Vegan Poké Bowls

These Vegan Poké Bowls are a healthy plant-based riff on the Hawaiian classic. Made with tofu, massaged kale, and a creamy vegan dressing, this is a healthy and delicious meal bowl recipe.

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Vegan poké bowls in white bowls topped with avocado

I first shared this recipe for Vegan Poké Bowls a few years ago after we spent a month on Kauai. It was one of those recipes I didn’t give much thought to after I hit the publish button, but recently someone ordered poke bowls for lunch at a work event and I was like ohhhhhhh yeah those were super good!

I made up a batch of poké bowls for a family dinner a few weeks back when I was re-testing the recipe, and we assembled them family style. The kids loved them (I called them Pokemon bowls, that might have had something to do with it) especially since they could choose their own toppings (they went very heavy on the mango and edamame).

Since my husband isn’t vegetarian, he did some seared tuna to top his bowl, and the kids kind of mixed and matched. I think this makes a perfect dish for mixed-diet families like ours, and I’m sure they could be made to suit just about anyone’s preferences.

I’ve made a few improvements to the original recipe which you can take or leave, like pan-frying the tofu to get some crispy edges that the sauce just clings to better. One change I really must insist you try, however, is the zippy sesame dressing. Tahini-based and perfectly zippy, it’s like a vegan Sriracha mayo, and it is everything when drizzled on these bowls.

What is a poké bowl?

Poké bowls (pronounced like poke-ay) are all the rage right now, and with good reason. Poké comes from a verb in the Hawaiian language which means to slice, section, or cut. Traditionally it’s marinated raw fish, but these days anything goes.

The poké (cut up things) is layered over sticky rice and topped with vegetables and a tasty sauce. These vegan poké bowls are most definitely not traditional Hawaiian poké bowls, but they’re delicious and I think that’s what matters most. 

kale, tofu, brown rice, avocado, mango, edamame, ginger, cucumber, and radish on a grey background

What’s in these poké bowls?

I’m willing to bet most of the ingredients are things you’ve already got on hand. Here’s what we’ve got going on:

  • Rice –> we’re going with short-grain brown rice today.
  • Rice vinegar –-> to season the rice.
  • Tofu –-> I used a nice firm tofu.
  • Massed kale –->for a hefty dose of greens
  • Mango –-> Adds tang!
  • Cucumber –> Adds crunch!
  • Radishes –> Adds bite!
  • Edamame –> Another member of the protein squad.
  • Avocado –> Because, obviously.
  • Cilantro –> Optional, for the cilantro lovers in the house.
  • Tahini dressing –> This is our vegan Sriracha mayo thing.
  • Pickled ginger –> I like the fresh kick this adds. 
  • Furikake sprinkles –> Optional, but delicious. 

photo collage for making a vegan poke bowl

How do you make poke bowls?

Hand on my heart, I’m telling you the single most difficult part of making these poke bowls is cooking the rice.

I used my Instant Pot to make a big batch of brown rice, and it was great because not only was the rice perfectly cooked, but I didn’t need to babysit it, so I was able to throw it on and take my kids out to the playground for a bit. (I used these instructions for Instant Pot Brown Rice)

Once the rice is cooked, I like to season it by lightly sprinkling with seasoned rice vinegar. This is optional, but delicious, so do what you will.

If you’re going to pan-fry your tofu, you can do this while the rice is cooking. But you can also totally leave the tofu plain and just toss it in the marinade.

To pan fry, cube the tofu and heat some oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan (I use olive oil, but sesame is also nice). Cook over a medium-high heat, turning the tofu cubes now and then, until they’re nicely browned on all sides.

Now you want to make your dressings

I used a homemade (and terribly inauthentic) ponzu dressing as the marinade for the tofu, and it’s also what I used to massage the kale. My version of ponzu is simply whisking together sesame oil, lime juice, rice vinegar, agave, and soy sauce, and it takes two minutes to whisk together.

The second dressing is the dreamy vegan Sriracha “mayo” that we’re drizzling over our vegan poké bowls. This is simply a blend of tahini, lemon juice, garlic, agave, and Sriracha. 

Pro tip: If two dressings seems like a lot, by all means use a store-bought ponzu dressing to marinate the tofu. Or you can skip the tofu marinating altogether since you’ll be drizzling with the tahini sauce, but I do find that it tastes pretty bland in that case. 

photo collage for making vegan poke bowls

Cook the edamame

Cook the edamame beans according to package directions. I bring a pot of water to the boil, salt it generously, and add the beans. Reduce heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes, then drain well.

Prep the veggies

This is where you get your poké on! Chop and slice your mango, cucumber, and radishes.

I recommend that you leave the avocado for the last minute, since it tends to go brown quite quickly. 

Now assemble your bowls!

You can see how I made them in the photos above.

Start with a bed of rice. Add a handful of massaged kale, then the tofu, vegetables, edamame, mango, and lastly the avocado.

Top with cilantro, furikake sprinkles, and a good drizzle of vegan sriracha mayo.

a vegan poke bowl on a grey background

Can I make poke bowls in advance?

Rather than making the bowls in advance, I recommend you prepare the ingredients in advance and then assemble the bowls when you’re ready to serve.

You can batch cook the brown rice (related: batch cooking for beginners), tofu, edamame, and chop the vegetables. Only the avocado really needs to be prepped at the last minute.

I packed leftover poke bowls for my lunch, and by the end of the week the rice was getting quite dry and kinda meh, so I recommend adding fresh or batch cooked rice (from the freezer) when you make your bowls. 

two vegan poke bowls in white bowls with chopsticks and blue water glasses on a grey background

Can I substitute x, y, or z?

Yes, yes, and yes! Your vegan poké bowls are only limited by your imagination.

Be sure to check out my post about how to make a meal bowl without a recipe for meal bowl tips, tricks, and inspiration. 

Hey Nutrition Lady, is brown rice healthy?

Did you know that the process of converting brown rice to white rice destroys 60 – 80% of the vitamins and minerals, and all of the dietary fiber and essential fatty acids? 

Think of white rice like cake, it’s a special occasion food and should be eaten in moderation. Brown rice, on the other hand, is a whole food with a myriad of health benefits from colon health to cholesterol lowering! Brown rice is a source of dietary fiber, manganese, selenium, magnesium, and tryptophan. 

close up photo of a vegan poke bowl topped with mango and avocado

Other meal bowls you might enjoy:

Veggie Burger in a Bowl
Vegan Sheet Pan Fajita Bowls
Winter Vegetable Meal Prep Bowls
Roasted Cauliflower Hummus Bowls

Vegan Poké Bowls

These Vegan Poké Bowls are a healthy plant-based riff on the Hawaiian classic. Made with tofu, massaged kale, and a creamy vegan dressing, this is a healthy and delicious meal bowl recipe.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Poké Bowls
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 594 kcal
Author Katie Trant

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar optional
  • 1/2 bunch lacinato kale destemmed and cut into thin ribbons
  • 4 oz firm tofu cut into cubes
  • 1/2 medium cucumber sliced
  • 4 radishes thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado peeled, pitted, and sliced
  • 1 medium mango peeled and cubed
  • 6 oz edamame beans cooked according to package instructions

Ponzu Dressing:

  • 2 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp honey or other liquid sweetener
  • 2 tsp soy sauce or liquid aminos

Vegan Sriracha "Mayo"

  • 1/4 cup runny tahini paste
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • 1 tsp agave nectar or other liquid sweetener
  • 1 tsp Sriracha or more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt

Instructions

  1. First, prepare the rice. Sprinkle the cooked brown rice with rice vinegar and toss with a fork. Set aside while you're preparing the rest of the ingredients.
  2. If desired, you can pan-fry the tofu. Heat a bit of olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet and fry, turning every couple of minutes, until the tofu is browned on all sides.

  3. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for the ponzu sauce and whisk well. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired.
  4. Place the shredded lacinato kale into a small bowl and spoon a bit of the ponzu dressing over top. Use clean hands to massage the dressing into the kale, and then set aside while you're prepping the rest of the ingredients.
  5. Place the cubed tofu into the bowl with the remaining ponzu dressing and let stand for 5 minutes, or as long as overnight.
  6. Cook the edamame beans according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.

  7. To assemble, first place the rice into two serving bowls. Arrange the marinated kale and tofu over top, followed by the remaining ingredients. Garnish with cilantro and furikake sprinkles if desired.

  8. To serve, drizzle generously with vegan Sriracha mayo. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • Nutrition values are an estimate only
  • Prep time assumes the brown rice is already cooked.
  • Ponzu dressing and marinated kale and tofu can be made up to a day in advance, as can the Sriracha mayo and the edamame beans. 
  • If you're making this for packed lunches, leave the avocado off until ready to serve. 
Nutrition Facts
Vegan Poké Bowls
Amount Per Serving
Calories 594 Calories from Fat 243
% Daily Value*
Fat 27g42%
Saturated Fat 4g20%
Sodium 372mg16%
Potassium 746mg21%
Carbohydrates 77g26%
Fiber 6g24%
Sugar 21g23%
Protein 14g28%
Vitamin A 7899IU158%
Vitamin C 126mg153%
Calcium 210mg21%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This recipe was originally published January 24, 2017. It was retested, rephotographed, and updated on February 4, 2020.

 



 

Comments

  1. Kip says

    I went to Hawaii for the first time in December and tried a small portion of tofu poke that I really liked, but that I felt could be better as part of a bigger meal like this. I keep forgetting to make it (poke has caught on in London only just, with a single Soho restaurant serving it), so thanks for the reminder and recipe! Also, thank you for not trying to make it oil and flavour free…

  2. Anne Titcomb says

    As always you are ahead of the curve – picked up my Bon Appetit magazine (which I thought I was no longer subscribing to and it is full of Poke recipes. Fish in some and there is a vegetarian recipe in it. Most of the others are fish, but could do as well without.
    Have a great day and special hugs to Niko!

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