed into ‘rice’, a great variety of fresh veggies, and of course the salmon to provide plenty of protein and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. These types of bowl dishes are fantastic for anyone following a paleo diet, as they are incredibly easy to prepare and full of super healthy ingredients that should be a staple in your diet.

salmon recipe

These energizing food bowls made with fresh vegetables and meat are taking off lately with paleo dieters. Take one look at the ingredients and you'll see why: delicious salmon drizzled in lime juice and honey, fresh vegetables, and a Thai-style pesto made entirely from scratch. It combines all of the flavors you would expect from a Thai inspired dish - sweet, spicy, and sour.

Full of Flavor and Healthy Omega-3 Fats

I always get really excited whenever my family asks me to make something that’s inspired by Thai cuisine because I know it’s going to be a mouthwatering meal full of contrasting flavors. This salmon bowl is no exception thanks to the homemade Thai pesto. It’s simple to make as all you have to do is blend fresh basil, almonds, green onions, chili flakes, and lime juice together. Fresh basil is commonly used in many Thai foods thanks to the great taste that it adds along with the many health benefits that it possesses, including antioxidant and antibacterial properties. (1)

Salmon, An Omega-3 Powerhouse

It isn’t just the pesto that makes this dish so delicious though. Salmon is one of my favorite seafoods to eat because it’s packed full of flavor, and it’s so incredibly good for you as well. Salmon is extremely high in both protein and omega-3 fatty acids. It’s also an excellent source of B vitamins and essential minerals. It’s extremely important to make sure that you get enough omega-3 in your diet as it plays a key role in lowering inflammation, boosting your immune system, and reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease. (2) While it’s possible to use supplements to make sure you get enough of this healthy fat, I much prefer to get my omega-3 from fresh fish and this pesto and salmon bowl is a perfect way to do so.

prepping basil for pesto

raw salmon prep

Other Suggested Protein Sources

If you’re not a fan of salmon, you could easily substitute it with other protein sources. This Thai pesto bowl would go well with scallops, shrimp, or a white fish like cod. Scallops, shrimp and cod are all low in fat but high in protein, so it will make for an incredibly satiating meal. 

Caulliflower, A Paleo Rice Alternative

Another great paleo twist is replacing the white rice usually found in these types of healthy bowls. We all know that grains such as rice are a no-no while on a paleo diet, but thankfully cauliflower makes a terrific replacement for rice. It’s easy to prepare as well; just stick it into a food processor and blend until it has a rice-like consistency. What makes it such a great replacement is the fact it’s low carb and full of nutrients.

paleo thai pesto basil salmon bowl

I’ve been making a lot of these healthy bowls for my lunches lately because of how convenient they are. They take next to no time to prepare and you can make more than enough for a few days’ worth of delicious paleo meals in one batch. It’s a great meal to up your daily intake of protein and healthy fats as well. Even if you aren’t a big fan of seafood, you could easily swap out the salmon for another source of protein such as chicken or grass-fed beef. 

If you’re on the lookout for more great paleo meals that make perfect use of salmon, I’ve got a few great recipes I want to share with you. The first one is a recipe that makes classic salmon cakes. There’s also a great salad recipe that contains poached egg and salmon that you’re sure to love. And finally make sure to check out this great dill and lemon baked salmon in parchment recipe. It’s full of juicy delicious flavors that seafood lovers will go nuts for. 


    • 6 cups cauliflower “rice”
    • 3 cups finely sliced cabbage
    • 3 carrots, peeled and julienned
    • 1 large cucumbers, sliced
    • 1 ½ pound salmon fillets
    • 1 small lime, juiced
    • 1 tbs honey
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 2 tbsp chopped cashew nuts
    • salt, black pepper to taste
  • For thai pesto
    • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
    • 1 ½ oz almonds
    • 2 green onions, chopped
    • ½ tsp chili flakes
    • ½ lime, juiced
    • 2 tbsp olive oil


  1. To make the Thai pesto, place all the ingredients in a blender and process until blend. If the mixture is too thick, add 1-2 tablespoons of water. Season to taste and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  3. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  4. Spread the cauliflower rice in an even layer on the prepared baking tray.
  5. Drizzle with ½ tbsp olive oil and season with salt to taste.
  6. Bake for 12 minutes, mixing it in the tray halfway through cooking.
  7. Heat 1 ½ olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.
  8. Season the salmon.
  9. Cook, 3 minutes per side.
  10. Add the lime juice and honey.
  11. Simmer for 1 minute, until liquid is reduced slightly and the salmon is just cooked.
  12. Divide the cauliflower rice among bowls.
  13. Top with cabbage, cucumber, carrot, salmon, pan juices and pesto.
  14. Sprinkle with chopped cashew nuts and serve.


Serving Size





Total Time

40 minutes

Prep Time

20 minutes

Cook Time

20 minutes

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