VEGAN POKE BOWLS

Vegan Poke Bowls

Do you guys ever have those days where you just need a reset? I'm talking about a did-I-really-drink-that-much-beer-and-then-drunk-eat-late-night-pizza-with-my-friends night followed by a concession stand dilemma between M&Ms and Butterfinger bites where your brother tells you to "just get both." By Monday, my body was screaming for something healthy to fuel me for my work outs (I'm looking at you, row class), nourish me past the 2 o'clock slump (keep me away from those vending machines!!) and just get back on the wagon. 

Vegan Poke Bowls

Raise your hand if you've ever had those kinds of weekends. We've all been there - don't let any Instagram health nut tell you otherwise. Sometimes, we just forget about listening to our body, and regret it two days later. Don't let "being healthy" fool you into imagining a plate of bland protein next to a side of sad, soggy vegetables. That image is enough to warrant tears! If there's one thing we pride ourselves in here at Gateau | Gato, it's making healthy eating fun and beautiful. I mean, have you seen our Vegan Cobb Salad

Vegan Poke Bowls
Vegan Poke Bowls
Vegan Poke Bowls

It was that exact pride that got the wheels in my brain turning. What if we could make a vegan-friendly poke bowl? A bowl that didn't compromise on taste, was filled with nourishing, fresh ingredients and was doused with a healthy spritz of Sriracha? I hadn't had poke since a family trip to Hawaii a couple of years ago where the foodies in our clan tracked down the best poke joint on the island, just outside of the resort we were staying at. It was an absolute treat - one that we feasted on multiple times during the trip. And so, I let that be the inspiration for this meat-free bowl. 

But, Alyssa, why is there fruit in this bowl of pan-Asian themed ingredients? Don't be put off by the pineapple. It is the heart and soul of this dish and is an important compliment to the other savory ingredients and sauces. And besides, look how pretty!

Vegan Poke Bowls

Of course, this bowl isn't limited to the ingredients we list below. In fact, we encourage creativity. Everyone's body craves different ingredients, so if you're looking for some extra heat, throw some sliced jalepeno on there. Swap pineapple for mango. Replace Sriracha with spicy mayo (just don't tell Rina!). Most importantly, listen to your body. Sometimes you need two kinds of chocolate at the movies and sometimes you need a bowl full of fresh veggies and rice. As they say, everything in moderation, even moderation.

xo, Alyssa

Vegan Poke Bowls
Vegan Poke Bowls

VEGAN POKE BOWLS

Servings: 4

Active Time: 10m | Inactive Cook Time: 35-40m | Total Cook Time: 45-50m

Category: Bowls, Vegan, Main

Source: sushi rice from allrecipes.com; soy sauce dressing from What's Gaby Cooking


For sushi rice:

2 cups white rice (we used basmati but other types will do)

3 cups water

½ cup rice vinegar

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil

¼ cup white sugar

1 teaspoon salt

For soy sauce dressing:

¼ cup soy sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tablespoons rice vinegar

2 Tablespoons sesame oil

2 Tablespoons olive oil

For sweet potatoes:

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into thin slices

Olive oil, to drizzle

Salt to taste

For pineapple:

1½-2 cups pineapple, cut into cubes, rings or half moons

1 tablespoon coconut oil

Other garnishes:

Half of a medium cucumber, cut into thin half moons

3-4 radishes, cut into thin half moons

1-2 cups edamame (cooked through if frozen)

1 avocado, thinly sliced

Sesame seeds

Green onions, thinly sliced

Sriracha/your favorite hot sauce

Prepare the sweet potatoes: preheat the oven to 425 degrees and place the sliced sweet potatoes into a baking dish or onto a tray. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt, mix well, and place in the oven on the middle rack for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, stir the potatoes around cook for another 10-15 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are cooked through but not mushy (they need to hold their shapes!).

Prepare the rice: while the sweet potatoes are cooking, rinse the rice in a strainer until the water runs clear. Place into a large pot with the 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, lower the heat, cover tightly, and let cook for 15-20 minutes, or until all of the water is absorbed and the rice is no longer al dente. Once cooked through, take off the heat and fluff with a fork.

Prepare the sushi rice mixture: in a small saucepan, add the rice vinegar, oil, sugar and salt and place over medium heat. Stir until the sugar it totally dissolved, then pour into the rice and stir well. It might look wet, but as the rice cools it'll look like the sushi rice you know and love.

Prepare the pineapple: place the coconut oil in a large pan and turn the heat to medium. Once the oil is hot and shimmery, carefully place the pineapple pieces into the pan with a pair of tongs (the splatter can be real, friends). Cook the pineapple on each side for a couple of minutes, until the pineapple has started to caramelize and is turning golden brown. Really watch out at this point - it can burn on you pretty quickly.

Prepare the soy sauce dressing: in a jar/dressing apparatus, combine the soy sauce, garlic, rice vinegar, sesame oil and olive oil. Shake well and set aside.

Assemble! This is the best part: you get to make your bowls super pretty! We took a lot of time to make our bowls look all dressed up, but you also have the freedom to plop everything into your bowl and stick your face in it. If you want to go the decorative route, organize your bowls by ingredient, and fan the ingredients over each other. Drizzle with the soy sauce dressing and hot sauce, and sprinkle on some sesame seeds and green onions. All that's left to do is go to town.

To keep: this is a great meal to make in advance and have throughout the week! Just package the ingredients separately and keep them in tightly-sealed bags or containers. Slice the avocado and green onions right before you're about to use them. The rice might dry out a bit in the fridge after a couple of days, but if you heat it up it'll go back to normal.