This nourishing tuna poke bowl is filled with fluffy, seasoned rice and fresh ahi tuna marinated in a spicy ginger & sesame dressing. Fill the rest of your bowl with a colorful assortment of crisp-fresh veggies, edamame, creamy avocado, and juicy mango for the perfect one-bowl meal.
These beautiful tuna poke bowls may look complicated, but looks can be deceiving. Making homemade ahi tuna pokes is EASY, and there’s no need to worry about overcooking your succulent ahi poke steaks.
Fresh ahi tuna is quickly marinated and then served raw over a bed of rice with various healthy sides. This tuna poke bowl, just like this salmon poke or this vegan tofu poke, is the perfect way to brighten up your lunch or dinner.
But before we jump into the recipe, here are a few things to keep in mind while shopping for fresh ahi.
What is a Poke Bowl?
A poke (pronounced “poke-ay”) bowl is deeply rooted in the Hawaiian custom of enjoying raw, freshly caught fish with whatever spices and seasonings were easily accessible.
Typically made with ahi or yellowfin tuna, the rest of the bowl is built with rice and a combination of veggies, fruits, sauces, toppings, and sometimes seaweed salad.
Are Poke Bowls Healthy?
Absolutely. Poke bowls are packed with all the good stuff. They’re a great source of carbohydrates, protein, essential nutrients, and minerals.
Ingredients You’ll Need
Best Raw Tuna for Poke Bowls
Sushi-grade yellowfin tuna, aka ahi tuna. It’s deep red, firm, and has an almost rare beef-like quality to it. Fresh ahi tuna steaks are sweet, mild, and melt in your mouth.
How to Buy Sushi-Grade Fish
Fresh fish is always the best fish, but you can also use frozen fish labeled “sushi-grade,” “sashimi grade, or “for raw consumption.” The tuna steaks should have little to no white streaks.
What is the Safest Way to Thaw Frozen Sushi-Grade Tuna?
8-12 hours before you plan to assemble, place frozen tuna steaks in a glass bowl. Cover the bowl and place it in the fridge to thaw.
- Rice: You can use any rice you like – short-grain brown rice, basmati rice, jasmine rice, wild rice, or black rice. You can substitute rice for rice noodles or quinoa or choose a low-carb option using cauliflower rice or spiralized veggies.
- Sushi rice vinegar: A quick mix of salt, brown sugar, and rice wine vinegar. This is optional, especially if you’re using a different type of rice. It adds a subtly sweet flavor and makes the rice stickier.
- Spicy ginger sesame dressing: This is what you’ll use as your poke sauce (the tuna marinade). You’ll need soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, freshly treated ginger, and Sriracha. Add a pinch of chili flakes or chili powder for a spicy tuna poke bowl.
- Fresh vegetables: There’s no shortage of color! I used sliced radish, sliced cucumber, and crunchy carrots. Feel free to mix and match with your favorite fresh veggies. Spiralized zucchini, beetroots, spinach, sliced bell peppers, romaine lettuce, sweet potato, and chopped kale are great options.
- Edamame: For a tasty source of plant-based protein. To kick up the heat, use this spicy edamame recipe.
- Mango: Instead of mango, you can use cubed watermelon, pineapple, or pomegranate seeds.
- Avocado: Be sure to slice the avocado and add it to your tuna poke bowls right before serving so it’s nice and fresh.
- Toppings: Don’t skimp on poke tuna bowl toppings! My favorite toppings are black sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, soy sauce, cilantro, and spring or green onions.
How To Make
- Prepare rice for your poke bowl: Rinse the rice under cool water until the water runs clear. Then, add the rice, fresh water, and salt to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat, cover, and let simmer until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. Please double the package instructions for precise timing or use a rice cooker.
- Finish rice with sushi rice vinegar: While the rice cooks, mix salt, brown sugar, and rice vinegar, then stir this mixture in with the rice after removing it from the heat. Cover the saucepan and let the rice rest for 10 minutes.
- Marinate tuna for poke bowls: Rinse the fresh sushi-grade tuna under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels, then cut it into small ¾ inches cubes with a sharp knife. In a large bowl, make the dressing by whisking soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, sesame oil, and Sriracha until combined. Add the tuna, toss well to coat, and set aside to soak (no longer than an hour – ideally 10-15 minutes).
- Prep vegetables: Slice the radishes, shred the red cabbage, cut the carrots into ribbons, slice the avocado, and dice the mango. To thaw the edamame beans, place them in a colander and rinse them under warm water.
- Assemble: Finally, it’s time to put it all together. When the rice has cooled down a little, divide it between the two serving bowls, and add the tuna, fresh-cut vegetables, and toppings. Serve immediately with your favorite poke bowl dressing. I simply use the leftover marinade dressing or some extra soy sauce. Delicious!
How to Store and Make Ahead Tips
Prep and store ahi tuna bowls in advance: It can take some time to prep each element that goes into this tuna poke bowl. However, you can prep basically everything in advance! After prepping, refrigerate each piece in its own container, then build your poke bowl right before serving.
Save prepping the poke until the end: Remember, tuna poke isn’t meant to be marinated for long, so save this step until right before serving.
At its core, poke is fresh-caught raw fish, quickly seasoned and eaten immediately. It can be refrigerated for 2 days maximum (if you are using extremely fresh tuna), but the bright, fresh flavors and aromas will begin to deteriorate soon after.
I like the simplicity of soy sauce, but tamari, spicy mayo, Sriracha, and even vegan fish sauce bring vibrant, umami flavors to the dish.
Traditionally speaking, poke always refers to chunks of raw, quickly marinated fish. Of course, you can use cooked fish, but the bowls will taste like two totally different dishes.
Why I Love This Tuna Poke Bowl Recipe
- The complex and delicious combination of tastes & textures is so good.
- Made with whole foods, rich in vitamins & minerals.
- It makes a satisfying meal for two.
- The elements are easy to personalize.
- Homemade poke bowls are less expensive than poke bowl restaurants.
More Lunch Bowl Recipes You’ll Love
If you try this tuna poke bowl recipe, please leave a comment and a rating and let me know how much you liked it!
Tuna Poke Bowl
Spicy ginger sesame dressing
- 7 oz sushi grade tuna
- 6-8 radishes - sliced
- ½ cucumber - sliced
- ½ cup edamame
- ½ cup carrots - in ribbons
- ½ mango - diced
- 1 avocado - sliced
- Rinse the rice under fresh cold water until the water runs clear.
- In a saucepan, combine the rice with water and salt. Put on the stove and bring to a boil. Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and put the lid on. Cook for around 15 minutes (but please check your rice package instructions).
- In a small bowl, mix salt, brown sugar, and rice vinegar*. Then remove the saucepan from the stove, add the rice vinegar mixture and combine with a wooden spoon. Cover with the lid and let the rice rest for 10 minutes.
- *Note: You can omit this step, especially if you use a different rice type.
- Cut the tuna into small ¾ inches cubes.
- In a bowl, whisk the soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, sesame oil, and sriracha. Add the tuna, mix well, and set aside. Do not marinate the salmon for longer than 1 hour.
- Slice the radishes, shred the red cabbage, cut the carrots into ribbons, slice the avocado and dice the mango. Wash the edamame beans under warm water to defrost. You can also use this spicy edamame recipe if you prefer a spicy version.
- When the rice has cooled down a little, divide it between the two bowls, and add the tuna, vegetables, and toppings. Serve immediately with your favorite sauce (note 3).
Did you make this recipe? Tag @gatheringdreams on Instagram. I want to see it!