Jacob Osborn

How to Make a Healthy Poke Bowl | Man of Many

True to its name, a Hawaiian poke bowl is a bowl with Hawaiian poke in it. And what is Hawaiian poke? It’s a form of diced raw fish—most commonly yellowfin tuna (aka ahi tuna)—that’s seasoned and then served as either an appetiser or main course. The word “poke” actually means “to slice” or “cut crosswise into pieces,” hence the cube-like consistency. When served in a bowl, it’s usually joined by a base of rice or noodles, along with vegetables and sauce.

What is a Poke Bowl?

Compared to your standard lunch break fare, poke bowls can be quite healthy (and delicious). That said, the quality of health benefits is intrinsically correlated to ingredients and portion sizes. In other words, you can overdo it on poke bowls just like you can overdo it on anything else, especially when you go heavy on the sauce. Ultimately, however, traditional poke bowls are lower in calories and higher in nutrition than say a cheeseburger and fries or three slices of pizza.

Are Poke Bowls Healthy?

One sees the words “poke bowl” and immediately pictures diced cubes of raw ahi tuna, but this popular dish has become much broader in terms of its variety and subsequent appeal. In fact, there are some versions that don’t contain any raw fish at all. Does that technically mean those versions aren’t “poke bowls” in the true sense of the concept? It does, but we’re not here to nitpick. When making a poke bowl at home, consider the following types:

Type of Poke Bowls

The most common and classic type mixes cubes of raw salmon or ahi tuna with a heap of savoury ingredients. Naturally, you can substitute whatever form of raw fish you so desire, though be sure that it’s of sashimi-grade quality since you don’t want to get sick. You’re also welcome to cook the fish, though to do so will definitely influence things like taste and texture.

Salmon or Ahi Tuna

Sure, “chicken poke bowl” is an oxymoron, but who cares when you’re scarfing down all that deliciousness? For maximum nutrition, you should poach the chicken, as this method uses water (in lieu of butter or oil) to transfer heat during the cooking process. If the taste is your only concern, fry it up, baby!


Prawns are packed with protein, healthy fats, vitamin B12, iron, and phosphorus. They’re also relatively low in calories, presuming you shy away from heavy amounts of oil or butter, and don’t go overboard in terms of quantity. What more do you need to know?


More than a popular substitute for meat or fish, tofu is quite versatile in its ability to blend with other ingredients. It’s also rich in protein and iron, among other things. For all the vegans and vegetarians out there, this one’s for you.


We know, we know: when are we actually going to make this thing?! Right now. Presumably, you’ve already picked up your protein of choice (see above). Here’s what else you’ll need to make a poke bowl at home:

How to Make Poke Bowl

Start your poke bowl by adding a base ingredient, which enhances texture and furthermore turns your small snack into a full meal. Predictably, you have options, the healthiest among them being brown rice, quinoa, or cabbage, respectively. For something less nutritious (but arguably more satisfying in terms of texture), consider soba noodles or sushi rice instead.


We already dove into which proteins you can add to your poke bowl, so we won’t repeat ourselves here. Just remember to dice the protein up into easily digestible cubes, since it would be way too ironic if you choked to death while trying to be more healthy. Also, you might want to sauce up and season your protein before adding it to the bowl, resulting in a more robust flavour profile.


There’s really no such thing as an unhealthy vegetable and you should load up accordingly. We’re talking carrots, edamame, kimchi, radish, beets, or whatever else works for you.


There is no shortage of “extras” one can add to a poke bowl, including avocado, fish eggs, wasabi peas, tamari almonds, coconut, and seaweed. Ingredients like avocado and almonds are nutritious, but high in calories. Dry seaweed, meanwhile, is light and flavourful. Use your judgment when sprucing up your bowl.


Nothing brings your poke bowl together like the right sauce, but this is also where one can easily go overboard. Soy sauce, for example, is a popular ingredient that contains loads of sodium. We’re not saying you have to leave it off, just that you should apply it sparingly. Roasted sesame dressing is another poke bowl mainstay, but again you don’t want to overdo it. For something a little healthier, stick with extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon, demonstrating proper restraint with the oil.


Feel free to top off your poke bowl with a sprinkle of chilli pepper, or sesame seeds, or green onions, or all of the above. It can deliver the perfect finishing touch.


Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl Recipe with Ponzu Sauce

Healthy Poke Recipes

3-4 cups cooked brown rice
1 pound of sushi-grade ahi tuna, diced
3 green onions, sliced
2 avocados, diced
1 cup diced mango
1 cup diced cucumber
1 cup shelled edamame, steamed
1 jalapeno chilli, sliced
Coriander leaves
2-3 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/2 cup Australian macadamia nuts, chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil (optional)

Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl Recipe with Ponzu Sauce

12 oz sushi- or sashimi- grade tuna, cut into ¾-inch chunks
3 cups cooked forbidden rice ramen noodles (or other noodles such as soba or kelp)
1 large carrot, shredded
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup snow peas, thinly sliced
4 large red radishes, thinly sliced

Furikake Tuna Poke Bowl

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