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Vegan Poke Bowl with Sesame Cream Sauce

I’ve actually never had a poke bowl… I stopped eating fish long before the poke craze took over America a few years ago, but from what I gather, the only rule is that poke bowls have raw fish. Beyond that, anything goes, it seems.

Well, I guess that means we’re breaking the only rule of Poke, because we’re using tofu instead of fish. However, the tofu in this recipe is thinly-sliced, served cold, and almost “pickled” in rice vinegar, soy, sesame, and nori for some ocean flavors (as are the cucumber and red cabbage). These cold ingredients are placed atop warm brown rice with a sliver of avocado and an amazing sesame cashew cream on top.

This is honestly super delicious and quite unlike anything I’ve ever made before. I have SO MANY rice bowl recipes, but this one is kind of special. The fishy flavors of the nori make it feel like a seafood bowl, and that sesame + cashew cream is insanely good.

It seems like a lot of ingredients / moving parts here, but it’s actually very simple to make – with no “cooking” required if you have some pre-made/leftover brown rice. It came together for me in about 15 minutes even as I was developing the recipe as I went along.

Recipe Note: I didn’t provide measurements for the seasonings like vinegar and soy sauce because we’ll be using them in several places and it would be too tedious – especially since exact measures aren’t needed.

Makes: 2 bowls

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cooked brown rice
  • 8 oz firm tofu
  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 large sheet of nori
  • 2 green onions
  • 1/3 cup cashews
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Soy sauce
  • Toasted sesame oil
  • garlic powder
  • smoked paprika
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish

Prep: make some brown rice and soak 1/3 cup cashews for an hour before blending

Step One: Pickled Vegetables

Thinly-slice the cucumber and red cabbage, then add them to a bowl with a marinade of rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and toasted sesame oil. I’d start with about 1.5 tablespoons vinegar with 2 teaspoons of soy and 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame. Toss to coat and pop these in the fridge to pickle for the 10-15 minutes it takes to finish this recipe

Step Two: Pickled Tofu

Cut the tofu however you’d like. I sliced it into random thin slices which worked well, but you can make small cubes as well. Then marinate it in a very similar mixture as above – rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and toasted sesame oil – but also a generous dash of smoked paprika and some broken up pieces of nori to infuse some oceany flavors…

Step three: Sesame Cream Sauce

In a blender, combine the raw cashews, 1 tbsp nutritional yeast, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, and just enough fresh water (1/2 cup?) to make a cream sauce. Blend until totally smooth.

Step Four: The Poke Bowl!

Add warm brown rice to the bottom of each bowl, then top with the tofu and pickled vegetables. On top of that, add sliced avocado and slivered green onions, and finally a generous drizzle of the sesame cream sauce, some sesame seeds, and (optionally) more sprinkles of nori.

4 Comments

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  1. Hi Andrew – Just a question about the sesame cream sauce – it may be the sesame seed garnish that makes it a sesame sauce but I did not see any sesame ingredients for the sauce and wondered if something was left off the ingredients (otherwise it is a cashew cream sauce). Not trying to be stickler for details – just curious. Sounds delicious! – JD

    • Bah there’s supposed to be about a teaspoon of sesame oil as well. I double and triple checked those steps and still forgot sorry! It’s been fixed.

    • Hi Caroline, ah I have to update the app manually and release a new version in order for new recipes to show up. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to do that soon 🙂

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