Poke, Poke, Burrito

These speedy, easy Asian eats feature clean, lean protein and abundant vegetables, all packed with science-backed benefits. Try these three innovative takes on poke and sushi burritos, and uplevel the healing power of your poke bowl.


California Poke Bowl
Serves 4

Reminiscent of a California roll, poke bowls slash the rice and amp up vegetables. Start with sushi-grade fish from a source you trust. Chill the fish below 40 degrees to make slicing easier, and use a very sharp knife. If you’re not a fan of raw fish, poach the salmon in a light broth, chill and crumble over the poke bowl. We used white rice for the base for a traditional poke bowl, but you can also use brown rice or even shredded greens; toss them with the dressing first for a more flavorful bowl.

1 cup long-grain white rice

8 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, divided

4 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon black sesame seeds

3/4 pound sushi-grade salmon, cut into 3/4-inch chunks

1 teaspoon honey or unrefined sugar

1 tablespoon finely grated ginger

1 medium cucumber or 1/2 English cucumber

2 medium carrots, thinly sliced into matchsticks

4 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal (white and pale green parts)

2 small avocados, halved, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced lengthwise

1 medium jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced crosswise, seeds removed

1. Cook rice in a pressure cooker or rice steamer, or combine with 1 1/2 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 18 to 20 minutes, until tender. Let cool.

2. While rice is cooking and cooling, in a medium bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons of the rice wine vinegar, 1/2 tablespoon of the sesame oil and black sesame seeds. Add fish to the bowl with the marinade and toss to coat. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

3. Whisk together remaining rice wine vinegar, remaining sesame oil, honey or sugar, and ginger. Using a vegetable peeler, cut cucumber into ribbons, going all the way down to the seeds.

4. To assemble bowls, drizzle some dressing over cooked rice and toss to mix. Divide rice between four bowls. Top each bowl with cucumber, carrots, onion, avocado and jalapeno; drizzle remaining dressing over bowls.mDivide marinated salmon between bowls and serve immediately.


Furikake Poke Bowl
Serves 4

            This poke bowl uses noodles for even faster prep; we used rice noodles, but you can also use ramen, soba, even kelp noodles. Furikake, a traditional Japanese seasoning, usually contains bonito (dried fish) and shrimp; this vegan version swaps a bit of spice for seafood. Be sure to crumble the seaweed very small, so it sticks to the tofu more easily; you can put it in a spice mill or small food processor and grind to the consistency of sesame seeds. Daikon, a spicy Asian radish, is quick-pickled to soften its aggressive flavor; if you have time, let it sit overnight for even better flavor.

1 small daikon, spiralized or very thinly sliced

½ cup plus 1 tablespoon rice vinegar

3 tablespoons unrefined sugar

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon shoyu or tamari

3 tablespoons sesame oil, plus additional for cooking tofu

8 ounces rice stick noodles

6 sheets toasted nori seaweed, crumbled or ground very small

2 tablespoons white and/or black sesame seeds

1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)

1 block extra-firm tofu

1 large carrot, shredded

1 red onion, thinly sliced

1 cup snow peas, thinly sliced on the diagonal

4 large red radishes, thinly sliced

1. In a small pot, bring ½ cup rice vinegar to a boil, add sugar and stir till dissolved; pack daikon into a glass pint jar, pour over vinegar over, cover with a lid and let stand for 1 to 2 hours, or refrigerate overnight.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together garlic, shoyu or tamari, remaining rice vinegar and sesame oil. Set aside.

3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add rice noodles, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, until just tender. Drain and rinse with cold water; toss with half of the shoyu-garlic dressing and set aside.

4. Crumble nori into a medium bowl; add sesame seeds, sea salt and cayenne pepper, and stir to mix.

5. Wrap the tofu block in several layers of paper towels or a lint-free kitchen towel and press out as much water as possible. Cut the block in half crosswise, then cut each half into ¼-inch planks.

6. Heat sesame oil in a large, heavy skillet. Dredge each piece of tofu in furikake. Add to pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until golden.

7. To assemble poke bowls, divide noodles between four bowls. Top each with carrots, onions, snow peas and red radishes. Divide pickled daikon and tofu between bowls, and serve immediately.


Spicy Tuna Sushi Burrito
Serves 4

            What’s better than a spicy tuna roll? A spicy tuna burrito. This easy-to-make version uses canned tuna mixed with a spicy mayo, then layered with lots of vegetables and the unexpected crunch of red cabbage and toasted cashews. Leftover rice speeds the process; or for a grain0free version, use cauliflower “rice”: pulse cauliflower florets in a food processor till the consistency of rice, then dry-cook in a pan for 5 minutes and let cool. Sambal oelek is a spicy ground chili paste; if you can’t find it, substitute a hot sauce of your choice.

1 ½ cup short-grain white rice (sushi rice)

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tablespoons unrefined sugar or honey

½ cup chopped-small cashews

1 tablespoon tamari

1/4 cup mayonnaise

3 to 5 teaspoon sambal oelek, depending on taste

Two 5-ounce cans of water-packed tuna

8 large toasted nori sheets

2 cups finely shredded red cabbage

1 cup shredded spinach

1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves

4 large scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal (white and pale green parts)

1. Rinse rice in a colander until water runs clear. Transfer to a large pot and add 2 1/4 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook, covered, for 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Add vinegar and sugar or honey, and stir to mix well. Season to taste with salt and set aside.

2. Dry-toast cashews in a small skillet for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring almost constantly. Add tamari and stir to mix; the tamari should quickly absorb into the cashews. Remove from heat and let cool.

3. In a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise and sambal oelek. Drain tuna very well, then add to bowl. Stir to mix well.

4. Place a sheet of parchment on a flat surface. Lay two sheets of nori on the parchment, overlapping them to make a 10-inch piece of nori.

5. Moisten hands with water and spread about ¾ cup of the rice over the nori in a thin, even layer; leave a 2-inch border around the edges of the nori. Arrange ¼ of the red cabbage, spinach, cilantro, scallions and cashews. Spoon ¼ of the tuna mixture over the vegetables.

6. To roll, fold the bottom edge up over the filling and fold the two sides in, then roll up like a burrito. Dampen your fingers with water and run over the final edge to seal. Wrap in parchment and repeat with remaining ingredients.

7. Serve immediately, wrapped in parchment; serve whole, or cut in half on the diagonal through the parchment, with additional sambal oelek and tamari on the side, if desired.