Hawaiian poke is a rice bowl topped with fresh fish and lots of fun toppings, like avocado! A super simple, light meal. Look for sushi-grade salmon when shopping.
Photography Credit:Lisa Lin
The first time I ever ate raw fish was when I was about ten or eleven years old. I was at a Japanese buffet, and my mother told me to eat only the expensive foods so we would get our money’s worth, which meant seafood and sashimi. Of course, I didn’t particularly enjoy raw fish, but being the dutiful daughter, I heeded her advice.
It wasn’t until I started eating poke bowls a few years ago that I warmed up to the idea of dishes with raw fish!
What Is A Poke Bowl
A poke bowl (pronounced po-kay!) is a Hawaiian dish of diced fresh fish served on top of rice with plenty of extra fixings like avocado, radishes, and cucumbers.
The fish is usually tuna, but salmon and other sashimi-quality fish can be used as well. The diced fish gets tossed with a simple dressing of soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil, which makes a nice compliment to the whole bowl.
Make sure to buy only very high quality salmon since you’ll be eating it raw. In Japanese supermarkets, fish is labeled “sashimi” when it’s safe to eat raw. Otherwise, ask your fishmonger about the quality of the fish.
Assembling Your Poke Bowl
Once you have your fish, the rest of the poke bowl comes together really quickly. Just cook some rice, toss the fish with the dressing, and serve! I like to place all the extra toppings on the table so that everyone can help themselves.
Here are some great toppings you can add:
- Sliced cucumber
- Sliced radish
- Sliced or cubed avocado
- Thinly sliced scallions
- Red pepper flakes
Eat Right Away!
Poke bowls are a fresh dish, meant to be eaten right away. Prepare all the components just before serving, and don’t plan on leftovers!
Making a Gluten-Free Poke Bowl
If you are looking for a gluten-free poke bowl, use tamari instead of soy sauce. Tamari has a more intense flavor, so I would use only 3 tablespoons of tamari for the sauce.
Also, because tamari has a much deeper color, the salmon pieces will not look as vibrant once they have been mixed with the dressing.
Feeling the Hawaiian Vibe? Try These Recipes!
- Sheet Pan Hawaiian Chicken
- Hawaiian Pork Burger
- Hawaiian Oxtail Soup
- Hawaiian Pizza
Salmon Avocado Poke Bowl Recipe
I use short-grain white rice (sometimes also called "sushi rice") in my bowls, but it's fine to use medium- or long-grain rice if that's what you have in your kitchen.
Gluten-free option: Substitute 3 tablespoons of tamari for the soy sauce. Because of the deeper color of the tamari, your salmon may not look as vibrant once mixed with the dressing.
For the poke bowl:
- 1 cup short-grain white rice
- 1 pound sashimi-grade salmon
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
Other toppings for your bowl:
- Sliced cucumber
- Sliced radish
- 1 large avocado, cubed
- Red pepper flakes
1 Cook the rice: Start the rice first and prep the rest of the ingredients while it cooks. Rinse the rice a few times under cool water, rubbing it gently with your hands, until the water isn't quite so cloudy. Then cook the rice according to package instructions or in a rice cooker. Fluff and keep covered until ready to eat.
2 Prepare the salmon: Gently pat the salmon all over to make sure that there are no pin bones still lodged in the fillet; if there are, use needle-nosed pliers to remove them. Cut the salmon into 1/2-inch cubes. Add the salmon into a medium bowl and set aside.
3 Make the dressing: In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sugar and garlic powder. The garlic powder and sugar will not dissolve completely, but that's fine.
4 Combine the salmon and the dressing: Add the sliced scallions to the bowl with the salmon, saving 1 to 2 tablespoons for garnish. Add the soy sauce mixture to the salmon and scallions. Using a large spoon or a rubber spatula, gently mix the salmon with the soy sauce mixture.
5 Serve: Divide the rice between each bowl and then the salmon. Top with the rest of the sliced scallions, sliced cucumber, sliced radishes, diced avocado, furikake and red pepper flakes, if you like. The poke bowl is best enjoyed immediately.
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Sticky Rice Poke Bowl with Sesame Salmon
Sticky Rice Poke Bowl with Sesame Salmon
Poke Bowl Recipes For A Healthy and Hearty Meal
1. Hamachi Poke
If you think salmon and tuna are all there is to make poke bowl recipes, think again. Using a fresh and special fish like hamachi will change the way you think about poke bowls forever!
2. Ahi Poke Bowl with Pineapple and Avocado
Say hello to your new island escape! Eating this pineapple-avocado poke bowl will make you feel like it’s summer no matter where you are. Adding sesame seeds give it the right amount of crunch.
3. Seared Hawaiian Beef Poke Bowl
Who says you can’t put red meat in a poke bowl? If you want a break from using fish, try this seared Hawaiian beef poke bowl. The recipe still calls for some classic ingredients such as soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame, onions, and ginger.
4. Ocean Trout Poke Bowl
Poke bowls don’t always have to be made with salmon or tuna. Try making it with trout instead! Despite using another type of fish, the recipe keeps it classic by using toasted sesame seeds, seaweed, ginger, and tamari.
5. Salmon Poke with Creamy Togarashi Sauce
It’s never a bad idea to experiment with salmon. It has such a beautiful texture, it goes great with almost anything. Sushi-grade salmon, avocado, and edamame tossed in a classic seven spice blend. If you’re making your first poke bowl, this is the recipe to try.
6. Ahi Tuna Poke and Mango Salad
This Ahi tuna poke bowl is perfect for pescatarians. You’ll find poke bowl staples here like mango, avocado, and of course, raw fish but it has a twist with some seaweed and sesame seeds.
7. Easy Hawaiian Shrimp Poke Bowl
Going for an authentic poke bowl? Try this Hawaiian shrimp poke bowl. The variety of fruits and thinly sliced vegetables complement the beautiful texture of shrimp. Once you’ve tried this, you won’t get enough of it!
8. Spicy Sockeye Salmon Poke Bowl
Poke bowl recipes can get spicy, too! The secret is in the sauce—the right mixture of soy sauce, Sriracha sauce, sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar. Get the sauce right and you’ll have this poke bowl again and again.
9. Vegetarian Poke Bowl with Tofu & Avocado
Here’s a healthy vegetarian poke bowl packed with tofu, veggies, and a dash of Japanese seasonings. Mixing avocados and tofu in one dish is the combination you never knew you needed.
10. Ahi Poke Bowl with Quinoa
Tired of using the same old white rice for your poke bowl recipes? Try quinoa instead. The combination of lime juice and hot sauce help make this gluten-free poke bowl truly one of a kind.
11. Spicy Ponzu Salmon Poke Bowl
Chili peppers, tamari, and lemon make up the special ponzu sauce used for this poke bowl recipe. Cilantro and radishes are used with the salmon. It’s bright, refreshing, and flavorful with the right kick of heat.
12. Watermelon Poke Bowl
Have you ever thought of replacing your salmon or tuna with watermelon? Does the idea sound crazy? It might surprise you that this recipe is a smash hit poke bowl! The crunch of those macadamia nuts creates the perfect contrast with those succulent watermelons.
13. Ahi Tuna and Spicy Salmon Poke Bowl
One is normally enough but two kinds of raw fish in a poke bowl? The idea is mouthwatering. The combination of sushi-grade yellowfin tuna and salmon gives the poke bowl a splendid flavor plus the thinly sliced scallions and shallot add a delicate but crunchy texture. All these are made even more sublime with a touch of fish roe, shelled edamame, t oasted nori, and f urikake.
14. Ahi Poke Sushi Bowl with Wasabi Sauce
People have found various ways to make their poke bowl recipes spicy but nothing quite beats wasabi sauce blending perfectly with tuna! This spicy tuna poke recipe is like a deconstructed sushi with fruits.
15. Tofu Poke Bowl With Sesame Glazed Carrots
This is how a healthy lunch is done. Why settle for ordinary ingredients? Go for sesame-glazed carrots, black rice, and radishes to make your poke bowl more unique.
16. Soy Sauce Ahi Poke Bowl
They say less is more and it’s true even for poke bowl recipes. This ahi poke bowl is simply made ahi tuna, green onions, and sweet yellow onion tossed in a quick and easy sauce.
17. Smoked Salmon & Black Rice Poke Bowl
We’ve used white rice, brown rice, and quinoa. Why not use black rice? The result is amazing. The light yet filling black rice paired with smoked salmon in chili sauce makes this poke bowl recipe extraordinary.
Watch this video from Honeysuckle for poke bowl recipes done three ways:
Whether you’re always on the go or looking for a great way to start eating healthy, these poke bowl recipes are the answer. How can you go wrong with a dish which combines nutrition, flavor, and a quick and easy method? Change your culinary habits one poke bowl at a time. You won’t regret it!
How do you like making your poke bowls? Let us know in the comments section below! Don’t forget to keep in touch, foodies!
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Editor’s Note – This post was originally published on October 2016 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.
Salmon Avocado Poke Bowl with Spicy Ponzu Sauce
Salmon and rosé are a classic duo, even with a ponzu marinade. The ripe strawberry and watermelon overtones of a Tavel from the Rhône Valley play off the rich flavor of the fish, while the tangy mineral finish contrasts with the fat.
This on-trend dish with Hawaiian roots is typically prepared with tuna we’ve swapped it for salmon and added avocado for a silky texture and a dose of good fat. Nutritious and simple to prepare, these bowls are perfect for steamy nights when you’re dreaming of palms trees by the sea.
Serves 4 Total time: 20 mins
For the bowls
1 pound sashimi grade salmon, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 avocado, cubed
1/2 cup scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
1 cup shelled edamame, steamed
1 medium carrot, julienned
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
Cooked white or brown rice, served hot
Salt and pepper to taste
For the marinade
5 tablespoons soy sauce
5 tablespoons fresh citrus juice (lemon, lime, or orange)
2 tablespoons mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together marinade ingredients.
2. Add salmon, avocado, half the scallion, and red onion to marinade. Toss to coat. Taste and adjust seasoning, accounting for saltiness of soy in marinade. Refrigerate until ready to serve. (Fish will start to cook as it sits in the citrus.)
3. Divide rice between bowls. Spoon fish and avocado mixture over rice.
4. Garnish with remaining scallion, carrot, edamame. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top. Serve.
Place the quinoa in a bowl, cover with warm water and rinse well. Drain in a fine sieve. Add the measured water to a saucepan and bring it to a boil over a high heat. Once boiling, add the quinoa and salt . Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover with a lid and simmer for 15 min or until the liquid is fully absorbed and the quinoa is tender.
2 Mix salmon
Meanwhile, finely chop the smoked salmon and add it to a large bowl. Trim the spring onions and add them to the same bowl along with the sour cream , dijon mustard , pepper and a squeeze of lime . Mix well.
3 Make dressing
Finely chop the coriander and add it to a small bowl. Add the remaining lime juice, sugar , soy sauce , and sesame oil . Mix well. This is your dressing .
4 Prep toppings
Slice the avocado in half and remove its stone. Scoop the avocado out of its skin using a spoon and slice it. Rinse the edamame . Peel the cucumber until you are left with a pile of cucumber ribbons.
Divide the quinoa among bowls and top with the salmon , edamame , cucumber and avocado . Drizzle with the dressing . Serve the sushi ginger on the side.
10 Most Delicious Poke Bowl Recipes
If you’ve never had a poke bowl before, you’re in for a treat! Even if you have, you’re probably accustomed to ordering them at restaurants or sushi bars. Why not make your own at home?
While poke is a fabulously healthy option even when eating out most of the time, controlling and customizing your ingredients will save you money, ensure quality ingredients that agree with YOUR body, and give you the best taste possible.
We have a roundup of some of the tastiest poke bowl recipes we could find.
If you can get your hands on some sushi-grade fish, the rest is simple! The fish is totally worth the splurge, too.
These are great summertime dishes to cool down with, and you can definitely do some poke prep by making bowls earlier in the week to tote in your lunchbox.
You can learn how to build your own poke bowl here, or get some serious fish-spiration with these poke ideas.
1. Spicy paleo poke bowls
Traditional poke isn’t going to be strict paleo as it usually features some rice, so we thought we’d kick things off with this grain-free poke bowl. It uses avocado oil mayonnaise from Sir Kensington’s mixed with Sriracha for a creamy, spicy sauce to toss around that fresh ahi in.
The rest is up to you with the veggies. This recipe uses cabbage, carrot, seaweed, avocado, and even some fresh mango to sweeten things up. Get the details from Caroline Potter.
2. Tuna poke avocado boats
Why not swap your bowl for an avocado? This is one of our favorite real food hacks for stepping up any meal’s deliciousness potential.
Avocado is a fabulous complement to any poke bowl in the first place, so we love this boat recipe packed with tuna, macadamia nuts, cucumber, and Whole30-compliant sesame oil and coconut aminos, skipping out on the soy. Get the recipe from Anya’s Eats.
3. Ahi poke stack
Why put it in a bowl when you could stack it up like this? Dinner for one or cooking for guests, this one is totally impressive and totally tasty – even if you can’t keep it in one piece while you eat it!
It’s like poke Jenga, layered with a beautifully sweet marinade, tuna, cucumber, broccoli slaw, tomatoes, and avocado. The best part might be the grain-free won-ton it’s served atop. Can you say YUM? Get the recipe from Paleo Cupboard.
4. Spicy wild Alaskan sockeye salmon poke bowls
With this bowl, you’ll be eating the rainbow and loving every second of it. Salmon is a fabulous choice for poke bowls, especially if you’re watching mercury levels as it doesn’t contain quite as much as tuna (which is 100% fine and healthy on occasion!).
It’s served atop a beautiful crunchy salad, shown here with cabbage, carrots, avocado, and edamame. This dish also comes with a quick pickled cucumber recipe that’ll bring a bit of tang to the picture! Get the recipe from Jessica Gavin.
5. Shoyu ahi poke
Shoyu ahi is a traditional Hawaiian dish of raw fish with soy sauce and sesame oil. It’s fabulous over a bed of steamed rice and/or with all of the veggies your heart desires.
This bowl is seasoned with furikake – an umami-packed sea veggie – to deepen the flavor and add some extra layers to this already tasty poke! There’s also a paleo adaptation for this to keep it Happy Body Formula-friendly and soy-free.
6. Spicy shrimp poke bowl
Poke isn’t limited to just tuna and salmon. You can pretty much use any sushi-grade fish, and shrimp is yet another delicious option for building your own bowl.
Shrimp is by far the most budget-friendly of the bunch, so if you need your fix without having to dish out the big bucks, this might be your best bet! This recipe is served over rice with prawns coated in a dreamy mayo-based sauce.
You can serve it with anything else you have handy including nutrient-dense sprouts or vibrant watermelon radish like this bowl. Get the recipe from Abby Langer Nutrition.
7. Seared Hawaiian beef poke
Variety is the spice of life, so this fun poke-themed bowl made with seared beef instead is a fabulous idea for both the wallets and BBQ parties alike!
It’s got a similar seasoning you’ll find in most traditional Hawaiian poke bowls with the soy and sesame, and the light sear will lock that flavor in while the tender, rare inside melts in your mouth.
It’s served atop a fresh chopped salad of onion, radish, cucumber, tomato, and chillies for a kick. Get the recipe from Great British Chefs.
8. Salmon poke with macadamia nuts & fried shallots
The perfect poke bowl has it all. It’s got some raw food and some cooked food. It’s got sweet notes and spicy notes. It’s got some crunch to it to add texture alongside that melt-in-your-mouth raw fish.
It’s got a bit of smoke and tons of umami. That’s why we love this recipe. It brings in healthy fats from buttery macadamia nuts and next-level flavor with a simple topping of fried shallots where a little go a long way.
9. Tuna, nori, & avocado poke bowl
Perhaps the best part about this begins with the rice “salad” at the bottom. It’s a luscious, tasty, and healthy mix of short-grain brown rice and white sushi rice.
It’s topped off with beautiful tuna, strips of salty, iodine-rich nori, and ripe avocado then dusted with sesame seeds and macadamia nuts, toasted to perfection. Get the recipe from Good Food.
10. Salmon & avocado poke bowl
Salmon and avocado are pretty standard fare in the world of poke. This mixture is served atop a green-infused brown rice salad, boasting strands of nutritious and deliciously spicy arugula and Chinese-style dijon mustard for a unique spin on the classic!
Top it off with fish roe or caviar for the best results (and because you deserve to feel fancy). Get the recipe from Eating Well.
Hungry now? Share this with your sushi-loving friends, or plan a DIY poke night! Let us know which recipe you’re most excited to test out. Share this roundup on Pinterest from here!
Cook the jasmine rice and chop the salad ingredients:
- Cook the jasmine rice according to package directions.
- While the rice cooks, chop all the salad ingredients for later use.
Prepare the salmon and soy-ginger dressing:
- Mix the avocado oil, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, sesame oil, ginger and garlic.
- Chop the salmon into ½ inch cubes.
- Pour 1 tablespoon of the prepared soy-ginger dressing over the chopped salmon and mix together. Save the remaining dressing for topping the salad bowls later.
Assemble the poke salad bowls:
- In two bowls distribute the rice, kale, red cabbage, cucumber, carrots, radishes, avocado and dressed salmon.
- Top the bowls with sesame seeds, green onions and the remaining soy-ginger dressing.
I like to think of my favorite sushi rolls and use those to inspire creativity when making a bowl. One of the best parts of poke bowls is the customization!
- fish of your choice
- jalapeno (I love the crunch they give!)
- sesame seeds
- green onions (I used Josie's Organics, of course!)
- asparagus spears
- bell pepper
Serve poke on your Rice Buns for a sushi burger approach with crab salad (recipe for crab salad using REAL crab coming soon), seaweed salad, avocado, etc., or make a poke bowl with choice of rice and toppings.
You can also enjoy poke on a green salad, or eat it as an appetizer with Baked Wonton Chips. Get creative with how you enjoy your carefully crafted poke, then report back to me on what you do, pleeeeease!!
Please, please leave me a comment or send me an email if you have any questions or concerns!
How to Make a Poke Bowl
To start, you need to determine your base. The most common base for a poke bowl is sushi rice. I didn’t have sushi rice when I decided to make this dish, so I just used plain white rice.
Do You Need Sushi Rice?
Sushi rice is ideal, but not necessary. However, for a more authentic taste, you will want to change the flavor of your white rice to mimic that of sushi rice. To do this, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of rice vinegar to the rice and a couple of tablespoons of sugar.
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Preparing the Salmon
For the salmon or salmon belly, the important thing is to start with the highest quality of fresh fish. If the package does not say sushi grade, ask your fish monger if you can use it for sushi or poke.
Next, you want to cut the salmon into 1/2-inch cubes. For a sauce that will help bring out this rich salmon’s flavor, coat the fish with soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, rice vinegar, and scallions. Let the mixture sit to the side while you prepare the other toppings.
As I mentioned before, you can top your poke with a variety of toppings depending on your taste. You can stick with a more Hawaiian theme and add pineapple, edamame, and nori, or you can go with the more traditional route similar to what I prepared with cucumber, avocado, carrots, seaweed, and scallions.
The key to making the best poke bowls is to use toppings with a variety of flavors and textures. Add don’t forget extras like crunchy garlic or fried shallots. Or, for an added kick, use some Sriracha or wasabi.
- 4 cups cooked rice
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 4 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 4 teaspoons sesame oil
- ¼ teaspoon chile oil (Optional)
- ¾ pound sashimi-grade salmon, cut into small cubes
- 1 avocado, sliced, or to taste
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced, or more to taste
- ¼ cup shelled edamame, or more to taste
- 4 sheets dried seaweed, cut into strips, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon pickled ginger, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon furikake (Japanese nori seasoning), or to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped green onion, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, or to taste
Divide rice among 4 bowls.
Mix soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and chile oil in a bowl to make dressing. Mix salmon with the dressing. Divide among the 4 bowls.
Top bowls with avocado, red bell pepper, edamame, seaweed, pickled ginger, and furikake seasoning. Garnish with chopped green onion a sprinkling of sesame seeds.