This colorful quinoa poke bowl is the perfect meal to enjoy during the hot summer days. Made with tomato-tuna in place of the raw fish and filled with protein-rich quinoa, it makes for a beautiful nourishing bowl that's filling and SO flavorful!
Even though I could eat veggie poke bowls everyday, it's just not the kind of meal that's super accessible. I enjoy the fact that most poke restaurants now offer a tofu option, but poke places are not super common. Unless you live in a big city. And woah, they can be so expensive too!
So, the solution is simply to make it yourself! There are tons of ways to enjoy a vegetarian version of poke bowls (check out this portobello poke!) and they are super easy to make. You can also easily customize your meal with what you already have in your house.
This modern twist on the classic poke bowl is packed with quinoa, cucumbers, fresh sweet mangoes and avocado. But, the best part is definitively the tomato tuna that replaces the usual raw fish. Fresh Roma tomatoes are blanched (5 min!), diced and then soaked in a savory delicious quick marinade. The texture of the marinated tomatoes is super fun and it really gives a fish-y taste and look to your vegan poke.
Making vegan tomato tuna
I had tomato tuna for the first time when I got a vegan bowls at the Copper Branch back home in Quebec when visiting my family. I remember being shocked when I realized I was actually eating tomatoes and have been wanting to reproduce the tomato tuna since then. Let's just say that I am not disappointed!
The flesh from blanched tomatoes surprisingly has a great fish-y texture (I know, it's super odd). After soaking the tomatoes pieces in a homemade poke sauce, it really has the most satisfying taste that's perfect for poke bowls.
This tomato tuna recipe can also be used when making vegan sushi or even sashimi! Simply adjust the way you cut the tomatoes depending of what you are making.
How to blanch and peel the tomatoes
To prepare the tomatoes for the marinade, you will first have to blanch and peel them. Blanching vegetables can be done for many different reasons, but in this case, it is mostly done to help peel the tomatoes and prepare them for the marinade.
To blanch them, make a "X" with a knife on the edge of the tomatoes just deep enough to cut through the peel. Then, add them to a pot containing boiling water. Let the tomatoes boil for only about a minute, then transfer them to a bowl containing very cold water (add ice cubes to it if possible).
Once the tomatoes are cold enough to handle, simply pull on their peels to remove them (it should be very easy to do). Then, cut the peel-less tomatoes in half and core them using a knife (remove + discard their very watery and seeds interiors).
Cut the remaining walls of the tomatoes in bite size and transfer to a bowl before adding the marinade ingredients to them. Let the diced tomato marinate for at least 30 minutes, or more if possible.
Build the quinoa poke bowl
While the tomato tuna is marinating, cook the quinoa and prepare the other fresh ingredients.
Once ready to eat, divide the quinoa (with some fresh greens if desired) in between 2 bowls, then distribute the mango, avocado and cucumber. Top with the tomato tuna and add a good drizzle of the remaining marinade over the poke bowl. Garnish with a spicy mayo and sesame seeds, if desired.
To make the spicy mayo, simply combine some vegan mayo, sriracha and a splash of soy sauce. Add as much sriracha as you want!
Watch how to make it
Variation to this quinoa poke bowl recipe
Poke bowls are amazingly versatile as you can really fill your bowl with all of your favorite food. I find the tomato-avocado-cucumber-mango (yes, mangoes and tomatoes are a great match) work so well together both in flavor and texture. But, so many other ingredients would also be a good fit. Try adding:
- pickled ginger
- sriracha sauce to the tomato tuna marinade
- roughly broken nori sheet for extra fishy flavor
- fresh herbs (cilantro)
- onion flavor (sliced green onion as a final garnish or finely diced white onion added to the tomato tuna marinade)
Also, quinoa contains lots of protein, but if you are worried about not being full for long enough, then you can add edamame, roasted tofu or simply double the amount of quinoa.
Tips when making these vegan poke bowls
- To make the recipe quicker when ready to eat, try to prepare the tomato tuna ahead. You can simply let it marinade longer in the fridge. Also, batch cooking quinoa ahead of time is super helpful, you can then use it for bowls like this one, but also add it to your overnight oats, salads, warm oatmeals or soups.
- Look for Roma kind of tomatoes. They have a more meaty texture and less seeds, which is perfect for making this recipe.
- This vegan poke is filled with fresh produce, so of course, the better the fruits and vegetables are, the more delicious your bowl will be.
- Although you can easily meal-prep this recipe by having the tomato tuna and quinoa ready to go in the fridge, it is best to build the bowl when just ready to eat. The avocado can brown with time after being opened up and keeping the quinoa away from the poke sauce until the last minute will help keep everything fresh.
Other healthy bowls you might like
I hope you enjoy this vegan poke bowl as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
Quinoa Poke Bowl with Tomato Tuna
For the tomato tuna
- 3 Roma tomatoes
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ½ tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- ½ tsp fresh ginger - grated
For the poke bowl
- ½ cup uncooked quinoa - rinsed
- 1 mango - diced
- 1 avocado - sliced
- cucumber - diced
- vegan spicy mayo, store bought or homemade - for topping, optional, see note
- sesame seeds - for serving, optional
Make the tomato tuna
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. When boiling, prepare a large bowl with cold water (you can add ice cubes to it). Using a knife, make a "X" on one of the edge of the tomatoes (just enough to go through the peel). When the water is boiling, add the tomatoes and keep boiling for about a minute. Then, remove the tomatoes and transfer right away in the cold water. When the tomatoes are cold enough to handle, simply remove their peels (it should be easy to simply pull on them!), cut them in half, remove their seeds and chop in bite size.
- Transfer the diced tomatoes to a bowl and add the remaining of the tomato tuna ingredients. Combine and set aside for at least 20-30 minutes.
Make the poke bowl
- While the tomatoes are marinating, cook the quinoa: In a small pot, combine the rinsed quinoa with 1 cup of water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, keep covered and cook for about 15 minutes or until the water is all absorbed. Then, remove from the heat and let it sit for an extra 5-10 minutes (keep covered).
- Divide the cooked quinoa, marinated tomato tuna and the other toppings among 2 bowls. Drizzle with the remaining sauce used to marinate the tomatoes and drizzle with a spicy mayo, if desired. Top with sesame seeds. Enjoy!
- To prepare your own spicy vegan mayo, combine about ¼ cup of vegan mayo with 1-2 (or more) tbsp of sriracha sauce and a splash of soy sauce.