What Is a Poke Bowl
You’ve probably seen poke bowls on social media, overheard the buzz, or seen them on menus IRL. (Psst … it’s pronounced “POH-keh.”) You may even live in a city where poke shops are popping up faster than build-your-own burrito bars ever did.
So what is this food trend, anyway — and what’s the appeal?
Poke means “to slice or cut” in Hawaiian and refers to chunks of raw, marinated fish — usually tuna — which is then tossed over rice and topped with vegetables and umami-packed sauces.
“It’s the next generation of sushi,” says chef Dakota Weiss of Sweetfin Poké in L.A. “But easier to eat.”
The customizable dish is ubiquitous in Hawaii. “It’s everywhere, from gas stations to roadside stands,” says Weiss. “You pick out the kind of poke you want and get it to go in a Styrofoam container.”
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And now that poke has found its way to the mainland, people can’t seem to get enough. Here’s what’s in a classic tuna bowl, according to Weiss.
Rice: Most bowls start with a base layer of jasmine rice. Sweetfin uses bamboo rice, which has a green tint. “The warm rice is a nice juxtaposition against the super cold tuna,” says Weiss. Some chains also offer low-carb options like zucchini noodles and kelp salad. The option to be as healthy as you want is part of the appeal, she says.
Fish: Sushi-grade fish is the star ingredient, most commonly raw yellowfin (ahi) tuna. But you can choose between several fish, including salmon and snapper. If raw fish isn’t your thing, look for options like tofu or cooked crab.
Seasonings: The cubes of fish are mixed with scallions, sesame seeds and flakes of pink sea salt to enhance the flavor.
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Dressing: Salty sauces often made with soy sauce, shoyu, ponzu or even spicy black-bean paste highlight the fatty fish. Weiss says her classic shoyu sauce is made of soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, mirin and a little fresh lemon juice.
Vegetables: Toppings like avocado, shaved onion, seaweed and crispy garlic add flavor and crunch. At Sweetfin, 90 percent of bowls have avocado, which adds a “nice creaminess, a sweetness,” says Weiss. And crispy onion is king. “People go bonkers for our crispy onion to the point where if we run out, they will wait until we make more before ordering.”
Hot sauce: The Japanese red chili mixture togarashi adds heat; wasabi is also a popular option.
7 Hawaiian-Inspired Poke Bowls You Can Make at Home
Poke (pronounced “poh-kay”) bowls are having such a moment right now. These Hawaiian raw-fish dishes—usually a combo of marinated tuna, rice, avocado, and veggies—are rivaling ramen and burrito bowls as everyone’s favorite fast-casual food. (There are entire eateries devoted to them popping up all around the country.)
If you don’t have a poke place near you (yet), or your wallet cries every time you go to one, there’s good news: There are so many ways to recreate these bowls at home. From alternative fish to Paleo-friendly variations, these seven recipes let you poke to your heart’s content.
1. Tuna Poke Bowls With Brown Rice
With brown rice giving these bowls a hit of extra fiber and sushi-grade tuna providing protein and healthy fats, this bowl is sure to keep you going for hours. Make it an even more memorable one by being generous with the Sriracha.
2. Salmon Poke Bowls With Pickled Radishes, Carrots, and Spicy Ponzu
While tuna is usually the fish of choice in poke bowls, why not switch things up with salmon? It makes a pretty delicious alternative, especially with this recipe, where it’s combined with easily pickled veggies and a quick, lemony dressing.
3. Paleo Poke Bowls
It only makes sense to give this Hawaiian favorite some more tropical flavor with the addition of juicy mango. It goes perfectly with the mildness of the avocado and the fish—you won’t even miss the rice in these Paleo-friendly poke bowls.
4. Watermelon, Tuna, and Quinoa Poke Bowls With Tahini Soy Sauce
These grain-free bowls (quinoa is a seed!) are full of unexpected ingredients that somehow work incredibly well together. Who knew that watermelon, tahini, quinoa, and tuna could make for such a winning combo?
5. Vegan Poke Bowls
If you’re going meatless but still want to get in on the poke party, swap out the fish for firm tofu instead. It soaks in a sweet and savory ponzu marinade, which is also used as a dressing for the whole bowl—no lack of flavor here, y’all.
6. Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl With Avocado and Cucumber Noodles
While cucumber and avocado are usually used as a topping for poke bowls, here, they’re used as a base. Spiralized cucumber noodles (coodles?!) are coated in a creamy avocado dressing before getting topped with soy-marinated tuna. Yum.
7. Whole30 Tuna Poke Avocado Boats
Switch up your poke presentation by serving it in boats instead of bowls. Tuna, cucumber, and macadamia nuts (gotta play up that Hawaiian inspiration) all gather in meaty avocado shells. They’re fun to look at, delicious to eat, and easy to clean up.
13 Filling, Healthy, And Delicious Grain Bowls You’ll Want To Eat Immediately
Like the breakfast and smoothie bowls before them, grain bowls are having a moment. With options like bulgar, farro, barley, rice and quinoa as the core, plus an endless variety of toppings, they’re the perfect union of ease and creativity. But before you become a master bowl-crafter, here are a few fresh and delicious recipes to get you started.
Kale, Chickpea and Sweet Potato Quinoa Bowl
Top a bed of fresh kale with hearty ingredients such as quinoa, chickpeas, crumbled feta and roasted sweet potatoes, then drizzle with tahini and a light lemon dressing.
Cuban Chicken and Black Bean Quinoa Bowl with Fried Bananas
This vibrant bowl spills over with traditional Latin ingredients. Chili-spiced and fried bananas (which deliver a plantain-like flavor) plus a mix of spicy diced mangos add sweetness to the Cuban chicken, quinoa and black bean blend.
Ratatoiulle Barley Bowl
Though the recipe calls for barley, the instructions note that quinoa, farro, bulgar, rice, etc. all go just as well with chopped eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes. Finely grated Parmesan cheese adds the perfect final touch.
Oyster Mushroom and Pistachio Quinoa Bowl
This unusual recipe makes for a great lunch or dinner year round—it tastes just as good hot as it does chilled. Coconut oil, maple syrup and Hungarian bittersweet smoked paprika flavor the mushrooms while the pistachios balance the bowl out with their satisfying crunch.
Roasted Rainbow Winter Bowl
Your corner salad place’s got nothing on this vibrant bowl. Squash (butternut and delicata), mushrooms, white beans and avocado top a bed of wild rice. Drizzle with tahini for a final touch.
Beet, Apple, Quinoa and Sprout Salad Bowl
It’s impossible ignore the beauty of this colorful bowl. The good news is that it tastes amazing, too. Quinoa, raw beetroots, apple and lettuce form the base of the vegan mix and delicious toppers such as fresh sprouts, a sprinkling of sunflower seeds and a dollop (or two!) of labneh or cashew cheese round out the recipe.
Get the full recipe here»
Winter Nourish Bowl With Orange-Ginger Miso Sauce
The title gives it away: This recipe is the perfect nutritional reboot recipe. Topped with sweet potatoes, beets, broccoli, edamame and cashews, the quinoa-based bowl’s healthful ingredients will have your body feeling better. It’s the drizzle of orange-ginger miso dressing, however, that’ll really have you hooked.
Vegan Latin Bowl With Vegetables and Spanish Brown Rice
Call it a game-changer: This delicious recipe is already portioned out to make the perfect amount for one. Plantains, black beans, Swiss chard and sliced radishes top a bed of flavorful Spanish rice. The final touch is a scoop of fresh tomatillo salsa. Be warned: The dish is spicy, but worth the heat.
Rainbow Chard Quinoa Bowls With Curry Coconut Broth
Grab a spoon or a fork. Thanks to a hearty helping of the curry coconut broth that surrounds the quinoa and veggies, the choice is yours.
Thai Basil Beef and Lemongrass Bowls
In the time it takes to pick up the phone, place a delivery order and wait around for your takeout, you can make this healthy bowl. Fresh veggies cook together with beef for a powerful blend of flavors that perfectly complement the mellow bed of jasmine rice. With prep and cook time, it only takes about 20 minutes.
Bean & Farro Salad With Cilantro Apple Dressing
If you’re looking for simple and easy, here’s the recipe for you. This blend of beans (black and canelli), avocado and sliced radishes with pearled farro require little work. Top with sweet cilantro apple dressing before eating.
Fajita Veggie Burger Bowls With Blistered Sweet Reds
Here, your grains come in the form of a sliced veggie burger patty. Surrounded by deliciously blistered vegetables, you’ll be ready for grill season.
Get the full recipe»
Poke Avocado and Rice Bowl
Another quick dinner for one: Sushi-grade ahi tuna mixes perfectly with fresh avocado, onion, serrano peppers and a sprinkling of black sesame seeds. Mix your brown rice with a combination of Asian sauces to get the perfect bowl of flavor.