With savory pan-fried tofu, vibrant vegetables, and brown rice, this beautifully crafted Vegan Poke Bowl makes the perfect midweek meal. It’s healthy, delicious, and super easy to make. Ready in 20 minutes!
This recipe is brought to you in partnership with Mizkan.
Cooking up healthy meals to keep my family nourished has always been a priority of mine. It is more important than ever to help you eat well and feed your family well.
Today I have this delicious, quick-to-make, nutritious and mood-boosting Vegan Poke Bowl recipe for you.
Why You’ll Love This Vegan Poke Bowl
I like to think of poke bowls as a brilliant adaptation of sushi and rice bowl in one. While traditional poke bowls feature raw fish, we can definitely go without the fish and still enjoy this bright flavored, Hawaiian-influenced dish. Take cues from this vegan poke bowl – it has all the fresh flavors and textural factors.
There are just so many reasons to love this recipe:
- Super easy and quick to make – literally 20 minutes to put together!
- Fresh, healthy ingredients for your body and soul.
- Pan-fried tofu in a spicy and savory sauce… the bomb!
- Meal-prep friendly!
- No sashimi-grade fish involved, but it’s very fulfilling, even for a big man like Mr. JOC.
The Delicious Savory Poke Sauce for Tofu
Since tofu is the featured player in the vegan poke bowl, you need to season it with a good sauce. My sauce is very simple and uses only 4 condiments:
- Soy sauce
- Rice vinegar
- Sesame oil
- Chili sauce/paste of your choice – I used an Indonesian chile paste, sambal oelek, but you can substitute with sriracha sauce.
When combining them together, you get a savory, tangy, nutty sauce with a nice touch of heat. It’s also plenty to go around to elevate the flavor of the bowl.
The Right Vinegar for All Japanese Recipes
Because of the simplicity of the sauce, you’ll want to use the right vinegar for this recipe.
As a matter of fact, I exclusively use Mizkan Natural Rice Vinegar in my cooking, just like my mom and my grandma did, and always recommend my readers to use it. Genuinely crafted with real organic ingredients, the rice vinegar has a mild tang, refreshing aroma, the right amount of acidity, and does not overpower a dish. It is the perfect accent to any meal and makes it easy to create authentic recipes at home.
If you wish to replicate the uniquely delicious flavor of Japanese cooking, I cannot emphasize the importance of getting quality rice vinegar. It is one of the 6 must-have Japanese condiments after all! Whether you’re looking to create a modern recipe, like this Vegan Poke Bowl, or try your hand at a more traditional meal, I always recommend using Mizkan.
How to Make Vegan Poke Bowl (3 Simple Steps!)
- Cook the tofu and season it: Cut the tofu into bite-sized cubes and pan-fry them. Add seasonings and let them absorb all the delicious seasonings!
- Prepare the vegetables: See my tips below.
- Assemble the rice bowl: Serve steamed rice in a large bowl, and then start topping with bulky ingredients, like pan-fried tofu, avocado, and shredded cabbage. Then top with lighter ingredients like julienned carrot, edamame, and sliced cucumbers. Garnish with sesame seeds and scallion, and it’s done!
3 Helpful Tips
1. Decide what type of tofu to use.
After trying different tofu for the Vegan Poke Bowl, my family liked these two types of deep-fried tofu.
The deep-fried firm tofu on the left is our favorite choice for the poke bowl. It is denser than “firm” tofu. The fried crust not only keeps its shape but also gives delicious savory flavor. Once you cut it into cubes, the inside is tender and absorbs all the delicious sauce! You can purchase this type of tofu in the refrigerated section in regular (American) grocery stores.
The right tofu is a common crispy, fried tofu puffs that you can find in Asian grocery stores. It can also be called deep-fried tofu squares or sponge fried tofu. These fried tofu puffs are made with crispy tofu skin that acts like a sponge. It’s great in absorbing flavors, but you may feel you’re eating air as it lacks the tofu texture.
2. Choose a variety of colorful toppings
For a speedy preparation, I pick a rainbow range of vegetables that are ready to eat raw. Not only you cut down on cooking time, but these fresh, crisp vegetables also provide a nice contrast to the tender steamed rice and tofu. The result is a well-balanced, exciting bowl that is packed with flavors and textures.
In this recipe, I added avocado, carrot, cucumber, edamame, red cabbage, scallion, and watermelon radish. Feel free to switch up with different vegetables such as sunflower sprouts, ready-made pickles, cherry tomatoes, red radish, or mango!
3. Consider the construction and composition
The poke bowl is meant to showcase fresh ingredients and colorful vegetables in a beautifully presented bowl. So it’s worth thinking about how you would want to prepare the vegetables or toppings. – whether thinly sliced or artfully cubed – they should be easily mixed in together when you eat.
When assembling the bowl, arrange the ingredients to highlight a spectrum of colors. Mix and dig in only when ready to eat!
There are so many different and fun ways to serve this Vegan Poke Bowl. You can leave out the rice for a lighter poke bowl, or toss in mango or pineapple cubes for some tropical vibe, or top with some shredded seaweed or pickled ginger. The bowl is yours to enjoy!
Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.
Vegan Poke Bowl
For Pan-Fried Tofu
For Vegan Poke Bowl
- 1 carrot (3.5 oz, 100 g)
- ¼ English cucumber (2 oz, 57 g)
- ½ watermelon radish (2.5 oz, 70 g)
- ⅛ red cabbage (3 oz, 90 g)
- 2 green onions/scallions (1 oz, 30 g)
- ½ avocado (3.5 oz, 100 g)
- 1 lime
- 2 cups cooked Japanese short-grain brown rice
- 2 Tbsp shelled edamame (1 oz)
- ½ tsp toasted black sesame seeds
- ½ tsp toasted white sesame seeds
- Gather all the ingredients.
To Make Pan-Fried Tofu
- If you want to serve hot tofu, start preparing the vegetables first (scroll down) and come back to this step later. Otherwise, thinly slice the white onion.
- Open the tofu package and remove any moisture with a paper towel. Cut the tofu into bite-sized pieces, about 12 pieces.
- Heat sesame oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and add the white onion.
- Sauté until the onion is coated with oil. Then add the tofu cubes.
- Once the tofu is coated with oil, add soy sauce, Mizkan Natural Rice Vinegar, and sambal oelek.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and coat the tofu with the sauce. Turn off the heat and remove it from the stove once the tofu is well-coated with the sauce.
To Prepare Vegetables (Toppings)
- Julienne the carrot. Cut the carrot into thin slabs and then cut into julienne strips. I use this julienne peeler and cut in half lengthwise.
- Peel the cucumber skin, leaving some part unpeeled (so it looks nice), and cut into thin slices.
- Peel the watermelon radish and cut into thin slices.
- Remove the tough core of the red cabbage and thinly shred.
- Diagonally cut the green onions/scallions into thin slices.
- Gently peel the avocado and cut into ½ inch slices.
- Then cut the avocado into cubes. Cut the lime in half and squeeze the juice over the avocado to prevent it from browning.
To Assemble Vegan Poke Bowls
- Serve the cooked brown rice in two large bowls. Place the bulky ingredients first, such as pan-fried tofu, avocado, and red cabbage. Then add the rest of the ingredients. Sprinkle sesame seeds and green onions on top.