These poke bowls are packed with delicious ahi tuna marinated in a traditional Hawaiian-style poke sauce served with steamed rice and a colorful assortment of vegetables. They’re incredibly fresh, flavor-packed, and easy to customize with different fish, toppings, and sauces.
Poke bowls are a staple in Hawaiian cuisine, well-known for their freshness, and one of our favorite meals to recreate at home! Essentially, a poke bowl is like deconstructed sushi, providing a colorful mixture of flavors and textures.
In this recipe, we use our ahi tuna poke as the main protein, tossed in a flavorful marinade of soy sauce, sesame oil, and Hawaiian sea salt. We love to serve it on a bed of steamed rice with crunchy Persian cucumbers and creamy avocado for a quick, healthy, and delicious dinner any night of the week.
Why You’ll Love Poke Bowls
Here are just a few of the many reasons why you’re going to love this poke bowl recipe:
- Little cooking involved: Poke bowls require minimal cooking — only the rice really needs to be steamed. The rest is just assembly!
- Balanced nutrition: With lean protein from the tuna, fiber from the vegetables, and carbohydrates from the rice, this is a well-balanced meal you can feel good about.
- Visually appealing: Poke bowls are colorful and aesthetic, making them a treat for the eyes as well as the palate.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Here’s what you’ll need to make these quick and easy poke bowls:
- Ahi tuna: This sushi-grade fish brings a soft, melt-in-the-mouth texture to the dish. If you can't find ahi tuna, any sashimi-grade fish (like salmon) will work. You can also use tofu, cooked shrimp, octopus (tako), or other cooked or raw fish.
- Soy sauce: Soy sauce adds a salty, umami depth to the poke. Tamari or coconut aminos can be used if you need a gluten-free alternative.
- Toasted sesame oil: This gives a rich, nutty flavor to the marinade. If sesame oil is unavailable, you can use a light drizzle of avocado or olive oil.
- Onions: Green onions and sweet onions offer a mild, savory, and slightly sweet flavor that complements the fish. Hawaiian sweet onion or shallots can be used as an alternative.
- Sesame seeds: Add a bit of crunch and a toasty flavor. Use black or white sesame seeds. Or, try flax or chia seeds in a pinch.
- Hawaiian sea salt: Enhances the overall flavors of the poke bowls. If Hawaiian salt is unavailable, use kosher salt or another coarse salt.
- White rice: You can use short-grain white rice for a classic flavor. Sushi rice is also delicious with poke bowls.
- Vegetables: We love the creamy and crunchy contrast of Persian cucumbers and avocados. Feel free to experiment with other veggies like carrots, seaweed, radishes, or bell peppers.
- Seaweed salad: Adds a unique sea flavor and a nice textural contrast. Spinach can be used as an alternative if you can’t find seaweed salad.
How To Make Poke Bowls
1. Prepare The Tuna
The first step in creating your homemade poke bowls is preparing the ahi tuna. You’ll need to cut the fish into bite-sized cubes and marinate it in a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, green onions, sweet onions, sesame seeds, and Hawaiian sea salt.
Always ensure your knife has been freshly sharpened before cutting sashimi-grade fish. This will result in a cleaner cut and maintain the integrity of the fish. Additionally, try to cut against the grain for a better texture in each bite.
2. Assemble The Poke Bowls
Once your tuna has had time to soak up the flavors of the marinade, you can assemble the poke bowls! Start with a base of steamed white rice, then arrange the marinated tuna, avocado, cucumbers, and seaweed salad on top.
This is where you can get creative and add any other mix-ins you like. For extra color contrast and a visual pop, experiment with your favorite types of fruits and veggies!
Best Toppings For Poke Bowls
For more flavor, texture, and nutritional balance in your poke bowls, try adding some of these garnishes:
- Shelled edamame
- Shredded carrots
- Sliced radishes
- Shredded red cabbage
- Diced mangoes
- Spicy mayo
- Pickled ginger
Storage and Leftovers
If you have any leftovers from your poke bowls, here’s what to do:
- Fridge: Store leftover poke in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. However, for the best flavor and texture, it's best to consume it immediately after you prepare it.
- Freezer: Freezing is not recommended for poke bowls due to the fresh nature of the ingredients. We recommend making smaller batches so you don’t end up having to waste any of the fish.
- Prep ahead: You can prep the veggies and the rice ahead of time, but it's best to cut and marinate the fish right before serving.
Variations and Recipe Ideas
Poke bowls are incredibly flexible, allowing you to cater to different dietary preferences and needs. Test out some of these variations:
- Tropical: Include some diced mango and pineapple for a sweet contrast.
- Protein: Swap out the tuna for octopus, shrimp, or salmon.
- Vegan: Make these bowls with marinated beet or tofu cubes for a meat-free option.
- Grains: Replace white rice with brown rice, quinoa, or even cauliflower rice.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most common questions about making poke at home.
When choosing sashimi or sushi-grade fish, it's important to check for its freshness and quality. Look for fish that is brightly colored and smells clean, not fishy. The flesh should be firm, not slimy or soft. Buying from reputable fish markets or stores that specify ‘sashimi’ or ‘sushi-grade’ on their products is always recommended.
Yes, you can use frozen fish for poke bowls, but it's important to ensure that it's of high quality. Opt for fish labeled as frozen at sea (FAS) or super-frozen, as they are frozen immediately after being caught to preserve freshness. Thaw the fish in the refrigerator to maintain quality and safety.
Cut your fish into bite-sized cubes that are about an inch in size. Not only does this make it easier to eat, but it helps the fish absorb the marinade better. Don’t forget to use a sharp knife for clean cuts.
DIY Hawaiian Poke Bowls
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- 1 lb sashimi-grade raw fresh ahi tuna, cut into cubes
- 2 tbsp soy sauce (more to taste)
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 cup green onions, sliced
- 1/4 cup sweet onion, diced
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- 1 tsp sea salt (Hawaiian is bets, to taste)
- 2 cups cooked white rice
- 1/2 avocado, sliced
- 2 Persian cucumbers, chopped
- 1 cup seaweed salad (or greens)
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* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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