I loved making Poke bowls for my Nourish Every Day group in April! Nourish Every Day is my monthly membership program. It’s a new program I launched this year and in it we work together to build and strengthen your conscious eating mindset and develop strategies and go-to recipes for making healthy eating fun and fulfilling.
One of the things we do each month is get together for a live cooking class and this month we made Poke bowls! Poke Bowls are a fun new trend, but they’ve actually been around for a while.
The History of Poke Bowls
Poke bowls started in the Hawaiian islands. Ancient Hawaiians feasted on freshly caught fish massaged with sea salt, seaweed, and crushed kukui nuts (candlenut). Poke bowls later evolved into a bowl of rice topped with marinated chopped raw seafood, seaweed, and ground kukui nuts. Modern day poke bowls include ingredients and sauces that reflect the melting pot of cultures that have made the Hawaiian Islands their home.
What Ingredients Do You Need to Make a Poke Bowl?
Traditional Poke bowls involve rice, fresh tuna or salmon, a marinade made of soy sauce, green onions, and sesame oil, but you can include a ton of other ingredients, too. I’ve made a list below, but the possibilities are many!
My Poke Story
My first encounter with poke bowls was about two summers ago. My friend Michele and I had been out shopping for plants for our deck one evening and wanted to grab a bite afterwards. We were hungry, but discerning. We wanted a healthy, convenient, high-flavor meal. Being salad lovers, this trend seemed like the perfect combination of sushi and salad! We loved all the fresh ingredients and being able to create our own perfect bowl with protein, veggies, and a tasty sauce. It’s become our tradition to catch up over poke bowls a few times a month.
My Version of a Poke Bowl
My version of a poke bowl definitely leans more towards the non-traditional side. I love finding every opportunity to include more vegetables into my recipes and have a lot of fun playing with different flavors and topping combinations. There are so many opportunities to add a burst of flavor into a poke bowl, whether with cilantro, nori, or by spicing things up with a fun sauce or some hot pepper!
How to Create Your Own Poke Bowl
You don’t really need a recipe to make your own poke bowl. And with the formula below, you can easily create your own nourishing version of a Poke Bowl. It’s really quite simple: first choose your base, then pile on your protein, then three or four piles of your favorite toppings. Jazz it up with green onions, sriracha sauce, or Furikake seasoning, toss in your favorite sauce and voilà, you will have your very own Poke bowl, ready to eat!
Step 1. Choose Your Base
- Brown Rice
- Lettuce or chopped dark leafy greens
- Soba Noodles
- Farro or barley
Step 2. Choose Your Protein
Cut it into bite-sized pieces for marinading.
- Raw salmon
- Raw or seared tuna
- Cooked Shimp
Marinade the Protein
Combine the following ingredients for every 1 pound of fish or tofu.
- Soy sauce
- Rice vinegar
- Sesame oil
Step 3 Add Your Favorite Toppings
- sliced avocado
- sliced cucumber
- shredded carrots
- shredded napa cabbage or red cabbage
- chopped romaine, spinach, or kale
- chopped cilantro
- bean sprouts
- shelled edamame
- shaved radish
- Scallions (thinly sliced)
- sweet onion (finely chopped)
- garlic chips
- fried shallots
- diced pineapple
- diced mango
- sliced nori seaweed
Nuts & Seeds
- macadamia nuts
- skin-on roasted peanuts
- toasted white or black sesame seeds
- crushed wasabi peas
- grated Serrano chiles
- red Fresno chiles (thinly sliced)
- Jalapeños (thinly sliced)
- pickled ginger
- pickled shiitake mushrooms
- pickled red onions
- pickled cucumber
Step 4. Add a sauce or garnish
- ponzu sauce
- soy Sauce
- teriyaki Sauce
- spicy black bean paste
- chopped cilantro
- furikake seasoning
- Sriracha sauce
More Poke Bowl Recipes
Want more inspiration? Try some of these done-for-you Poke bowl recipes.
Not a fan of raw fish (or don’t have readily available sashimi grade fish? Try this cooked fish version of a Poke Bowl
Looking for a Vegan Poke Bowl? Try out this Vegan Poke Bowl recipe.
Want to try a traditional Hawaiian Poke Bowl recipe, without the long plane flight? Try this one.
You can also make a Poke Bowl with sashimi-grade salmon. This is a fun recipe to try.
A Note on Buying and Consuming Raw Fish
Food safety is critical when eating raw fish! Be sure to purchase fresh fish (and don’t be afraid to ask your grocer which fish arrived most recently!). Fish and seafood should be stored in a case on a bed of ice. It should be fresh and mild-smelling. There shouldn’t be a strong fish or ammonia odor. The flesh should be firm to the touch and bounce back when you press on it. For poke bowls, look for “sushi-grade” on the label. Purchasing previously frozen tuna is also a good option because it can help kill any parasites that might be present. If you’re still a little hesitant to eat the tuna completely raw, you can sear the surface of the ahi tuna steaks on each side before slicing to help to reduce the risk of microbial contamination. (Source: FDA.gov)
Would You Like More Healthy Eating Strategies Like This?
How would it feel to take control of your health, stop emotional eating, learn to make choices that nourish your body, and finally make peace with food? If this sounds like you, I’ve got good news! I’ve put together a program to help you to master a nourishing mindset, try tasty recipes, and implement new strategies that will help you live a healthy life and make peace with food. Not only that, you’ll become a part of an amazing community of women that you can lean on. Learn more about it here.