Rainbow Poke Bowl with Seared Tuna

This Rainbow Poke Bowl centers on seared tuna for an “everything in a bowl” dinner inspired by Hawaiian poke. Rice bowls are great meals to serve when you have eaters who may be a little picky, because they can have more of this and less of that.

So here’s a rainbow bowl with a variety of mostly healthy goodies in all sorts of colors and flavors and textures. It’s a bonus that you can make most components ahead of time, which is great for weeknight meals or summer dinners when your kitchen gets hot.

poke bowl with sliced seared tuna, sushi crab salad, japanese scrambled eggs, and a rainbow colored array of vegetables.
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Poke versus sushi

Poke (pronounced as an Anglicised “po-kay”) is Hawaiian in origin. The word means “chunk” or “slice” in Hawaiian, and it can take many forms, including cooked fish. This rainbow poke bowl is a mainland adaptation and is not a traditional Hawaiian poke bowl.

 

Sushi, on the other hand, is Japanese. It comes in many different forms and, like poke, often includes raw fish combined with sushi rice in some way. Both are island cultures that have been strongly influenced by their surrounding waters.

Rice and grain bowls

It’s not hard to build your own bowls. For more ideas, check out other grain and salad bowls like a Swimming Rama tofu bowl, pulled pork bowl, or a Mediterranean lamb meatball bowl.

Recipe tips and tricks

Making the seared tuna

The nice thing about this rainbow poke bowl is that you can prepare almost all of it ahead of time. That’s great for dinners when you don’t have a lot of prep time right before serving. And it’s ideal for hot summer evenings when you don’t want to cook.

Or, in case you don’t have much time earlier in the day, the only thing that really needs to be started ahead is the marinade for the tuna. You could even skip the marinade and just season the tuna steaks with salt and pepper. The lovely thing about bowls is that there’s an infinite number of ways to put them together.

raw tuna in a baking dish.
raw tuna in a garlic and ginger marinade in a glass baking dish.

What’s in this rainbow bowl

  • baby spinach
  • sushi rice
  • seared tuna (see recipe)
  • sliced raw radish
  • chopped red pepper
  • quick pickled carrots (see recipe) or raw carrot salad
  • sushi crab salad (see recipe)
  • Japanese scrambled eggs (see recipe)
  • shelled edamame
  • chopped cucumber
  • sliced red cabbage
  • black and white sesame seeds
  • poke dressing (see recipe)

But feel free to omit or substitute as you prefer!

Possible color substitutions

You can see some options for raw vegetables in this rainbow crudite platter. Or try:

  • Red – red carrots, radicchio
  • Orange – pickled ginger, salmon
  • Yellow – mango, corn
  • Green – avocado, green onions, green beans, greens of any kind
  • Blue – options are limited
  • Purple – purple carrots, purple beans, or maybe some spicy pickled onions

Variations and other substitutions

  • Use sushi-grade raw tuna.
  • Use salmon in place of tuna.
  • Go vegetarian and make this crispy tofu.

Recipe FAQs

What is that fake crab anyway?

Imitation crab is made of a white fish, often pollock, that is mashed and dyed to look like crab. Feel free to sub in lump crabmeat if it’s crab season!

Do the Japanese scrambled eggs have another name?

Tamago or Tamagoyaki is a traditional egg omelet often found on sushi menus. I hesitated to use these terms because my eggs aren’t made traditionally or in a traditional pan.

Why is it called red cabbage if it’s purple?

It seems that the answer is that the cabbage leaves change color depending on the pH of the soil that it grows in. Not only that, but here’s a great experiment you can do with red cabbage as a pH indicator.

The anthocyanins that are responsible for this are the same anthocyanins that make the gin in this Empress gin cocktail a bit of a chameleon too.

crab sushi salad in a small white bowl.

If you like this rainbow poke bowl, check out my collections of rainbow vegetables and rainbow desserts from the rainbow foods archives, like:

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-heart 💜💜💜💜💜 rating in the recipe card below. Let me know how much you loved it, or any problems you had, in the comments section further down.

Recipe

Rainbow Poke Bowl

5 from 1 vote
Category: Main Course
Cuisine: Mixed
Prep Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 3 people
Calories: 689kcal
This everything-in-a-bowl rainbow poke bowl has seared tuna, crab sushi salad, and Japanese scrambled egg. Eat the rainbow!
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Ingredients

Seared tuna steaks

  • 1 pound tuna steaks, about 1 inch thick
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ inch fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil for searing the tuna steaks

Sushi rice

  • 1 cup sushi rice
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Quick pickled carrots

  • 3 carrots (1 per person), sliced as thinly as possible
  • cider vinegar to cover
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Sushi crab salad

  • ½ pound artificial crab for sushi (sometimes called crab sticks)
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper to taste

Japanese scrambled eggs

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mirin
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • sesame oil for cooking

Poke dressing

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar
  • chili sauce, to taste

Bowl assembly (pick and choose from below)

  • ½ cup baby spinach, baby kale, or other greens
  • 1 ½ cups cooked sushi rice or other grain
  • 3 radishes, sliced
  • ½ red pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup edamame, fresh or frozen, cooked
  • ½ cup cucumber, chopped
  • ½ cup sliced red cabbage
  • black or white sesame seeds for garnish

Instructions

Marinating the tuna steaks

  • Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a shallow baking dish and marinate the tuna steaks for 1 to 3 hours in the refrigerator, turning them over at least once. Meanwhile, make the other components of the rainbow bowl.
    1 pound tuna steaks, about 1 inch thick, ¼ cup soy sauce, ¼ cup rice vinegar, juice of one lime, 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, 1 clove garlic, minced, ½ inch fresh ginger, minced

Sushi rice

  • Rinse and cook the sushi rice. Mine recommends 1 cup of rice to 1½ cups of water, cooked on low for 20 minutes. Then turn off the heat and leave to steam for another 20 minutes.
    1 cup sushi rice
  • Meanwhile, heat the vinegar, sugar, and salt until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Turn off the heat.
    2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, ½ teaspoon salt
  • When the rice has cooked, mix the vinegar solution into the rice. Set it aside, covered.

Quick pickled carrots

  • Put the sliced carrots in the bottom of a sauce pan and cover with rice vinegar.
    3 carrots (1 per person), sliced as thinly as possible, cider vinegar to cover
  • Add the salt and sugar and turn on the heat to medium high
    1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • Bring to a boil and cook for one minute or longer until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Stir as necessary.
  • Turn off the heat and set aside.

Sushi crab salad

  • Chop the artificial crab into small pieces of whatever size you desire. Add mayonnaise and salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use.
    ½ pound artificial crab for sushi (sometimes called crab sticks), salt and pepper to taste, 1 tablespoon mayonnaise

Japanese scrambled eggs

  • Scramble the eggs, sugar, mirin, and soy in a small bowl.
    3 eggs, 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon mirin
  • Heat a thin layer of sesame oil in a frying pan on low-medium heat and tilt to get the oil slightly up the sides of the pan.
    sesame oil for cooking
  • Add the egg mixture and let cook for about 10 seconds. Scrape down the edges all the way around and tilt the pan so that the uncooked egg finds its way to bare pan. Repeat as necessary until all of the egg mixture is cooked through to your desired level of dryness.

Poke dressing

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a small lidded jar and shake vigorously to mix.
    2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, 1 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar, chili sauce, to taste

Seared tuna steaks

  • Immediately before serving, heat a thin layer of oil over medium high heat in a fry pan (I was able to use the pan I used for the eggs). Add the tuna steaks and cook for 1-2 minutes, depending on how rare or well cooked you want them.
    1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Turn the steaks over and cook on the other side for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, slice, and serve.

Bowl assembly

  • There is no right way to compose a bowl. When everything is ready, I suggest starting first with a layer of spinach or other greens. Then mound a ½ cup of rice, if you are using it, in the center.
    ½ cup baby spinach, baby kale, or other greens, 1 ½ cups cooked sushi rice or other grain
  • Add the seared tuna to the top of the rice.
  • Arrange the other ingredients in rainbow order in neat piles around the tuna. That's red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and then purple.
    3 radishes, sliced, ½ red pepper, chopped, 1 cup edamame, fresh or frozen, cooked, ½ cup sliced red cabbage, ½ cup cucumber, chopped
  • Top with the poke dressing and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
    black or white sesame seeds

Notes

Some possible color substitutions:
  • Red – red carrots, radicchio
  • Orange – pickled ginger, salmon
  • Yellow – mango, corn
  • Green – avocado, green onions, green beans, greens of any kind
  • Blue – ? – I got stuck here. Maybe you can find blue corn!
  • Purple – purple carrots, purple beans

Nutrition

Calories: 689kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 55g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 231mg | Sodium: 2733mg | Potassium: 1036mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 14222IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 128mg | Iron: 5mg
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2 Comments

  1. Love this recipe, but your recipe at the bottom leaves out these items that are mentioned above:
    baby spinach
    sliced raw radish
    chopped red pepper
    shelled edamame
    chopped cucumber

    1. Hi Doug. Thanks so much for the comment. You’re right. I wrote it that way thinking that those things weren’t things that needed to be cooked, so weren’t part of the “recipe.” But I see how someone wanting to make this bowl would want to have some options in the recipe card for filling out the rainbow. I’ll edit it to make sure those are included!

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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