Vegan Poke Bowl
While poke is typically thought of as being made from raw fish, the word actually just means to slice crosswise, so I think this vegan option still qualifies. Fish is standard, but most of the flavor of poke comes from the other ingredients anyway. Substituting cubes of tender, boiled beets creates a dish with a similar look to ahi tuna, and a surprisingly similar flavor profile. Whether you eat a vegan diet or you simply don’t have access to sushi-grade fish where you are, give this recipe a try next time that poke bowl craving hits you.
I use the same marinade as I do with my ahi tuna poke, made with soy, sesame oil, ginger, and rice vinegar. I also use sushi rice as the base in my bowl to create a more flavorful dish, though plain white rice will also do.
Vegan Shoyu Sesame Poke Bowl
~3 cups of beets, cut into ½” cubes (around 2 large beets)
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp grated ginger
2 scallions, white parts only, sliced thin
2 cups short or medium grained japanese rice
2 cups water
½ cup rice vinegar
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 cup cucumber, seeded and sliced into ½” cubes
1 cup firm avocado, sliced into ½” cubes
1 carrot, peeled and sliced into thin sticks
2 scallions, green part only, sliced thinly
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
½ cup sriracha mayonnaise (mix ¼ cup sriracha with ¼ cup vegan mayonnaise)
Poke: In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, rice vinegar, ginger, and scallion whites to make the marinade.
Peel beets and slice into ½”-1” cubes. Boil the beet cubes for 20-30 minutes, or until tender. Once cooked, drain the beets and drop them into the marinade. Allow them to marinate for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Sushi rice has a firm bite and is seasoned beautifully with salt, sugar, and vinegar. Begin by adding the 2 cups of rice and 2 cups of water to a saucepan with a lid. Over medium heat, bring this to a boil.
When the rice reaches a boil (you can take a quick peek to check, but try not to let out too much steam), reduce the heat to a low simmer for 10 minutes.
After the rice has simmered for 10 minutes, remove it from heat and keep covered. Allow the rice to steam for another 10 minutes.
While the rice is steaming, mix together your rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl large enough to accommodate the rice as well. At the end of those 10 minutes of steaming, you should have perfect, firm rice. At this point you want to put the rice into the mixing bowl and mix it all together to ensure that all of the rice receives good seasoning. Then leave the rice on the counter to cool.
Poke Bowl Assembly:
Divide the rice evenly into 4 bowls, creating a nice layer at the bottom.
Mix the sliced carrots and cubed cucumber and avocado into the beet poke, and divide this evenly atop the bed of sushi rice. Feel free to garnish the top with cucumber, avocado, and carrot slices. Anything mixed into the marinade will take on a reddish hue, so reserve a few slices of each for best coloration.
Give the bowls a nice squirt of sriracha mayonnaise and sprinkle over the toasted sesame seeds and scallion greens. And then dig in.