Let’s talk about how to make a great vegetarian poke bowl. Poke is a much-loved, traditional, raw fish preparation, long popular in Hawaii. Fishermen would season bits of their catch, and snack on it while working. Poke (pronounced poh-kay) has exploded in popularity, well beyond Hawaii, in recent years. The version I’m posting today is for any of you who love the idea of poke or poke bowls, but don’t eat fish for whatever reason. Vegetarian poke bowls are particularly fantastic this time of year because they’re light, clean, filling but not heavy, you know?
Vegetarian Poke Bowl: The Components
I typically use a watermelon poke, a version of this sushi rice (but any favorite sushi rice / blend will do), and a host of other vibrant toppings. Here you see firm, organic tofu, sliced avocado, blanched asparagus, shaved watermelon radish, and micro sprouts. If you have guacamole on hand, use a dollop of that! The bowl is drizzled, simply, with good soy sauce. And there’s a sprinkling of sesame seeds and scallions. The other topping I really crave, not pictured here, is a showering of crispy, fried shallots.
When it comes to toppings, what you see here is just a jumping off point. And I encourage you to play around with all the components. For example, you might trade in roasted squash cubes for the watermelon later in the year. Or, perhaps, a different melon varietal. And you could do roasted onions in place of scallions. Or, play around with the drizzle on top. For a quick poke bowl, I just do a soy sauce drizzle, but you could whip up something more complex. Have fun with it!
Although, it can be argued, a vegetarian poke bowl isn’t a real poke bowl, it’s a great meal just the same. Keep your eyes peeled for other inspiration as well. I love seeing the creative vegetarian versions on menus at poke spots all over. Lots of ideas there that you might replicate in your own kitchens!