Vegan Poke Bowl + Crispy Tofu

A vegan poke bowl filled with crispy tofu, lots of colorful veggies, and then topped with a sweet ginger dressing or a spicy dynamite sauce! This vegan version has all the great flavors of a traditional poke bowl while remaining plant-based.

Bowl with chop sticks.

Recently, poke bowls have become very popular, and fast-casual restaurants are popping up everywhere. What is a poke bowl, you ask? Traditional poke bowls are Hawaiian meals with ahi tuna and sushi rice. Sometimes, they are also called sushi bowls.

If you are like me, seafood is off the menu. So, instead, I created this vegan poke bowl recipe where all the fantastic poke flavors shine through without animal products. As I like to think of it, I am making the best parts of a traditional poke bowl for dinner.

Ingredients

Ingredients used in making the recipe.
Ingredients

Tofu Steps

Select the Type of Tofu

Tofu comes in varying degrees of firmness. For this recipe, I recommend using extra-firm tofu. The firmness holds up well during the marinading process.

Tofu is found in grocery stores across the US. If you live near Trader Joe’s, check out their super firm tofu. The texture is perfect for this recipe; you do not need to press out any water.

Press out the Water

Most tofu is sold in a container filled with water. The water is needed to keep the tofu fresh. Before baking the tofu, it is essential to press the water out. The tofu will crisp in the oven and absorb the marinade by removing the water. Here are the two most common ways to remove excess water.

  • Weight – Wrap the tofu block in a clean kitchen towel, similar to a lint-free tea towel. Directly place a heavy object on the tofu, such as a cast-iron or regular pan. Let sit for 15 – 30 minutes.
  • Press – A tofu press is two pieces of plastic or bamboo held together with four screws. The tofu is inserted into the press, and the screws are tightened. The press is placed on its side, and the scores are tightened every 3 – 5 minutes for 15 minutes.

Once pressed, cut the tofu into one-inch cubes. I do this by cutting down the middle, creating two halves. Then, cut one-inch strips. Make a quarter turn and then cut into one-inch strips again. This will create perfect cubes.

Marinade

For this recipe, I am using a sushi-inspired tofu marinade. To make this marinade, you must start with a small bowl. Then mix two tablespoons of cornstarch, two tablespoons of rice vinegar, two tablespoons of soy sauce, two minced garlic close, and one teaspoon of wasabi paste in a medium-sized bowl.

Place the tofu squares in the bowl and gently toss. Let stand for 15 – 20 minutes, occasionally tilting the bowl to move the marinade around.

Move the tofu into a lightly oiled baking dish. Bake at 425F/225C for 25 – 30 minutes or until the edges are crispy. Flip the tofu midway through baking.

Prepare the Rice

Use your favorite type of rice or other grain in this poke bowl. I always use short-grain white rice. Black rice, brown rice, bulgar wheat, cauliflower rice, or quinoa taste great with this recipe. Always prepare the grain according to the package instructions.

Topping Ideas

I loaded this poke bowl up with my favorite sushi flavors, crunchy vegetables, and sweet mango. While I did not use all the fruits and fresh veggies below, I wanted to include the list here for you to customize your bowl to perfection.

  • FRUITS
  • Cubbed Pineapple
  • Mango Chunks
  • Sliced Kiwi
  • Watermelon Cubes
  • VEGGIES
  • Avocado Slices
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Edamame Beans
  • Fresh Radishes
  • Green Onions
  • Red Beets
  • Red Cabbage
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • TOPPINGS
  • Black Sesame Seeds
  • Cilantro Leaves
  • Fresh Ginger
  • Lime Juice
  • Nori Sheets
  • Panko Bread Crumbs
  • White Sesame Seeds
side/top view of finished bowl with chop sticks.

Assemble

Assemble the poke bowl in layers similar to a chipotle bowl. This is how I recommend ordering the layers.

  1. Start with a bed of rice or other grain.
  2. Add the marinated tofu.
  3. Add lots of fresh veggies and fruits.
  4. Top with the dressing of your choice.
  5. Sprinkle the sesame seeds or other topping.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Did Poke Bowls Originate?

Poke bowls are from Hawaii. Poke means ‘to slice’ or ‘cut crosswise into pieces.’ Poke developed with fishermen seasoning the cut-offs from their catch to serve as a snack while fishing.

How Many Calories Are In A Poke Bowl?

The calorie count will vary by ingredients. Depending on your dressing, this bowl has between 417 – and 550 calories. A nutritional label at the bottom of the recipe breaks down the calories.

Is a Poke Bowl Japanese?

While Japanese cuisine has heavily influenced traditional poke flavors, the bowls originated from Hawaii.

Bowl with chop sticks.

Vegan Poke Bowl + Crispy Tofu

A vegan poke bowl filled with crispy tofu, loads of colorful veggies, and then topped with sweet ginger dressing or a spicy dynamite sauce! This vegan version has all the great flavors of a traditional poke bowl while remaining plant-based.
5 from 1 vote
Print Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Hawaiian, Japanese
Servings: 4 bowls
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Equipment

  • Baking dish
  • Large bowl
  • small bowl

Ingredients

Tofu + Marinade

  • 14 ounce block (397g) extra firm tofu block, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons (16g) corn starch
  • 2 tablespoon (32g) rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon (36g) soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) wasabi paste

Rice and Vegetables

  • 2 cups (316g) cooked short-grain rice (white, brown, cauliflower, etc.)
  • ½ cucumber, sliced thin
  • 1 avocado, sliced thin
  • 1 cup (89g) red cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1 cup (155g) edamame, shelled
  • 1 cup (165g) mango, cubbed
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced thin
  • 2 kiwi, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon (8g) sesame seeds

Top with Either Sweet Ginger Dressing or Dynamite Sauce

    Sweet Ginger Dressing

    • ¼ cup (64g) rice vinegar
    • ¼ cup (80g) maple syrup or honey
    • ¼ cup (58g) soy sauce or tamari
    • ½ teaspoon (1g) dried ginger
    • ¼ teaspoon (1.25g) wasabi paste

    Dynamite Sauce

    • ¼ cup (56g) veganaise
    • 1 tablespoon (13g) sriracha
    • ½ teaspoon (2.5g) rice vinegar

    Instructions

    Tofu

    • Preheat oven to 425f/220c.
      Start with pressed tofu. If your tofu needs to have the water pressed out, use a tofu press or wrap the tofu and place a heavy pan on top for 15 – 30 minutes.
    • In a medium bowl, combine the marinade ingredients and the cornstarch. Place the tofu squares in the bowl and gently toss. Let stand for 15 – 20 minutes, occasionally tilting the bowl to move the marinade around. Move the tofu into a lightly oiled baking dish. Bake at 425F/225c for 25 – 30 minutes, flipping the tofu midway through baking.

    Rice and Veggies

    • Prepare rice as directed on the package. While the rice is cooking prepare the vegetables.

    Sweet Ginger Dressing or Dynamite Sauce

    • In a small bowl combine all the ingredients together. See above for correlating ingredients.

    Assembly

    • Layer each bowl starting with the rice, then add tofu, veggies, and dressing and sprinkle the top with sesame seeds.

    Notes

    Make-Ahead Instructions: All the ingredients can be made up to three days in advance. If possible, store in separate containers.
    Refrigerate Instructions: Place in an air-tight container and store in the refrigerator for up to three days. I recommend removing the avocado. While it can last, I think they always taste and look the best fresh.
    Freezing Instructions: The rice and tofu can be frozen in an airtight container for up to one month.  However, the fruits and veggies do not freeze well. 
    Affiliate: The equipment section may contain affiliate links to products used in this recipe.
     

    Nutrition

    Nutrition Facts
    Vegan Poke Bowl + Crispy Tofu
    Amount per Serving
    Calories
     
    550
    Calories from Fat 198
    % Daily Value*
    Fat
     
    22
    g
    34
    %
    Sodium
     
    1457
    mg
    63
    %
    Carbohydrates
     
    88
    g
    29
    %
    Fiber
     
    13
    g
    54
    %
    Sugar
     
    26
    g
    29
    %
    Protein
     
    25
    g
    50
    %
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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    2 Comments

      1. I swear by baking it with corn starch! I also like it cut into thin cubes. It helps to get the super firm tofu.

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